Gypsy Moth Hocking Update 2018

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has release the 2018 Gypsy Moth treatment maps and dates for open houses.  Hocking County will be included in aerial spraying in multiple locations.


Open House Dates and Locations:

February 6, 2018    Tuesday
Vinton & Athens Counties – Mineral A MD, Mineral B MD, Mineral Btk & New Plymouth MD Blocks
Lake Hope State Park Lodge (Dining Hall)
27331 State Route 278
McArthur, OH
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Perry & Hocking Counties – New Straitsville A, B, C, D, & E MD & Nelsonville Btk / MD Blocks
New Straitsville Public Library
102 Main Street
New Straitsville, OH
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm


February 7, 2018   Wednesday
Fairfield & Hocking Counties – SW Lancaster MD & Rockbridge NPV Blocks
Hocking Township Hall
1175 Cincinnati Zanesville Road
Lancaster, OH
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm




2017 Farm Science Review

In a couple short weeks it will be time for Farm Science Review, one of my favorite things in Extension.

Each year I get a little more involved with this event and this year I am all in.   My first year I attended for a day as I had never been there and really enjoyed it so last year I was able to grab a piece of ground at the Gwynne Conservation Area up the road for a deer plot presentation as well as talk about parasites in small ruminants on the main grounds.

This year my schedule will be:

  • Tuesday – At the Gwynne all day,  talking Deer Plots mid-day
  • Wednesday – At the main grounds, talking Equine Internal Parasite Management at 10am.
  • Thursday I get to speak back at the Gywnne on a really cool project idea I had that myself and a bunch of educator buddies of mine developed that is particularly useful for Hocking County residents – A new demonstration area that will show different forages to try for Year-Round Grazing.

There was a 1.1 acre of ground that had been neglected that was planted in warm season perennial bunch grasses, like prairie grasses

Some bunch grasses present but also a ton of weeds

The spot was managed with herbicides with the best quarter acre saved of perennial grasses to show them off and the rest of the plot was planted with other forage types.  We will have quarter acre plots of the following:

  1. Warm Season Annuals
  2. Overwintered Stockpiled Forage
  3. Cool Season Perennials
  4. Warm Season Perennials

Baby oats that will grow into a forage that can be fed into the winter


Stop by this new grazing demonstration area if you get a chance.  Shuttles will take you back and forth from each event location.


Introducing Butterfly Ridge

Butterfly Ridge Butterfly Conservation Center is a 5 acre slice of the Hocking Hills being developed as a habitat for the butterflies of south eastern Ohio.   I met the folks who are developing this project during while working on the event at the container garden at Hocking Valley Community Hospital.


I had an opportunity to tour the grounds this past week and it looks like it will become a nice asset to our county.   The developing grounds will be 5 acres of trails that wind through planted habitat of native butterfly pollinator and forage species as well as wooded mature hardwood forest.


A nature/educational center is almost complete to allow meeting space and educational programming.

I am looking forward to their completion and opening, targeting July of 2017.   We will be partnering together for some educational programming on butterfly and pollinator topics.

Butterfly Garden at Hocking Valley Community Hospital

I was able to participate in a fun event at HVCH this past Friday.   The containers from last years container vegetable garden were planted with a mix of plants that are specific attractors to butterflies, either for nectar or forage.   Rick Webb from Webb’s Perennials kindly donated the plants,  Thanks Rick!

The butterfly knowledge was provided by Butterfly Ridge Butterfly Conservation Center which is located in Hocking Hills.  They have some land they are developing with plant species specific to butterflies and other pollinators.

Here is my favorite species of butterfly

It was a fun event.  The plan will be release of butterflies over the season into the protected courtyard so they can eat and then lay eggs.  Then after the caterpillars hatch they have forage to eat to mature into butterflies to continue on their journey.  The courtyard is a pleasant place for patients and staff to relax and this will make it even better.

I am looking forward to helping care for the butterfly garden this season and you will see me there periodically.  I also look forward to partnering with Butterfly Ridge to host programs at their center to provide educational programming later this summer.  I will let you all know about that once we get the details finalized.

