However, whether it be the willingness to learn, the willingness to help others, or the willingness to assist the LSU AgCenter it takes COMMITMENT!!! Just as the LSU AgCenter tries to honor its commitment to provide the most effective educational experience to Master Gardeners in Training, it is expected that when you sign up to become a Master Gardener that you not only honor your commitment to meet the requirements of the Master Gardener Class, but also to honor your commitment to complete your volunteer hours. I would go a step further and ask that each new Master Gardener look for an opportunity within LPMGA to get involved as a means of not only to continue to grow and learn but also to help the LPMGA in meeting its commitment to assist the LSU AgCenter in meeting its mission. We need everyone to make this work!!
While we do our best not to be too aggressive in making things mandatory, we hope that you place confidence in our dynamic Master Gardener Association by doing your part to make it work. I’ve always said that when everyone is willing to do just a little for the greater good, it makes everybody’s effort just a little bit easier. I reach out to each of you individually and to our Master Gardener Group collectively and I ask that you make a special effort to become involved to a greater extent if you’re not already involved. Also as you spread the word about the Master Gardener Program and answer questions about the program, please emphasize to potential Master Gardeners that once they become certified Master Gardeners, their time and talents are very much needed. I think we all want to continue to grow in the area of horticulture and what better avenue to grow than to find experiences within LPMGA to facilitate that growth.
That brings me to another avenue that will create not only opportunity for your personal growth, but also enhance your opportunity as a Master Gardener to help educate others and also assist me with the high volume of horticulture calls that come into the Extension Office from our community. It would also give Master Gardener another option to add to or complete their volunteer hours. I consulted with Mr. Miles Brashier who is currently serving as the LSU AgCenter’s State Master Gardener Program Coordinator and he feels this procedure creates a good situation for everyone involved, Master Gardeners, people in the community with horticulture interest, and the LSU AgCenter. In the past I was asked by several Master Gardeners that we give consideration to creating an opportunity for Master Gardeners to connect with the Extension Office and an opportunity for those that would be interested in coming into the Extension Office to take horticulture related calls.
While we’re still working on the details, it will be strictly volunteer, it will be as simple as possible, and you will not be left on an island without support. Even though it can be very intimidating especially with requests for information that you may not be familiar with, you will have the option of telling the caller that you’ll call them back (if you’d like time to do some research), or that you will refer the call to the LSU AgCenter Horticulture Agent. At the general membership meeting in February I plan to make a brief report regarding the details of how the process will work and answer any questions. Before that time I will meet with our current President Heather Finley, and I’ll ask her to inform LPMGA’s Executive Board following our meeting, so that after our February general meeting everyone will be on the same page. I plan to follow up my initial discussion with Mr. Miles Brashier just to get his input so that we don’t do anything to create problems for you or the AgCenter. As I told you’ll at the January general meeting, I’m excited as we begin a new year and looking forward to a very productive year that will continues to enhance the credibility of LPMGA !!!
As you know, the optimum time for transplanting trees and shrubs here in South Louisiana is late Fall through Winter. That means that the month of February is the last optimum month for transplanting trees and shrubs in our area. When we use the word “optimum” we mean that time frame that enhances a plants ability to survive, become established, and reach it’s productive potential. The reason why we emphasize the dormant period is because trees and shrubs transplanted during this time experience less transplanting shock while dormant which greatly enhances its chances of survival, by allowing the root system to begin expanding and becoming established which helps it to survive a hot and sometimes dry first summer following transplanting.
The second issue that I’d like to discuss is the recommendations when actually performing the task of transplanting. The first is select a well - drained area, also an area that is going to provide the sunlight requirements of the plant. The second is the planting hole itself which if not done properly can lead to rot problems because of our soil type, high water table and the poor internal drainage that exist in some areas. Everything can be done right in terms of selecting the right plant, placing it on the right site, and transplanting it correctly but if the drainage is poor especially during periods of heavy rainfall, water sitting around the root system will greatly affect the plants ability to survive because of high susceptibility to root rot.
One of the main reasons I see that contributes to poor plant performance is planting depth or planting too deep. When placing the plant in the transplanting hole the top of the root ball should be even with the surrounding soil or the existing grade. Anytime the top of the root ball falls below the surface of the surrounding soil there is potential for problems. The width of the transplanting shrub should be twice the width of the root ball.
Finally the only the existing soil should go back in the hole as a backfill once the plant is in the hole. It is no longer recommended that soil amendments be added to existing soil. There is research to indicate that the roots system may be reluctant to expand beyond this amended soil which could lead to delayed establishment.
Gerald P. Roberts
Horticulturist/Master Gardener Program Coordinator
1010 Lafayette Street, Suite 325
Lafayette, LA 70501
Office (337) 291-7090
Fax (337) 291-7099