Information About Central Ohio Valley

Information About Central Ohio Valley

Get Started

Regional To-Do List: December Tasks For Central States

By Laura Miller

Ohio Valley gardening tasks in December focus primarily on the upcoming holidays and preventing winter damage to plants. Learn more here.

November Gardening Tasks – Ohio Valley Gardening In Autumn

By Laura Miller

Need an Ohio Valley to-do list for November gardening tasks left to be done in the region? Click the following article for help with that.

Central Region Shrubs – Growing Shrubs In The Ohio Valley Region

By Laura Miller

If you're looking to plant shrubs in the Ohio Valley or central U.S., you're in luck. There are many varieties available. Learn more here.

October Gardening Tasks – Ohio Valley Gardening In Autumn

By Laura Miller

Before you head outdoors, organize your chore chart with this regional to-do list for October tasks in the Ohio valley.

Ohio Valley Gardening: What To Do In September Gardens

By Laura Miller

The Ohio Valley gardening season begins to wind down this month, leaving gardeners wondering what to do in September. The answer is plenty.

Shade Tolerant Meadow Garden: Shade Meadow Plants For Ohio Valley

By Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

Learning about shade tolerant meadow plants can help gardeners beautify and repurpose unused shade areas. Here’s info on Ohio Valley shade meadow gardening.

Central U.S. Gardening – Growing Shade Trees In The Ohio Valley

By Laura Miller

Shade trees provide homeowners with comfortable areas of the yard. For ideas on shade tree options in Central U.S. regions, click here.

Regional Garden Chores: Ohio Valley Gardening In August

By Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

Learning more about gardening tasks for the Ohio Valley in August can help you stay on ahead. Click here for things you need to do now.

Ohio Valley Vines – Growing Vines In Central U.S. States

By Laura Miller

you looking for the perfect vine plants to complete your Ohio Valley garden? If you live in the central U.S., check out these vines to grow in your area.

Central U.S. Perennials – Growing Perennials In The Ohio Valley

By Laura Miller

Plant perennials once and they return each year with renewed vigor and bountiful blossoms. Click here for ideas on some central U.S. perennials.

Regional Gardening List: Tasks For July In The Ohio Valley

By Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

The July regional gardening list is filled with chores to ensure a healthy, productive garden from summer into fall. Find Ohio Valley tasks here.

Flowers For Kentucky Summers – Best Flowers For Kentucky Heat

By Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

Kentucky summer flowers need to be tough enough to stand up to high heat, humidity, and various soil types. Click here for some great options.

Regional To-Do List For June: Gardening In The Ohio Valley

By Laura Miller

As gardeners compile their regional to-do list of June gardening tasks, the focus turns from planting to tending. Take a look at what needs done here.

Central Region Annuals – Growing Annuals In The Central Region

By Laura Miller

Nothing adds season long color like flowering annuals. They flower fast and bloom until fall. Find annual flowers for central region gardens here.

April Ohio Valley Garden: Gardening To-Do List And Tips For Gardeners

By Laura Miller

In the Ohio Valley, there's never a shortage of April gardening tasks. Here's a few ideas you might want to add to your monthly gardening to-do list.

Ohio Valley Conifers: Planting Conifers In Central U.S. States

By Laura Miller

Are you looking for protection from harsh winter winds in the central U.S. states or Ohio Valley? Conifers might be the solution. Their dense foliage and evergreen characteristics make ideal windbreaks, and add vertical year-round eye appeal to the landscape. Learn more here.

Ask A Pro

Ask a Question

Ohio Native Plants That Make A Good Show

There are many ornamental native plants of Ohio that make a wonderful show in the landscape. If you want to get started with five of the best perennials for Ohio gardens, begin here.

Some well known plants, widespread in wild areas, are actually exotics which have made themselves at home. Check the lists of native plants here. This not a purist list, but those plants which are generally native to the USA, and growing in Ohio.

Here, you will find a sampling of the flowers and plants that are native to Ohio, many of which are garden worthy, some which have named cultivars. Whole books are written, and large websites devoted to native plants.

Know Your Type of Land

Is your garden a former woodland, prairie, or bog? Even when a gardened or farmed area was once swampy, shaded, or otherwise comprised of certain native plants, manmade changes may have irrevocably created another kind of environment.

Luckily, we can replicate conditions for many of our native plants. Providing shade, incorporating leafmold may help woodland denizens to grow. Providing certain mowing or burning procedures can give the prairie plants what they need to survive and grow.

