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Taylor County Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lawn, Gardening & Pests

Get a yard that feels and looks like home. Get a bountiful harvest. Grow your own and sow something beautiful. WVU Extension has lawn, gardening and pests information you can use.

Lawn, Gardening & Pests News for Taylor County

Join us for the 2022 Master Gardener Conference

The 27th annual Master Gardener Conference will be held on April 8-10, 2022, at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Garden enthusiasts and beginner gardeners from near and far are invited to join us this year! To register for the conference or find more information about the schedule and speakers, visit the Master Gardener Conference page.

West Virginia Extension Master Gardener Program.

Become a Master Gardener in Spring 2022

female planting in a garden

WVU Extension Master Gardener training, typically offered through in-person courses organized by WVU Extension offices around the state, will once again be available online via Zoom sessions. 

Something we learned through this COVID-induced way of conducting our training is that many people found it very appealing and wanted to have the online training opportunity again this fall. Some counties are starting to offer in-person sessions, but given the volatility of the COVID situation, the best approach is to have a hybrid platform. 


Agriculture

Practical economic strategies. Investments in local growers. Farming like our future depends on it. WVU Extension offers timely, research-based agriculture information you can put into practice.

Agriculture News for Taylor County

2022 Agriculture Webinar and Dinner Meeting Series

Snow covered cattle in field.

Each winter, WVU Extension brings education, know-how and research right to your community through a series of educational dinner meetings. This year, we're offering a mix of virtual and in-person meeting opportunities across West Virginia for the 2022 agriculture education series!

Participants had the same opportunity to learn from WVU Extension specialists and industry experts about relevant topics to help you improve your own agricultural operations.


Lease Recommendations for Land Owner & Tenants

Ben Goff.

Ben Goff, WVU Extension Agent in Mason and Putnam counties, offers recommendations for landowners and tenants who want to prepare for the upcoming farming season and work to minimize their respective risks.

Goff covers a variety of tips for farmers and landowners regarding farm leases, including:


Register for 2021 Pasture Management Certificate Training

Barn on farm.

The Pasture Management Certificate Training is offered as part of Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Agricultural Innovation Workforce Trainings & Certifications. 

Instructed by Kevin Shaffer, Ed Rayburn and Ben Goff from WVU Extension, this certification will teach farmers how they can improve sustainability to their operation by improving their pasture management so there is more available forage year-round. 


Natural Resources

Land you can take pride in. Nature you can appreciate. Keep wild and wonderful just that. WVU Extension has natural resources information from trusted experts.

Natural Resources News for Taylor County

Register for White Oak in West Virginia Webinar

Hand holding up a leaf from a white oak tree. The leaf is red from fall coloring.

Join us as we dive into the opportunities and challenges related to sustaining and harvesting white oak trees in West Virginia.

Tuesday, February 2


Register for West Virginia Woodland Stewards Seminar

Timber forest.

Join us as we dive into a variety of educational topics and learn more about how we can be better stewards of West Virginia's woodlands.

Tuesday, February 9


Soil Testing

Fillable WVU Soil Testing Form Printable WVU Soil Testing Form How to Complete the Form

Forms are available as PDFs. Download Adobe Adcrobat Reader for free, if needed.


Soil testing is the easiest and most reliable method of assessing a soil’s nutrient status. It provides a basis for recommending the correct amount of lime and fertilizer to apply for crops and pastures. Soil testing also allows an expert to predict the probability of obtaining a yield or growth response to lime and fertilizer application.

How Often to Sample

  • Row crops and hayfields: Every one or two years or when crops are rotated.
  • Permanent pastures: Every 3 - 4 years.
  • Vegetable gardens: Every 1 - 2 years.
  • Lawns and turf: Every 3 - 5 years.

West Virginia University offers free soil analysis to residents. Your county Extension agent can assist you in your effort to collect good soil samples and also to understand the results of analysis.