Ramp Cultivation

A special thanks to Tanner Filyaw, Rural Action, for background and source material.   Used with permission.


pic credit: Appalachian Sustainable Development


Ramps are a species of wild onion that is native to the eastern North American mountains.  They prefer rich, moist, shady soils under tree species such as maple, oak, hickory, buckeye, beech and birth which means they are commonly encountered in Hocking County.

Pic credit: Rural Action, Tanner Filyaw



I personally grow a bunch of different onion varieties but these have several unusual cultivation characteristics if folks want to propagate them.

And we should.  Ramps have increased in popularity in recent years as a foraged local food for both home use and restaurant use.  The primary source for ramps has been harvest off of public land with little thought to sustainability and this has negatively impacted ramp population in the wild.

pic credit: Appalachian Sustainable Development

A study of the ramp life cycle is important to understand the challenges of propagating this plant.

Ramp Life Cycle –> Ramp Life Cycle Calendar-wl0p66



  • From divisions/transplants – be gentle, can purchase plants or divide mature clumps in spring.  If divide clumps, harvest no more than 15% of the clump.  ( I have seen as few as 5% recommended)

pic credit: Rural Action, Tanner Filyaw

  • From seed – can sow anytime,  BEST time is late summer to early fall. Can take up to 18 months to germinate!  Total time to harvest from sown seed can be 5-7 years.

pic credit: Rural Action, Tanner Filyaw


Ramp seed sources:

Awesome ramp cultivation links:




Save The Date!! “Tick Prevention” at Hocking Valley Community Hospital 4/3/17 at 6pm

With spring upcoming and people starting to head back outdoors it is time to think about protection from ticks.  Ticks are a major vector of many diseases affecting humans, companion animals and livestock and the prevalence of these diseases has been rapidly increasing over the last decade.  On Monday, April 3rd at 6pm at Hocking Valley Community Hospital I will discuss tick diseases, identification and prevention methods.  The class is free and open to the public.

How to identify which tick is important,  different ticks carry different diseases and all ticks carry more than one disease.




We will discuss lifecycles.

Source: CDC


And go over how to protect yourself, your family, your pets and your livestock.   Ticks are tough to repel, many of the most common products are ineffective.

We will discuss what works and what does not work.


Space is limited to about 20-25 and classes at HVCH generally fill up.  The class is free so bring your friends and your questions.

Contact information:

Class instructor is Tim McDermott, DVM from OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Office. Call (740) 380-8336 or email to RSVP.


Food Plots and Habitat Improvement to Benefit Wildlife

During the recent Farm Science Review I was given the opportunity to speak at the Gwynne Conservation Area on a topic of my choosing.  The guidelines were that it had to be Natural Resources focused as that is what that area deals with.  I have been doing some Food Plot stuff here in county so it seemed natural to pick that topic for the Gwynne.

Here is an overhead view of where I will plant.  Not a bad spot, not a great spot.  It has water although you cannot see it, but Deer Creek runs right behind it and a pond is right in front.  It has some trees but no good mast trees and not enough soft edges.  Site selection of plots is paramount, and cover is as important as food.  As the saying goes “they will visit if there is food, they will stay if there is cover”


I will plant in the spot that has birdhouses

So here is the spot I will get to use.  It was a weed choked wasteland, but was burnt down with glyphosate and lightly tilled.




And a  wild game seed mix was broadcast by hand on to the top of the soil.  Not a bad seed choice by variety: some rye, triticale, clover, oats and forage rape(a brassica).  That is cold hardy with nitrogen fixing, protein and some cereal grains.  Deer and Turkey will love it.



This was done around August 1st.  Then it basically got hot and forgot to rain for weeks.  When I would go back to look at the plot I would see dry seed getting gobbled up by birds.   A soil test was done but was misplaced and turned in only a week before the Review.  No biggie,  I did not have the funds to fertilize, was more interested in seeing what the soil looked like.

Here is the soil test.



Yikes that is a crazy soil test.  Totally different than what I see in Hocking.  High pH with increased calcium and magnesium.  Not a ton of fertility and a low organic matter percentage.  Basically we planted in poor soil, did not fertilize, did not use herbicides and planted at the wrong time.  I basically did everything wrong.  And it showed.


Too bad deer and turkey don’t love foxtail, thistle, milkweed and wild parsnip.   I did see some cool stuff in there though, like the Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed.