Photos of wildflowers taken at Highbanks Metro Park From A Garden Journal, Diary of Ilona’s Garden

In the photo, all the plants look to be growing as natives, but not all are! Lavender thistles, gleaming yeloow goldenrod, berries of Red baneberry (Actaea rubra), Lonicera and White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) may all be noted in the composite.

Which ones are native, which ones are not?

Accounting for Climate Change

Much of the public understanding of flooding risk comes from work done by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which establishes special flood hazard areas based largely on historical flood data. But Porter explained that FEMA’s calculations, based on the likelihood of a 100-year flood event, oversimplify the range of flooding risks, especially along smaller creeks and tributaries, and do not take into account how a changing climate is affecting precipitation.

First Street’s analysis applies climate models recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to better understand flooding risk driven by climate change.

Porter said that when graphing a region’s rainfall over the course of a year, one would normally find a distribution of rain events “from a light sprinkle” on the left side of a graph “to torrential downpours” on the right.

“What we are seeing is there are not more rain events, but more heavy rain events occurring with climate change on that far right hand side,” he said.

And this is not just a phenomenon predicted by climate models — it is already evident in recent meteorological data. The National Climate Assessment , a report compiled and vetted by 13 federal agencies, shows that intense rainstorms have increased significantly in the Ohio Valley over the past half-century. In West Virginia and parts of the northeastern U.S., the proportion of precipitation that comes down in the heaviest storms went up by more than 50%. In Kentucky and Ohio, those heavy storms are up by about a third over the same period.

Courtesy Climate Central

Heavy downpours increased dramatically in the Ohio Valley as the climate changed.

Porter spent much of his childhood in Kentucky and earned degrees at the University of Louisville, so he is familiar with the Appalachian landscape and its history of flooding. Heavy downpours can easily produce flash flooding in the hilly terrain of Appalachia where many communities lie in narrow river valleys. Porter said the increase in heavy precipitation events raises the risk of the types of damaging floods ordinarily expected to occur only once in a century.

“The way the climate is changing we’re seeing those ‘1-in-100 year’ events become ‘1-in-10 year’ events, happening more often.”

Kara Lofton, WVPB

June 2016 flood damage in Clendenin, West Virginia. Property damages exceed $73 million.

The Ohio Valley has suffered numerous flood disasters in recent years. In late June 2016, West Virginia experienced one of the worst flash flood episodes in state history. Twenty-three people were killed in a flood disaster that destroyed more than 1,500 homes and businesses and significantly damaged another 2,500. Highways and bridges suffered about $53 million in damages. Because of the intensity and level of rain, the National Weather Service said that it expected a downpour of that size once in 1000 years.

The following summer, eight West Virginia counties were again in a state of emergency due to flash flooding. However, ReSource reporting in early 2020 showed the state had still not followed through on plans to improve flood resilience in vulnerable communities.

In February, 2019, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared an emergency when flooding struck eastern Kentucky communities along the Cumberland and Kentucky River drainages, which reached the highest levels in four decades. Water overtopped the aging Elkhorn Lake dam in Jenkins, Kentucky, raising fears of a possible dam failure.

Alexandra Kanik

The Ohio River out of its banks in Louisville, 2018.

Frequent high water levels along the Ohio River have raised concerns about the antiquated system of floodwalls , pumps and levees that protect dozens of cities and towns from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois.

Increased flooding also threatens sites that contain hazardous chemicals. An analysis in 2017 by the AP showed that 16 sites vulnerable to flooding in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia have about 43,000 people living within one mile of a federally recognized hazardous site. Many of those people could be especially vulnerable to the health and environmental effects of toxic contamination.

Growing Strawberries in the Home Garden

Strawberries are well suited for planting in the home garden since they produce fruits very quickly and require a relatively small amount of space. Each plant may produce up to one quart of fruit when grown in a matted row during the first fruiting year. June-bearing cultivars typically produce fruits during the second year of planting while everbearing and day-neutral cultivars produce fruits during the first year of planting.

Figure 1. Fresh strawberries are delicious and have many health benefits. Photo by Ken Chamberlain.

Twenty-five plants will normally produce enough strawberries for an average-sized family. More plants can be ordered and planted since strawberry plants are relatively inexpensive. Excess berries can be turned into jam or jellies. They can also be frozen for future use.

A strawberry planting does not remain productive forever. The strawberry yield usually declines during the second and third years of fruiting therefore, a new planting should be established after strawberry plants produce fruits for more than three to four years for maximum production every year. A strawberry bed also needs to be renovated after three years of fruiting to stay productive for one or two more years.

