Hired to be a helper

September 16, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

When Lori Young was a teenager, her father would jokingly tell people that he would make her mad once a week so he could get the garden weeded.

That's because gardening was a stress reliever for Young.

As the new Maryland Cooperative Extension educator on horticulture for Washington County, Young might be able to relieve stress for local residents who have questions and concerns about their gardens or lawns.

On Wednesday, Young was investigating a white worm in the larva stage.

A local resident wanted to know what was killing her walnuts, Young said.

"So I cracked it open and I found the little bug," said Young, 40, of Greencastle, Pa.

"It's not my strong suit, but I'm the bug person," Young said.

The problem she's heard the most about so far is bagworms.

She's also gotten calls from people wanting to know how to get rid of nests of bees or wasps and how to get rid of lawn grubs. People can tell if they have lawn grubs by pulling on a patch of brown grass. If it lifts up like a rug, people probably will see grubs underneath, she said.


People with questions about lawn care, houseplants, trees, bushes or vegetables can call Young at 301-791-1604 or e-mail her at

Young works from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike south of Hagerstown.

People can drop off bugs or plant samples about which they have questions, Young said. If they want to talk to Young in person, they should call ahead to make sure she is in the office.

Young started her new job Sept. 7. The position was vacant since spring, County Extension Director Lynn Little said.

Young said she has a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Penn State University and held horticulture therapy jobs with various agencies in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. She taught horticulture skills to developmentally disabled people and nursing home residents to give them a new recreation or job skills.

By taking the job with the extension service, Young is expanding the population she teaches.

She trains the public in horticulture, including lawn care and integrated pest management.

Young said she hopes to start a master gardener program at the beginning of the year.

After going through the free 40-hour training program, the new master gardeners would give back to the community through service hours by doing things such as running plant clinics, maintaining planted areas in the community or starting a community garden, Young said.

Little said she wasn't sure if the county had ever had a master gardener program, but knows it hasn't in her 16 years with the office.

The Herald-Mail Articles