And the Black Swallowtail caterpillars on the wild parsnip(they like everything in that family of plants – celery, parsley, carrots, dill, etc..)



It was a successful class as I used this opportunity to show what NOT to do and quite honestly that can be just as effective.  Next year I think I will do it a little differently.  Maybe do half correct and half incorrect, I have the incorrect part down pat.

Let me know if you want to incorporate a wildlife plot on your land.  It is probably too late to get going planting from scratch, but not too late to plan and do site evaluation.  In fact fall is the perfect time for that.


Food plots for deer and other wildlife


My friend Josh came in to the office in early spring to talk about how he could grow food plots for deer on his land in Hocking County.  He had been trying various seed but was not having success.  Josh is not only a hunter like many around here but he is also a conservationist(also like many around).

One of the first thing that you do when evaluating a spot on your land as a food plot is to see what it offers the wildlife.  They basically need what we need:  Food, Water and Shelter.

Josh had picked a great spot.  It has cover with woods up both sides of the food plot area-


It also had a water source with a very nice looking creek on one side-


Just needed to work on the food.  My first thought when he described what had been going on was that we needed a soil sample to see how the fertility is.

The soil sample completely told the story.   Evidently the ground had been strip mined at some point and then not remediated after that so it was not capable of doing a good job supporting a forage.

soil test

According to the soil test he needed to lime the soil, increase the organic matter, and add the big 3 of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus.

Which Josh did.  He is a hard worker.   He added all the soil amendments and planted forage brassicas as well as planted a buckwheat cover crop on another spot that will be mowed and tilled to increase organic matter and fertility for an upcoming fall deer food crop.

And it worked like crazy.

Here are the forage brassicas that Josh and his buddy planted.  That is not a Tonka truck in the picture.


deer josh2


Here is the buckwheat getting mowed right in full flower, before it sets seed. Same principle we are using for the same reason at the Logan Community Garden


Josh Buckwheat4Gosh do I love cover crops.

I am hoping Josh and his buddies land the biggest trophy bucks of their lives this season.  They will have earned it the hard way, and he is improving his land for future generations.

If you want to develop your land for future projects let me know and we will get started with a plan.

I will be speaking on Food Plots for Wildlife including deer and game birds at the Farm Science Review on September 21st at the Gwynne Conservation Area.  Stop by and say hello.

Zika Virus in Ohio

A topic that I have been getting questions on and is a currently making headlines globally is about the Zika virus.  I will attempt to provide as much information as possible as it relates to Zika virus here in Ohio.

Here is a map of the United States with laboratory-confirmed  Zika virus infections. (Data as of May 4th, 2016, Source – CDC)


Ohio as of 5/4/16 has 12 confirmed cases of Zika virus, none of which was contracted locally, all of which were contracted via travel.

Currently, per the CDC, Zika virus disease and Zika virus congenital infection are nationally notifiable conditions.

The Ohio State University experts have done a great job of keeping us Educators in the loop and pertinent on the progress of this disease.

Volume 20, Issue 2 of PEP-Talk:

Zika Virus Special issue.

This issue of PEP-talk summarizes information about the potential Zika virus threat to Ohioans that was presented at an April 26, 2016 conference sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health.  Credit to the authors:

Mary Ann Rose, Program Director;  Chrissy Kaminski, Program Coordinator;  Adam Ziadeh, Program Assistant; Chad Kramer, Program Assistant

 The Disease and Current Status in Ohio

The disease is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The illness is mild in most people, lasting for several days to a week with most common symptoms including one or more of these: fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. As many as 80% of those infected do not realize they have the disease. However, if infected during pregnancy, the disease may cause microcephaly, a very serious birth defect, and more rarely, severe effects may occur in adults. Currently there is no treatment or vaccine for the virus. As of April 26, 2016 there were no local mosquito-transmitted cases of Zika in the continental U.S., but there had been approximately 380 travel-related cases, with 12 of those cases in Ohio. In addition to mosquito transmission, the virus can be transmitted by men to sexual partners, and by blood transfusion.
Full Printable PDF of research findings———>The Disease and Current Status in Ohio – ZIKA
Knowledge of the disease, mosquito types, and transmission are important.  Keep up on your repellants and make smart choices.  Contact me if you have any more questions about this disease.