Strawberry plants produce attractive fruit with fine flavor. Strawberries have a very high vitamin C content and are versatile as a dessert food. Most cultivars of strawberries are well suited to freezing and processing, as well as for fresh use. Many people enjoy eating the fresh-picked fruit. Strawberries are also excellent for jams, jellies and pies. Freshly sliced and sugared strawberries are excellent when served chilled either alone or over shortcake or ice cream. In addition, strawberries contain many antioxidants, which have anticancer properties.

Types of Strawberries

Strawberry plants can be divided into three types, June-bearing, everbearing and day-neutral. June‑bearing plants are cultured to produce a full crop the season after planting. In Ohio, the ripening season of June-bearing strawberry cultivars ranges from late May to the end of June. Everbearing cultivars are capable of producing a crop in the year of planting and can produce two smaller crops, one in late spring and the second in early fall. The day-neutral plants are capable of producing fruit throughout most of the growing season.

Figure 2. Earliglow is one of the best tasting strawberry cultivars. It is also disease resistant.

June-bearing types are most popular for the home garden and commercial use and are well worth waiting for because of their high yields, outstanding flavor and quality. One cannot tell by looking at the plant whether they are of the June-bearing, everbearing or day-neutral type therefore, when purchasing plants, it is important to specify which type is desired. It is certainly a good idea to plant both types to get fruit production in the first year from day-neutral strawberries, and high yield and quality from June-bearing strawberries. A main portion of the plants should be of June-bearing type while other two types can extend the harvest season.

Cultivar Selection

Home fruit growers have a large number of cultivars (varieties) to select from. The selection is much greater for the June-bearing types than for the day-neutral types. Strawberry cultivars suggested for growing in Ohio are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Cultural Characteristics of Suggested Strawberry Cultivars.
Cultivar Season Berry Size Freezing Quality Dessert Quality Yield
Allstar Mid Large Fair Good High
Annapolis Early Medium, Large Good Good High
Cabot Mid-Late Very Large Fair Excellent Medium
Clancy Mid Large Good Good Medium
Earliglow Early Medium, Large Very Good Very Good Medium
Eros Mid Large Good Good High
Evangeline Early Medium Excellent Good Medium
Guardian Mid Very Large Fair Good High
Jewel Mid-Late Large Excellent Excellent High
Kent Mid Large Poor Fair High
L’Amour Early-Mid Large Good Good Fair
Lateglow Mid-Late Large Fair Good High
Ovation Late Large Good Good Medium
Sparkle Mid-Late Large Excellent Excellent High
Surecrop Early-Mid Large Good Good Medium
Winnona Mid-Late Medium, Large Fair Good High
Everbearing (Day-Neutral)
Everest N/A Large Fair Good High
Seascape N/A Large Good Good High
Tribute N/A Small Good Fair Medium
Tristar N/A Small Good Fair Medium
Note: New fruit cultivars that may be superior to currently suggested varieties are constantly being released. Check with your local Extension Educator or the nursery you order plants from to obtain information on newly released cultivars for your location.

It is important to know the ripening season, yield, berry size, freezing quality and dessert quality of suggested cultivars in order to select cultivars according to personal needs (Table 1). In addition, selecting disease resistant cultivars will help growers reduce the risks of damage from plant diseases (Table 2). Refer to Table 2 for the disease resistance of the suggested strawberry cultivars. Home strawberry growers are encouraged to check the references listed or talk with Extension Educators or local commercial strawberry growers for additional information about strawberry cultivars.

Table 2. Disease Resistance of Suggested Strawberry Cultivars.
Cultivar Leaf Spot Leaf Scorch Red Stele Verticillium Wilt Powdery Mildew
Allstar R I R R-T T
Annapolis S S R I S
Cabot R I R U U
Clancy R S R U U
Earliglow R R R R S to I
Eros I I R S U
Evangeline R R S U R
Guardian S to I R R R S
Jewel R R S S R
Kent S I S S S
L’Amour R I U U U
Lateglow R R R VR S
Lester U R R S R
Ovation T I U U U
Sparkle U U R S S
Surecrop I to R I R VR U
Winnona R R R T U
Everbearing (Day-Neutral)
Everest U U R S R
Seascape S U S U U
Tribute T T R R R
Tristar T T R T to R R
S = susceptible, VS = very susceptible, I = intermediate reaction, R = resistant (the disease does not occur on that cultivar or only to a very small degree), VR = very resistant, T = tolerant (the disease is clearly evident, but with little or no apparent detrimental effect on plant or yield), U = unknown.
*Cultivars are only resistant to specific races of the red stele fungus. If races for which resistance genes are not available are present in the planting or are introduced into the planting, red stele can develop on “resistant” cultivars.

