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As seen In the Youngstown Vindicator


National speakers at Men’s Garden Club annual winter seminar

Published: Sun, February 16, 2014 @ 12:07 a.m.




Northern gardens are covered with snow, but gardeners still have planting on their minds.  About 140 people from Northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania attended the ninth annual Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown’s winter seminar Saturday to learn more about gardening.


“We feel that the winter is a great time to have a garden seminar, because people have their tools put away and their gardens have been put to bed,” said Lynn Hoffman, chairman of the event. “So it’s a great time for gardeners to gather.”


The theme for this year’s seminar, at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens, was “Four Seasons of Color.”  Speakers from Cleveland, Philadelphia and Boston gave talks on container gardening, conifers and other topics.


Sharon Hodge, a master gardener from New Castle, Pa., has attended for three years. “They always have an excellent program, and I always learn something new in terms of the new plants that are coming out or I learn about how to solve a problem in my landscape,” Hodge said. “I always want to come here because I learn so much all in one day.”  This year, for example, she learned about conifers. The speakers are helpful, she noted, and willing to answer questions.  “I was looking to fill a hillside, but [a speaker] said conifers grow best in well-drained soil, but I don’t have well-drained soil,” Hodge said.  So she asked how to handle that problem and learned that planting any member of the spruce family would be a good option.


First-time attendee Leonard Fisher of Liberty recently built a house and will be adding plants around it. “So, we want to get some knowledge on what to plant, what not to plant, get some landscape ideas,” he said.  He particularly enjoyed learning about container gardening. He plans to use some of the ideas on his patio.


The event included lunch, a raffle with more than $2,800 in items, including books, tools and gift certificates and more than $500 in door prizes.   Speakers were Andrew Bunting, curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College; Brent Markus, owner of Markus Specimen Trees; and Bob Rensel, a gardener at Cleveland Botanical Garden.


The Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown is one of the oldest men’s garden clubs in the country. It aims to promote a better understanding of gardening through education and to practice horticultural diversity for all segments of the community. Its annual winter seminar sells out each year.

Arbor Day is time to note good things come in trees


Published: Fri, April 27, 2012 @ 5:04 a.m.


The American Elm Tree Committee of the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown wants area residents to think about elm trees, especially today, Arbor Day.

Club members would like residents to locate and report “survivor” American elm trees, those that have not succumbed to Dutch elm disease.

American elms are being researched by the U.S. Forest Service, and recently the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Delaware, Ohio, initiated an online system for reporting the location of American elms. The online system can be found at

Survivor elm trees are essential to re-establishing the elm in forests, floodplains and city boulevards, and they are rare. More than 100,000 American elm trees have been tested for resistance to Dutch elm disease. None were found to be resistant; however, eight trees showed enough tolerance that they survived exposure. Tolerant trees exposed to the fungus show symptoms the year of inoculation but no symptoms the next year.


Now there’s a Web-based system that allows users to quickly and accurately pinpoint the location of a big elm using Google Maps. Information that users enter goes into a database that also generates a map showing the locations of all of the elms reported.

Users identify the general location by entering an address, ZIP code, latitude and longitude or even a place name, such as a forest, park or wildlife refuge. Google Maps shows the area, and from there users can zoom in, pinpoint a tree’s location, then mark the spot with a digital “thumbtack.”

After the site is identified, visitors are asked to describe the tree itself: How big is it, is it healthy or showing signs of DED, and what habitat surrounds it?

Only big trees are old enough to have been exposed to DED and can be considered survivor American elms. Therefore, only trees 24 inches or more in diameter and about 4.5 feet high that show no signs of DED should be reported.

Eventually, researchers want to visit locations reported on the website and collect a branch to propagate a nursery. Then the tree will be injected with DED to determine whether it really is disease tolerant and, if so, it will be cross-pollinated with healthy elms, and the seedlings will be used in forest restoration.

The American Elm Tree Committee of the Men’s Garden Club was formed in 2009 with the following mission:

Share the history of this uniquely American tree.

Promote awareness of the new disease-resistant elms.

Encourage people to include the elm tree in their landscapes.

Encourage communities to plant elm trees in their parks and public spaces.

For information visit the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown website at