Category Archives: Uncategorized

November 2020 MG Newsletter

Spring Seminar Cancelled

The Spring Seminar scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2020 at UWSP Marshfield has been cancelled due to concern about containment of coronovirus infection.

Please review information from the Wood County Health Department and other sources about how to protect yourself and your family.


Posted 3/12/2020 by

There is a novel type of coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first found in China. It has spread to over 100 countries, and the first case was confirmed in the US in Washington on January 21, 2020. There are over a hundred thousand cases worldwide and thousands of deaths. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Governor Evers declared this a Public Health Emergency in Wisconsin on March 12, 2020.

Officials from the Wood County Health Department, along with local health care systems, schools, emergency medical services, and other partners, have been in contact to prepare for continued response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Currently a vaccine or drug is not available for COVID-19. Community-based interventions such as school dismissals, event cancellations, social distancing, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools, employers, and others should be planning for these potential interventions. Department of Health Services website offers guidance for schools & universities, employers, community events/mass gatherings, and for providers (DHS website)

Individuals should practice everyday prevention measures like: 

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Carry and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if hand washing is not an option.
  • Do not touch your face (eyes, mouth, nose) ever.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Do not share eating utensils, water bottles, beverage containers or other personal items.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact (6 feet or less) with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you develop a cough, fever, or shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms after traveling, stay home and contact your healthcare provider for instructions before going to a clinic.

Visit the CDC website for information about:

Fall Garden Seminar

Training to Become a Master Gardener Volunteer

Master Gardener Program of Marathon County has posted a new item:
2019 Level 1: Training to become a Master Gardener Volunteer

Sign up TODAY for the 2019 Level 1 Master Gardener Volunteer training in
Marathon County. This course is for anyone interested in VOLUNTEERING as a
Master Gardener. There are 12 class sessions and one additional orientation
session. The orientation session is intended to answer any questions you
have about the class and to complete required paperwork.

The course runs from March 5 – May 21, 2019, meeting every Tuesday evening
from 6:30 – 8:00 pm in room #5 at 212 River Drive in Wausau, 54403. You must
sign-up for one of two orientation sessions, February 19th or 26th. You are
allowed to miss up to 2 in-person class sessions if needed.

You can register for the class here:
The fee for this course is $100.00. The online registration deadline is
February 18, 2019. If you have any questions about signing up for this
class, please call UW-Extension at 715-261-1241.

You may view the latest post at

Best regards,
Master Gardener Program of Marathon County

MG July Newsletter 2018

As July, so next January according to Folklore 2018 MG July Newsletter

WCMGA Garden and Coffee Talks-Part 4

Join the Wood County Master Gardener Association for their 4th ‘Garden and Coffee Talks’ event taking place at the Pittsville Library. This discussion will focus on Insects, bugs, invasive pest, and other critters of the garden world. This will be a casual open group discussion in a round table setting where guests can actively participate in the group and take part in the sharing of knowledge. Coffee, tea, and light snacks will be provided. FREE EVENT


Tuesday, May 15

1:00pm – 3:00pm
5291 3rd Ave, Pittsville, WI 54466, USA

WCMGA Garden and Coffee Talks-Part 3

Join the Wood County Master Gardener Association for their 3rd ‘Garden and Coffee Talks’ event taking place at the Marshfield Library.  This discussion will focus on Community Gardens and their impacts on Community Health. Our featured speaker will be Laura Zelenak, Health Educator from Marshfield Clinic and Marshfield HealthyLifestyles.   This will be a casual open group discussion in a round table setting where guests can actively participate in the group and take part in the sharing of knowledge.  Coffee, tea, and light snacks will be provided.  FREE EVENT

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.  

Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library, 105 S Maple Ave, Marshfield, WI 54449, USA

Impacts of Wood County Master Gardener Volunteers

The Master Gardener Program in Wood County started in 1997. Over 443 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 60 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2018. The UW-Extension Educator facilitating the MG Program is Horticulture Educator Jeremy Erickson.

Volunteer Service in 2017

Youth Education  285 hours
Adult Education 356 hours
Support 6,761 hours
Total 7,401 hours

Since 2000: 113,990 hours at a value of over $2,116,933

* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $23.06 per hour, from Independent Sector. Cumulative value based on previous annual estimates.

mg-footer-logoWhere you can find activities by MGVs

  • WCMGV Monthly Educational Programs
  • Farmers Markets
  • Wood County Libraries
  • Central Wisconsin State Fair
  • Q & A at UW Extension Office
  • Community Gardens- 2 sites
  • Mead Wild Life Center
  • FaceBook/Website Online Q & A

Connecting With the Next Generation of Gardeners

MGVs offered a variety of public programs for 2,344 youth who experienced designing/planting a Youth Art Gallery Garden, created boot/shoe succulent planters, learned how to grow a sunflower at a children’s festival, how to plant/harvest produce at community gardens, the value of a monarch garden, the value of composting, names of plants, how to plant bulbs, all about pollinators, and the importance or growing their own food to eat and share with friends, family, others. They also learned leadership and speaking skills as they presented a garden tour of their school gardens to MGVs.

image of children gardening

Documenting Education Contacts

MGVs engage and educate the public in numerous presentations, festivals, fairs, plants sales, farmers markets, individual conversations and other events. To document these contacts we developed a Self- evaluation Form and a Year End Tally of Community Education Form which are filled out all year long and then handed in Oct. 1st along with hours form. In 2017 we made contact with 9,351 adults in a variety of settings.