Planting Site Requirements for Strawberry Plants

Strawberry plants require full sun for the maximum yield and the best quality. They will grow and produce crops in several different types of soil. However, best results are obtained when the plants are grown in loose, fertile soils containing large quantities of organic matter. The soil should be slightly acidic, having a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. If the extent of soil acidity or fertility is unknown, it is suggested that the soil be sampled and tested. Arrangements for soil testing can be made through your county Extension office. Request special tests for organic matter and boron. Lime and fertilizers should be applied to soils according to soil test results.

The strawberry plant is sensitive to excessive soil moisture. Strawberries should be planted in raised beds or on ridges if drainage is a problem. Also, avoid planting strawberry plants in areas where potatoes, tomatoes or sod were grown recently. Insect and disease problems may result in serious plant damage in such areas.

Cultural Problems for Growing Strawberry Plants

Important cultural practices for growing strawberries include planting techniques and spacing, weed control, proper fertilizer, blossom removal, irrigation, renovation of strawberries after harvest, insect and disease control, and mulch for protection from cold temperatures and diseases.

Figure 3. Diagram of a strawberry plant.

Planting and Spacing

Early spring is the best time to plant strawberry plants as long as soil is not too wet. Fall planting is not recommended because plants can be injured by soil heaving (alternate freezing and thawing). Strawberry plants have roots, a crown and leaves (Figure 3). The crown is a short stem between the roots and leaves.

When planting, make sure to cover the roots and only half of the crown with soil. Make a trench deep enough to set the roots vertically. Do not bend roots horizontally.

June-bearing plants are spaced 12 to 24 inches apart. On close-spaced plants, runners are controlled by removing unwanted runners during the first season. In August, rows should be 18 to 24 inches wide with plants 6 to 8 inches apart in the row. Generally rows are 36 to 40 inches apart. A circular terrace can be used if one has limited space (Figure 4).

For day-neutral strawberries, plants are set 8 to 12 inches apart in the row with 30 to 36 inches between rows. Remove runners throughout the first season and remove flowers for the first 6 weeks after planting. Mulch the planting with 3 to 4 inches of straw or wood chips to conserve moisture.

Weed Control

Mechanical cultivation, mulching and certain herbicides are suited to maintain essentially weed-free planting. Mechanical cultivation and mulches are recommended.

Figure 4. Strawberries in a circular terrace.

Lime and Fertilizers

Soil testing every two to three years is highly recommended for the best yield and quality. Apply nutrients and lime (if needed) prior to planting according to soil test results. Apply 1 ounce (10 oz. 10-10-10) of actual nitrogen broadcast per 100 square feet of plant or 0.5 ounce (5 oz. 10-10-10) band 4 to 6 inches away from the plants seven to 10 days after planting. Apply 1 to 1.5 ounces actual nitrogen broadcast in mid-June if rainfall has been excessive and again in mid-August. In the fruiting years, apply 1 to 1.5 ounces actual nitrogen broadcast after harvest and again in mid-August.

Blossom Removal

Remove the flower stalks of June-bearing strawberry plants as they appear throughout the first growing season. More production can be expected if the plants are allowed to attain large size before fruiting. Remove the blossoms of day-neutral types of plants as they appear until about the middle of June (first year only). Then allow flowers to set fruit for harvest during the remainder of the season (August through October).


Additional watering is needed during dry seasons. Plants require 1 inch to 1.5 inches of water per week from mid-June to mid-August. Take care in watering so that the soil does not remain soggy for any prolonged period.

Renovation of Strawberries After Harvest
Figure 5. Strawberry patch right after renovation.

Strawberry plants can be fruited more than one year but probably not for more than three harvest seasons, depending on the vigor and number of plants. June-bearing strawberries should be renovated every year right after harvest if one desires excellent fruit production for more than one year.

First control weeds by mechanical means or labeled herbicides. Remove all old leaves with a mower or a sickle. Make sure to set the mower as high as the blade will go to avoid injuring plant crowns. Narrow the rows to a width of about 12 inches by cultivating between them with a rotary tiller. Thin the plants within each row, leaving 4 to 6 inches between plants. Topdress beds with 0.5 to 1 inch of soil. Broadcast 2.5 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting. Apply 1 inch of water each week to promote growth if it does not rain. The strawberry patch may look very depressing right after renovation (Figure 5). However, strawberry plants do recover beautifully (Figure 6) and will be much more productive.

Insect and Disease Control
Figure 6. Strawberry patch one week after renovation.

Many problems due to insects and diseases in the home garden can be avoided by selecting sites where sod, tomatoes or potatoes have not been recently grown planting disease-free and disease-resistant planting stock and using good cultural practices. For additional information on insect and disease management, refer to the OSU Extension Bulletin 780, Controlling Disease and Insects in Home Fruit Plantings.

