Monthly Newsletter, Moore County
June/July 2021

Extension programs and resources are available to all county residents. Feel free to forward our newsletters on to family and friends. Watch out for monthly announcements of events as this newsletter arrives in your inbox each month or keep up with us on Facebook or Instagram.
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Farms, Food and You

North Carolina ranks third among states when it comes to agricultural diversity. Our farmers produce about 90 different commodities, but roughly 80% of crops grown here are shipped out of state to be processed. However, in the latest episode of Farms, Food and You, two NC entrepreneurs talk about the momentum that’s been building to increase food manufacturing and processing industry in our state. Listen to the Growing NC Food Entrepreneurship podcast here.

Master Gardener Tips:


Here in the south, caladiums are probably already a staple in your garden. They prefer shade but some of the new Proven Winners “Heart to Heart” varieties will handle full sun as easily as they do shade. There are a wide range of colors, sizes and leaf shapes to choose from. Although caladiums do not flower, their leaf color include various shades of red, pink, white, green, and yellow-green, with prominently colored midribs and contrasting margins. They make a good addition to borders, baskets and planters.

Caladiums range in size from 12-24 inches in height and spread. They are an annual, but you can save tubers from the previous year and in the spring, when the soil has warmed to about 70 degrees, plant them spacing them 8 to 14 inches apart and covering the tubers with about 1 to 1- 1/2 inches of soil that has plenty of organic material and is well-drained and slightly acidic.
For more information, contact the Extension Master Gardener Helpline at 910-947-3188, Monday-Friday

By: Dolores EMGV, Moore County

Photo: Proven Winner

Leyland Cypress Tree Problems

Many of Central North Carolina’s Leyland cypress trees have been dropping like flies in recent months. Unfortunately for this mighty evergreen tree there is no end in sight. The Leyland cypress, known to the scientific community as X Cuprocyparis leylandii is a large evergreen tree that grows extremely fast and has the potential to grow to well over 100 feet tall and almost half as wide. This species of tree originated from a hybrid cross of two North American conifers, the Alaskan cypress and the Monterey cypress, and is cherished as a hedge or screen due to its thick evergreen growth. The Leyland cypress is also sought after due to its extremely fast rate of growth. These characteristics coupled with its ability to grow in a wide range of soils and climates have made it one of the most widely planted trees in the landscape.

The popularity of the Leyland cypress may ultimately be what leads to its downfall. What were once minor pest issues have since become major epidemics for the Leyland cypress. Cankers and needle blight that kill off portions of the tree frequently ail Leyland cypresses and often times lead to its untimely death. The shear amount of Leyland cypresses in the landscape has caused these deadly diseases to spread like wildfire, killing many trees. The close proximity that these trees are often planted in to form hedges and screens only makes the problem worse. In addition to those diseases an insect known as the bagworm feeds veraciously on the foliage of the Leyland cypress. Bagworms, whose cocoons often mistaken for cones, have the ability to defoliate trees in a matter of weeks. With threats as serious as cankers, needle blight, and bagworms one would think that it’s a miracle that the trees have made it this long. Cankers and needle blight are both caused by different species of fungi, while bagworms are the caterpillars of certain species of moth. Cankers kill large portions of the tree at once causing the foliage to turn a bright red-brown, whereas the blight kills the needles of the tree spreading from the trunk outward. Normally, the fungi are kept at bay by hot dry temperatures. Unfortunately the wet and relatively cool spring we have experiences in combination with prevalence of the Leyland cypress in the landscape, often planted close together in hedges and screens, has created a perfect storm for the development of the fungus that ultimately causes the cankers and needle blight. Additionally the South’s hot temperatures and the Leyland cypress’s shallow root system further weaken the tree’s natural defenses to these pests.

Thankfully for gardeners and homeowners everywhere there are some measures that can be taken in hopes of preventing and eradicating these troublesome pests. In order to help avoid the fungi that cause needle blight and cankers keep the trees as dry as possible. Also, avoid pruning when the trees are damp as this opens up areas that can be infected by these noxious fungi. Once established the fungi are hard to control, the fungus that causes needle blight can sometimes be controlled with a general garden fungicide. Sadly, little can be done if your tree has developed cankers, which usually prove to be fatal for Leyland cypresses. Removing and destroying damaged foliage can slow the spread of these conditions. However, one must be ever careful to avoid spreading the disease to other trees.

Read more at:

Are They Fireflies or Lightning Bugs?

One of the more magical moments of summer each year is the first firefly sighting (or “lightning bug,” depending on where you’re from). These bioluminescent beetles — yep, they’re actually beetles — weave sequins through the night sky. They transform sultry summer evenings into radiant affairs while delighting our collective inner-child.

Whether you keep watch for the little luminaries, or that first flash catches you by surprise, fireflies are a beloved symbol of summer. And thankfully, they’re abundant in North Carolina.

If you’re like us, their mysterious glow has mesmerized you since childhood. Homegrown sat down with Clyde Sorenson — NC State’s resident firefly expert and a luminary in his own right — to help shed light on the subject in this edition of Homegrown.

