Natural Resources

Staff and volunteers with the Prince William Cooperative Extension’s Environment and Natural Resources program provide educational programs for individuals and business to implement sound practices producing aesthetically pleasing landscapes that have minimal negative impacts on the environment. Programs include:

 

Master Gardeners The Teaching Garden
​​Publications & Additional Resources Horticulture Classes
Stormwater Management
Landscaping Guide for HOA's Horticulture Speaker Request
New and Emerging Pests BEST Lawns
​​Championship & Historic Tree Registry Pesticide Training Page​
 

  

Seasonal Tips

The Environment and Natural Resources team and Master Gardener Volunteers of Virginia Cooperative Extension, answer many questions during spring and summer months.  Below are some of our most frequently asked questions for this time of year.

With summer here, these are some of our most frequently asked questions:
 
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
 
Trees and shrubs:
Drought can weaken trees over time. With continuing droughty summers, many trees are starting to see the results of under watering in past years. Weakened trees become more prone to disease and insect damage. Trees and shrubs need an inch of water a week under the canopy out at least to the drip line. Watering should be deep and infrequent. Because some soils can’t handle one inch of water all at once with causing run off, you may have to apply water every 3-4 days to get one inch’s worth of water in a week.
 
Vegetables:
Periods of extreme heat, with or without wind, may prevent fruit set on Peppers.
Mature tomato plants suffering from such stress may produce small fruit, hold its fruit on the plant but not enlarge, or drop its flower blossoms.
 
LAWNS
Most grasses need one inch of water per week. If you have warm season turf, this is their time of year. Adequate moisture is essential for their health and growth, but most warm season . If you have cool season turf, you have to make the decision to either water for the summer or let the grass go dormant. Dormant grass will lighten in color. Most of the time they can weather the summer and will re-green with autumn rains.  During severe droughts, however, you might lose grass that goes unwatered.
 
Watering should be deep and infrequent. Because some soils can’t handle one inch of water all at once with causing run off, you may have to apply water every 3-4 days to get one inch’s worth of water in a week. Watering lightly every day is NOT good for your grass as it produces weak shallow roots. Water should be done as early in the morning as possible. This will lessen losses from evaporation and won’t encourage disease. Make sure you’re mowing high for the summer. That extra height makes a big difference in soil temperature and moisture retention.
 
If you lose grass to the summer or are looking for better drought tolerance in your grass, you may want to consider over seeding with more resistance grass varieties. Contact our office for type and varieties recommendations.
 
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to take a soil test.  Soil test boxes and instructions can be obtained from the Extension Office at (703) 792-7747 or at local Prince William County Libraries.  Test results will help you determine what your soil needs in order to grow a healthy lawn. 

If you have additional questions, give our Extension Horticultural Help Desk a call at 703-792-7747 or email us at master_gardener@pwcgov.org.