Where to Sample

Adequately assess the nutrients that plant roots may encounter in soils, at least five to ten randomly selected soil borings should comprise the composite sample submitted to the laboratory. Five to eight borings will be enough for small areas such as lawns and gardens. If a field is large, subdivide it into 10-acre sections and take at least 20 borings from each 10 acres (or about two to three borings per acre). In West Virginia, it is helpful to divide the field into distinct slope/soil classes and take borings within each class to make a sample. Different slope classes generally have different parent materials and different soils.

Exclude or take separate samples from areas not characteristic of the field, lawn or garden such as wet spots, eroded areas, bare spots, back furrows, field edges. When the field has several soil types or crop conditions, take separate borings for each soil type or slope class and send a separate sample for each. No single sample submitted to the laboratory should represent an area larger than 10 acres.

How to Sample

A shovel rests on the ground in a dirt trough.

Using an auger, shovel or spade and a clean plastic pail or container, take small uniform cores or thin slices from the soil surface to the recommended depth (see the following paragraph). Gently crush the soil and mix it thoroughly, discarding any roots or stones. Do not send wet soil, but air dry it on a clean surface in a shady spot before mailing. Not only does wet soil cost more to mail, but your results also will be delayed because the laboratory must still air dry the sample. Do not heat the sample.

Send at least 1 cup (a handful) of soil to the laboratory in a plastic bag. (The WVU soil test mailer contains a sandwich bag to fill and place in the cloth bag.) Remember to include your name and address and other information on the sheets provided by the laboratory.

How Deep to Sample

Sample the soil to the depth in which your crops are or will be growing.

  • Permanent pastures: Remove organic debris from the soil surface; sample the top 2 inches.
  • Hay fields: Remove organic debris from the soil surface; sample the top 4 to 6 inches.
  • Row crops: Sample the soil to the depth of tillage.
  • No-till crops: Sample the top inch and take a second sample from the depth of 1 to 6 inches.
  • Vegetable gardens and planting beds: Sample the soil to tillage depth.
  • Lawns and turf: Sample the top 2 inches in established lawns and turf and the top 1 to 4 inches in new turf plantings.

Master Gardeners

We’re growing

The WVU Extension Master Gardener Program provides people interested in gardening with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and sharpen their skills by taking part in Basic/Level 1 and Advanced/Level 2 training programs that provide in-depth training in various aspects of horticulture.

The program helps residents better understand horticultural and environmental issues through community engagement in gardening and beautification projects at schools, parks, public institutions, community organizations, and locations throughout the state.

Benefits of becoming a WVU Extension Master Gardener

Among the many benefits for getting involved with the WVU Extension Master Gardener program, here are the highest-ranking ones:

  • Getting to know more about gardening and horticulture to expand personal horizons and be able to help others
  • Significant improvements in quality of life, including physical activity, social activity, self-esteem and nutrition
  • Offers opportunities for professional development through continuing training opportunities
  • Meeting like-minded people and engaging in the garden activities you are passionate about
  • Opportunities to assume responsibility
  • Encourages individual independence
  • Gaining respect in the community for your newly developed horticultural skills
  • Flexibility to conduct volunteer work

How do you join?

The first step is to contact your county office and ask about the training program. Under normal circumstances, the WVU Extension Master Gardener Program is offered through our local WVU Extension offices. The training program has been migrated to an online-hybrid platform. You will still need to contact your local WVU Extension office to go over the registration, fees, paperwork and how to get the manuals.

The Spring 2022 training series will run from March 3 until June 30. Classes will be held every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Over the course of the 18-session online training program, you will receive 54 hours of instruction in a variety of topics, including botany, plant propagation, entomology, pesticides and pest management, plant disease, soil science and nutritional management, turfgrass management, vegetable gardening, tree fruits, small fruit, pruning, landscape design, woody ornamentals, indoor plants, herbaceous plants, garden wildlife management and West Virginia native plants.

From there, pass a test and complete 40 hours of initial volunteer work and you’ll have earned the right to call yourself a WVU Extension Master Gardener.