Hargest cited in Press Herald ‘Maine Gardener’ column on plant sales, moths

Pamela Hargest, a horticulture professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in the latest column in the Portland Press Herald “Maine Gardener” series. In the article, “Plant sales no bargain if winter moth is part of the deal,” the author warns the winter moth has been devastating hardwoods in several coastal Maine communities, and the cocoon for the caterpillars is buried in the soil from late May through November or December. Plants that are dug up in infested areas during those months could carry the problem with them, according to the article. One tip for reducing the possibility of spreading winter moths is for organizations holding plant sales to dig plants early, the article states. “We do most of our digging and planting before May 1,” said Hargest, who helps coordinate the Cumberland County Master Gardeners’ sale in Portland. “On any we dig after May 1, we have to wash the roots of the plants, and we try to avoid that because it’s a lot of work.” Hargest said the group emphasizes native and pollinator plants, but also has herbs, vegetable seedlings and flowering annuals. UMaine Extension also was cited in a related Press Herald article about how fear of spreading the winter moth has forced the South Portland Land Trust and the Community Garden Collective to scale back their spring plant sale. The organizing committee decided to cancel the garden-grown sale after consulting with pest, horticultural and other experts, including UMaine Extension, the article states.