Central Wisconsin State Fair Booth Informs

This year we took our Ask a Master Gardener program to the fair for 6 days. Our booth display included our 7 display tri-folds created to celebrate our 20th Anniversary plus gardening information. We offered handouts about the most popular topics, insects, diseases and other garden related materials and had a form to ask questions that would be answered later. We have a demonstration garden on the fairgrounds which drew huge crowds with numerous questions.

Wood County Volunteer Effort

Check out the brief summary of the Wood County Master Gardeners.  This is a small sampling of what the volunteers did in 2015.  Great job!!!


Watch for Late Blight in Tomatoes and Potatoes

This is Late Blight Season: Know the Symptoms and Get Disease Confirmation

By: Ken Schroeder, Agricultural Agent

UW-Extension, Portage County


Late Blight Phytophthora infestans, has been confirmed on potatoes and tomatoes in Wisconsin every year since 2009.  As I write this, July 9th late blight has been reported in 3 central Wisconsin counties.

Late blight caused the Irish potato famine of the 1850’s.  It is often referred to as a ‘community disease’ because it is extremely destructive and easily spread by wind.  Left unmanaged, a small outbreak can lead to an epidemic, devastating gardens and commercial vegetable fields.

This disease has the potential to completely defoliate fields within 3 weeks of the first visible infections.  Spores are easily spread by wind, rain, machinery, workers, and wildlife.  Because the fungus produces so many spores that can travel long distances through the air it is very important that everyone, farmers and gardeners alike, who grow potatoes and tomatoes are able to identify late blight.

Know the Symptoms:  Leaf symptoms appear as pale green, water-soaked spots that often begin at Late Blight leavesthe leaf edges or tips where water from rain and dew accumulates.  Spots can be circular or irregular and bordered by pale yellow to green blending into healthy tissue.  They enlarge rapidly (expanding ¼ to ½ inch per day) turning brown to black over time.  When relative humidity is in excess of 90% leaf lesions are often surrounded by cottony white mold on the lower leaf surface.  This white, cottony growth distinguishes late blight from several other foliar diseases of potatoes and tomatoes.  Infected stems and petioles turn brown to black and may also be covered with white masses of sporangia.  Stem lesions frequently appear first at the junction between the stem and leaf, or at the cluster of leaves at the top of the stem.  Entire vines may be killed very rapidly.  A characteristic odor similar to that produced by Late Blight tomatoesgreen tissue after a severe frost can often be detected.  Visit the University of Wisconsin Vegetable Pathology website and the UW-Extension Horticulture website for additional late blight photos and links to other late blight information including options for gardeners and organic producers.

Get Disease Confirmation:  Twice weekly check potatoes and tomatoes closely for symptoms of late blight.  If you suspect late blight on your crop contact your local University of Wisconsin Extension office and have a sample sent to the University of Wisconsin plant disease diagnostic lab for confirmation.  If confirmed, destroy infected plants by burying or putting in plastic bags for disposal.  Don’t compost!!!

Late Blight Look-Alikes:   Early Blight – appears as brown to black lesions with concentric rings on the leaves.  Typically, lesions are produced on older, lower leaves and progresses upward.  Significant yellowing may accompany the lesions.  Moderate temperatures (75 to 85 oF), high humidity, and prolonged leaf wetness are conducive to development of early blight.  Alternating periods of wet and dry weather tend to increase progression of this disease.  See UW-Extension Early Blight fact sheet .

Botrytis/Gray Mold – Gray mold appears late in the season on the foliage, and may be mistaken for late blight.  A grayish-green, wedge-shaped, spreading lesion with concentric rings appears on the leaves, often near an injury or a dried blossom.   Lesions begin on the margins or tips of leaves.  With severe infections, leaves are blighted and a soft gray rot attacks the stems and exhibits a fuzzy gray fungal growth.  When vines are disturbed, spores billow from them like a cloud of dust.  Cool temperatures and high humidity promote disease development.  Gray mold is often found in fields where a lot of fertilizer is used.  Typically, gray mold is not of economic importance in Wisconsin.  See Gray Mold fact sheet .

Septoria Leaf Spot – A very common leaf disease of tomato, however, not necessarily a look-alike.  Symptoms begin on the foliage closest to the ground and then move on up the plant.  Leaf spots tend to be small and circular with dark borders and gray or tan centers.  Eventually, multiple spots on a single leaf will merge.  Warm, wet, humid weather increases the severity of the disease that can progress to the point where all the foliage is killed and falls from the plant.  This disease does not advance nearly as rapid as late blight.  See UW-Extension Septoria Leaf Spot fact sheet .

For assistance in identifying this potentially disastrous late blight disease, contact your local University of Wisconsin Extension Office