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Virginia Cooperative Extension
Natural Resources

Weather reminder: If Prince William County Schools close early or are closed due to inclement weather, classes and programs will be cancelled and will be rescheduled. Please call 703-792-7747 for more information.


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:

Help us go green and save more than just a tree! For FREE lawn, landscape and garden updates, register to receive notifications by e-mail.

Backyard Woods Workshops
Small woodlots, such as the one you may have in your backyard, are a big deal. The vast majority of “forestland owners” own less than 10 acres.  Woodlots, large or small, are a vital resource for all. While the majority of Virginians don’t give “woods” a second thought except when the brilliance of fall colors force a second glance, tree covered ground is the single best land use for providing clean water.  Additionally, woods provide a myriad of other benefits such as carbon sequestration, improved air quality, wildlife habitat, biomass opportunities, recreational outlets and more! Please click here for a registration form.
Fauquier Workshop
Friday, May 6, 2016 9:00 AM-2:00 PM
Location: Fauquier VCE Classroom
24 Pelham St.
Warrenton, VA 20186
Frederick Workshop
Friday, May 13, 2016 12:00 PM-5:00 PM
Location: Alson H. Smith Jr. AREC
595 Laurel Grove Road
Winchester, VA 22602
Albemarle/Charlottesville Workshop
May 20, 2016 9:00 PM-2:00 PM
Location: Room A, County Building
1600 5th Street Extended,
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Rockingham Workshop
June 10, 2016 12:00 PM-5:00 PM
Location: Rockingham Extension Office
965 Pleasant Valley Rd.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801



Seasonal Tips

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

If you have additional questions, contact our Extension Horticultural Help Desk at 703-792-7747 or

Horticultural Tips:

It is not too late to participate in the BEST Lawns program.  For a $25 fee, we can measure and sample your lawn, develop a nutrient management plan tailored to your lawn and provide information to help improve the problems specific to your lawn.  For more information visit BEST Lawns on the Prince William County website.

With spring just around the corner, here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

Time to put away the snow shovels and get out the lawn mower!  And now is the very best time to get your lawn mower blades sharpened.  Dull mower blades do significant damage to your grass plants so do your lawn a favor and get them sharpened (and beat the early spring rush for service).  If you didn't winterize your lawn mower last fall, now is a good time to prepare it for the upcoming season.  Operating any type of machinery can be hazardous so take a moment to read Safe Operation of Compact Tractors.

Crabgrass will begin to germinate later on this month so plan to apply your pre-emergent crabgrass preventer when the dogwoods are ready to bloom.  Find a crabgrass preventer product that does NOT contain fertilizer.  The best time to apply a spring fertilization is between May 15 - June 15.  Research indicates that a light fertilization of .5 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet will help prepare your grass for the summer. 
If your lawn needs a spring overseeding, the best time to do it is between March 15 and April 15; otherwise you can wait until late August and the month of September. 
Spring is also a good time to take a soil test.  Soil test boxes and instructions can be obtained from the Extension Office (call 703-792-7747).  Test results will help you determine what your soil needs in order to grow a healthy lawn. 

Diseases and Insects:

While not complete, the following are diseases and insects that are more commonly found this time of year. Contact the Extension office for help with diagnosis and control recommendations.

Insects - Many insects are starting to appear in and around the house. Virginia Tech has factsheets on many common insects or call our Horticultural Help Line at 703-792-7747 for information on what's "bugging" you and the best and safest way to cure the problem.

Diseases -

  • Boxwood blight is a recently introduced fungal disease that causes severe defoliation and decline of susceptible boxwood. It was first identified in Virginia in a nursery location in Carroll County in 2011, but has been found in both landscapes and nurseries in several Virginia counties since then. VCE and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services partnered to form the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force (VBBTF) to provide leadership to protect Virginia’s boxwood nursery industry, historical gardens and landscape plantings from boxwood blight. The task force is developing Best Management Practices (BMPs) for boxwood blight for stakeholders potentially affected by the disease (e.g. boxwood producers, retailers, boxwood tip producers, professional landscapers, historic groundskeepers and home growers of boxwood). The task force solicited valuable input on the BMPs from representatives of the various stakeholder groups through meetings and electronic communication. The BMPs are available for download in PDF format at the VBBTF website.
  • Anthracnose: Lesions are usually quite large and follow the veins of the leaf. Trees may drop some affected foliage. These diseases normally occur on large trees and do no permanent damage – practice good sanitation by cleaning up fallen leaves. You may choose to apply a preventive fungicide treatments next spring. A certified pesticide applicator and certified arborist can make these treatments for you. Plants susceptible: ash, maple, sycamore and oak trees.
  • Fireblight is caused by a bacteria. The most typical symptom is branch die back from the tip down typically resembling a shepherd’s crook. Affected branches usually start dying in mid-May or June. Prune out dead branches about a foot below the dead tissue. Sterilize pruning shears between cuts. Plants susceptible: cotoneaster, pyracantha, apples, pears and Bradford pears.
  • Juniper Tip Blight is characterized by dead branch tips in juniper plantings. Two different fungi cause this blight. Small outbreaks can be pruned out. Fungicides are also an option. The timing of the treatments depends on the causal fungus. Blight caused by Phomopsis is treated in the spring. Blight caused by Kabatina is treated in the fall.
  • Oak Leaf Blister: The light green to yellow spots will turn dark brown or black later in the season. This disease is primarily cosmetic and requires no action.
  • Rose Rosette Disease (RRD): A disease believed to be caused by the recently identified Rose Rosette Virus, has been spreading through much of the wild rose population of the Midwestern, Southern, and Eastern United States for years. It has been confirmed in cultivated roses in Virginia and other states.
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Environment and Natural Resources
8033 Ashton Ave. Suite 105
Manassas VA 20109
Virginia Cooperative Extension complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a person with a disability and require auxiliary aids services or other accommodations for a workshop or meeting please discuss your accommodation needs at least five days prior to the event with Virginia Cooperative Extension 703-792-6289/TDD PC 1-800-828-1120.


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