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The Kentucy Master Gardener Program is administered through the Cooperative Extension Service of the Univ. of Kentucky with assistance from the Kentucky State Univ. Land Grant Program. Master Gardener Programs in Kentucky were originally established in urban areas of the state, but have more recently expanded to rural areas as well. Master Gardener Programs are currently active in over 25 Kentucky counties. Individual Master Gardener programs are under the direction of a county extension agent (or group of agents if the program involves multiple counties) who is assisted by two, part-time state co-coordinators (extension horticulture specialists). The county agents are responsible for Master Gardener recruitment, training, and volunteer management. A required “core content” for Master Gardener training includes a total of 24 hours of instruction in basic plant science and an orientation to Cooperative Extension. State extension specialists have compiled an extensive training manual that covers the required topics as well as additional subject areas. To become certified Master Gardeners, trainees must complete assigned homework, pass a comprehensive final exam, and complete at least one hour of volunteer service for each hour of formal instruction. The county agents determine requirements for continued certification and agents may also offer advanced Master Gardener training. This poster will provide details regarding Master Gardener recruitment, training, and retention in Kentucky.

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GardenData.org developed from a need, identified by a survey of Kentucky county Extension agents, for a database resource to assist in answering frequently asked questions (FAQs) from home gardeners and consumers. A team, consisting of representatives from both the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University and made up of an administrator, horticul-ture specialists, county Extension agents, and agricultural communication specialists, worked together to create GardenData.org. Development of the database of FAQs in consumer or home horticulture began in 2004 and all content is peer reviewed by Kentucky Extension specialists before making answers publicly available. An interactive prototype program was launched for use by county Extension agents in February 2005. Following a positive response Gardendata.org was made publicly available in Summer 2005. Clients are asked their electronic mail address and Kentucky county in order to enter the web site and to become a repeat user of GardenData.org. Once they have conducted a search of available FAQs, clients may submit a question to GardenData.org to be answered by Kentucky Extension personnel. From recent data (December 2005 and January 2006) the self-service rate for the site is greater than 95%, indicating that most visitors are content to search existing FAQs rather than ask a new question. As new questions are submitted, they are answered by Extension personnel, reviewed and added to the growing database of FAQs.

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North American Vitis species and hybrids thereof have been the source of rootstocks for V. vinifera for the last century. Collection and evaluation of native Vitis in north-central Texas, western Texas, and New Mexico have been made to determine their current status. Known geographical pockets of grapevines were visited, with specimens taken and identified by comparison to herbarium collections and published descriptions. In locals where more than one species existed, many natural hybrids with varying morphological characteristics have become established. In North Central Texas, two areas were visited. The first was Tarrant, Parker and Wise counties where three grapevine species (V. mustangensis, V. cinerea var. helleri, and V. vulpina) and many hybrids were observed. The second was Wilbarger County where V. acerifolia was found growing in the south while V. ×doaniana was found growing in the north. West Texas was primarily populated with V. acerifolia with the exception of the Silver Falls Canyon area in Crosby County where hybrids of V. acerifolia, V. arizonica and V. riparia were observed. In New Mexico, two areas were visited: San Miquel County (North Central region), where V. acerifolia, V. arizonica, and V. riparia were observed and Eddy County (southern New Mexico) where V. arizonica was observed. A rich diversity of Vitis germplasm appears to remain in these habitats.

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DNA was extracted from leaves of various Malus genotypes and used to screen synthetic decamer oligonucleotide primers. Samples from the following two groups were bulked: 1) seven scab-susceptible apple cultivars, and 2) 15 scab-resistant apple genotypes derived by introgressive hybridization from the previous group of cultivars. A third sample consisted of DNA extracted from Malus floribunda Sieb. clone 821, the original source of apple scab resistance for all genotypes in the second group. A total of 59 primers from kits A, L, and R (Operon Technologies) were screened. Amplified fragments were obtained for 93% of the primers tested, while random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fragments were detected among samples for 76% of the primers. One primer, A15, amplified a unique band in both M. floribunda clone 821 and the bulked scab-resistant sample. This RAPD marker, designated OA15900, identifies an amplified, introgressed fragment that likely corresponds to a region of the genome that may serve as a modifier for the scab resistance gene block V, derived from M. floribunda clone 821.

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The Consumer Horticulture Community of Practice (CHCoP), responsible for the Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes section of eXtension, has historically answered over 35% of the questions submitted to “Ask an Expert” (AaE)—the eXtension online, e-mail based question and answer system. Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteers were initially recruited to help answer questions and were responsible for resolving over 50% of the horticulture-tagged questions in 2008. With the number of questions related to horticulture nearly doubling on an annual basis, there was concern that EMGs alone would not be able to respond to all the questions. However, as eXtension has become more institutionalized in the land-grant system, county- and state-level extension staff have been encouraged to be involved in AaE. While EMG volunteers continue to play a vital role in answering questions, state extension specialists, and more so, county extension staff, are answering questions as well. This balanced approach seems more sustainable and at least 75% of questions are now being answered by an expert in the same state where the question originated.

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A home landscape integrated pest management (IPM) extension program has been initiated in the Univ. of Kentucky College of Agriculture. In order for this program to be effective, activities must integrate aspects of general landscape management with pest management. The main tenets of the project encompass four areas: making wise choices when selecting plants for the landscape; practicing proper planting and transplanting techniques; maintaining the health of the plant in the landscape using proper watering, fertilizing, and pruning techniques; and practicing an integrated approach to managing pests in the landscape. Outreach mechanisms for this project include the preparation and broadcast of radio scripts, the production of educational videos for use by county agents, print material, and addition of a home landscape IPM section to the Univ. of Kentucky IPM web page. Examples of these activities will be presented. The initial emphasis of the program is on woody landscape plants; however, other areas of landscape management, including annuals and perennials, turf, and home fruit and vegetables, will be added as time and funding allow. This outreach program may be the first exposure many people have to IPM principles and thus it will play an important roll in educating the public to integrated pest management practices that are a vital part of modern agriculture production.

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Consumer horticulture encompasses a wide array of activities that are practiced by and of interest to the gardening public, garden-focused nongovernmental organizations, and gardening-related industries. In a previous publication, we described the current lack of funding for research, extension, and education in consumer horticulture and outlined the need for a strategic plan. Here, we describe our process and progress in crafting a plan to guide university efforts in consumer horticulture, and to unite these efforts with stakeholders’ goals. In 2015, a steering committee developed a first draft of a plan, including a mission statement, aspirational vision, core values, goals, and objectives. This draft was subsequently presented to and vetted by stakeholders at the 2015 American Society for Horticultural Science Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardeners (CHMG) working group workshop, a 2015 Extension Master Gardener Coordinators’ webinar, and a 2015 meeting in Washington, DC. Feedback received from these events is being used to refine and focus plan goals and objectives. The most recent working draft of the plan can be found on the website, where stakeholders and other interested parties can register to receive updates and to provide input into the process.

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