Year-Round Peaches

written by Deborah McGiffin

One of our family favorites is pickled peaches. Freezing was my mother's favorite method of preserving summer vegetables. She thought canning vegetables out of the garden was too time consuming and too much work. But when it came to preserving peaches, canning or more specifically, pickling peaches, was worth the effort. In fact, pickling peaches was somewhat of an annual week-long ritual which involved going to a local peach stand and buying 2-3 bushels of early harvested peaches, peeling peaches, filling quart sized Ball canning jars with the syrup cooked peaches, and processing them in a water bath canner. The recipe below is a tested recipe for quality and safety from the University of Georgia's Fifth Edition of So Easy to Preserve, and is sure to become one of your family's favorites too:

Peach Pickles:
8 pounds peeled peaches (small to medium size, 1 1/2" diameter; Freestone varieties are best for canning)
6 3/4 cups sugar
4 sticks cinnamon (2" long)
2 tablespoon whole cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger
1 quart 5% vinegar

Wash & peel peaches with a sharp knife; drop into a cold solution of 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid & 2 quarts cold water.
Dissolve sugar in vinegar in saucepan; heat to boiling; boil 5 minutes; skim; add spices tied loosely in cheesecloth.
Drain peaches; place drained peaches into boiling syrup; cook until they can be pierced with a fork, but not soft.
Remove from heat; allow peaches to set in syrup overnight in the refrigerator to plump.
Reheat peaches and syrup, bringing to a boil; pack peaches into hot quart-size jars; leave 1/2" headspace; remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims; adjust lids.
Process 25 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Farm Service Agency Now Accepting Nominations

The local Farm Service Agency that serves Lee, Moore and Montgomery Counties is now accepting nominations for candidates to serve on county committees.

Committee members are critical to the day-to-day operations of the FSA. Local farmers serving on county committees work to ensure that FSA programs meet the needs of local producers.

As explains, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) was formed to support farmers in times of need by offering loans, payments, and disaster relief programs. Because the risks that can come with growing food depend on the economy, food preferences and acts of nature, the government felt it was necessary to protect the people and operations that provide food for Americans.

Local farmer and rancher representation on a FSA county committee use their experience and knowledge to help the FSA make decisions that affect local farms.

The Moore County Extension Center has been asked to submit nominations to the local FSA. Nominations will be accepted through August 2, 2021. 

Any interested Moore County farmer or rancher interested in serving on the local FSA County Committee is encouraged to contact Moore County Extension Director, Deborah McGiffin, Read more about how to serve the Lee/Moore/Montgomery County FSA here.

Century Farm Program Seeks 100-Year-Old or Older Farms

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Century Farm Program is looking for farms that have been in continuous family ownership for 100 years or more to join the nearly 2,000 farms in the program. The program exists to honor farms for their longstanding contributions to North Carolina’s rich agricultural heritage.

Every four years, N.C. State Fair hosts a reunion to recognize Century Farm families. Because the State Fair was canceled in 2020, the reunion has been moved to this year and will be held Oct. 18th and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Century Farm Program.
There are 1,950 member farms in the program, with 97 of the state’s 100 counties represented. Century Farms represent a small fraction of the total 52,000 farms in North Carolina.

To be eligible for the program, the farm must be in continuous ownership by your family for 100 years or more.

Applications can be found at this link and are accepted continuously throughout the year. Proof of land ownership must be submitted with the application.


Some of the best career paths also have some of the coolest toys. From tractors to fire trucks and more, come out and learn about North Carolina’s Agricultural Industry and other organizations that support our thriving North Carolina communities!

Saturday, August 14, 2021, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

Moore County Agricultural Fairgrounds

Cornhole Tournament

During this event, we will also be hosting a Cornhole Tournament. Our top three teams will win prize baskets full of goodies! Tournament begins at 11 a.m.

  • Each team must be two members
  • Only 16 teams total will be allowed to enter
  • A standard set of rules will be followed

Attendance for this event is FREE but registration is required. If you would like to signup for our tournament, please indicate that in your registration.

Please bring your ticket with you to the fairgrounds!

Moore County Teens Lead the Way

Prior to the COVID-19 shut-down from last March, the newly formed Moore County 4-H Teen Leadership Council initially met once in January 2020. Now that most COVID restrictions have eased, the teen leadership council resumed meeting on June 22.

This recent meeting of the teen leadership council focused on its purpose and mission. The teens attending the meeting created a statement that explains their mission: Little changes through service to promote a brighter 4-H future. Then to promote and distinguish the Council’s mission, one of the teen leaders, Mars Jones, created a design that will be used as their logo. Mars’ design as seen to the left above demonstrates the leadership ability teens possess, if given the opportunity.

The leadership council members will refer to their mission statement as they plan their future activities and projects that will emphasize developing leadership skills among themselves and as youth leaders in Moore County. This group of 4-H youth leaders will also advise Moore County Extension and the Moore County 4-H program on matters that concern youth. Their input will be valuable as Moore County 4-H plans programs and events that will actively engage and involve youth in 4-H.

The Moore County 4-H Teen Leadership Council is open to all Moore County youth ages 13-18. For more information about joining 4-H and this dynamic group of influential teens and tomorrow’s movers and shakers,
contact Deborah McGiffin,  or
Linda Gore, or call Moore County Cooperative Extension, 910-947-3188. The next council meeting is scheduled for July 20 at 6 pm at the Moore County Agricultural Building.
Read more Moore County Extension news »
NC State University and N.C. A&T State University work in tandem, along with federal, state and local governments, to form a strategic partnership called N.C. Cooperative Extension.

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made at least 5 days before the scheduled event
to Deborah McGiffin at or 910-947-3188.


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