Winter Mulching

In addition to value for weed control, mulching is necessary to provide winter protection for the plants. Apply straw that is free of weed seeds 2 to 3 inches deep over the plants after they have been subjected to several sharp freezes in the low 30s or high 20s in fall. This is generally between November 15 and 30, but no later than December 15.

Frost Protection

Strawberry flower buds are very susceptible to spring frosts. Mulches used for winter protection should be pulled from plants in early spring, before there is much leaf yellowing. The mulch should be left in the alleyways and can be used to cover blossom in the spring when frost is predicted, especially with early cultivars, such as Earliglow. Frost protection could be the difference between a good crop and no crop.

Home gardeners are encouraged to purchase a copy of the OSU Extension Bulletin 940, Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide and Bulletin 780, Controlling Disease and Insects in Home Fruit Plantings from their county Extension office for additional information on fruit production in home plantings.

Best Trees for Ohio Landscaping

Red Oak Tree

The sturdy and heavy Red Oak wood has a reddish-orange color that adds vibrant color to the landscape and is an excellent source of shade.

Japanese Tree Lilac

The Japanese Tree Lilac is perfect for those who are looking for an exceptional accent plant with beautiful and fragrant spring blooms. A big part of the popularity of this tree is that it is low-maintenance and resistant to diseases. Also, it prefers moist, well-drained soil, thrives in direct sunlight and requires very little pruning. Among the most favorite selections of the tree are Summer Snow and Ivory Silk.

Witch Hazel Tree

This tree is a remarkable option for broad and open areas in your landscape. The tree favors partial shade or direct sunlight and soil that is moist and well-drained. Its orange and yellow foliage creates a spectacular display during the fall months. Even when there is snow on the ground, the Witch Hazel tree will flower. The spicy fragrance and twisting branches of the tree are particularly unique and form a part of its grand appeal.

Crabapple Tree

Easy to grow and stunningly beautiful, crab apple trees produce incredible flower shows during the spring. It is necessary for these trees to be planted in well-drained loamy soil because fruit trees will not flourish in wet soils. Crabapple trees require good air circulation and full sun exposure to ensure the leaves stay dry. It is essential to keep these leaves dry because wet leaves on fruit trees tend to cause diseases. When the apples fall, disease resistant varieties will not create a mess.

American Hornbeam Tree

American Hornbeam trees are a fantastic option for naturalized or woody landscapes. This magnificent tree thrives in shade or partial sunlight and favors soil that is wet and well drained. The American Hornbeam is native to the northeast and produces outstanding red and yellow foliage during the months of fall.

Pagoda Dogwood Tree

The Pagoda Dogwood tree is a well sought after the native of the Midwest and hails, more specifically, from the state of Minnesota. This tree favors full sun exposure or partial shade and thrives well in these conditions. The foliage of this tree is a beautiful purple that shows out during the fall. It produces a pleasing aroma and creamy white blossoms during the spring. The Pagoda Dogwood tree can be significantly affected by city pollution, and as such, your Pagoda Dogwood should not be planted near to the roadside. Argentina and Venus are popular types of the Pagoda Dogwood tree, and its unique horizontal branching is one of its most remarkable features.

Japanese Maple Tree

This spectacular tree produces beautiful spring and fall colors. During the fall, its textured foliage changes to a hue that ranges from deep red to purple. White and pink blooms show up in the spring and last into the months of summer. To maintain its form, it requires pruning, or it will reduce into a shrub. It favors minimal sunlight and light shade and thrives best in average, well-drained soil. While this tree is typically hardy in Ohio, it is best to check with a local nursery to determine the variety that will thrive best in your region.

Asimina Triloba (Pawpaw)

This deciduous, conical tree grows between 12 and 20 feet tall. It has tropical-looking leaves that turn yellow in autumn and become as big as 12 inches. Dark-brown, velvety flower buds produce upside-down, maroon flowers as big as 2 inches across that bud for approximately six weeks early in the springtime. The Asimina Triloba produces the largest native edible fruit in America, and its flavor is similar to both banana and mango. Once established, this tree can tolerate full sun exposure, and young trees favor filtered sun.

Stewartia Pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia)

This deciduous, slow-growing tree is shaped like a pyramid and extends between 20 and 30 feet in height and 8 and 25 feet in width. It can be single trunk or multi-stem, prefers partial shade, favors well-drained soil and has no tolerance for drought. In July, its cup-shaped, white flowers emerge, and its fall foliage has incredible shades of burgundy and reddish-orange. It reddish-brown bark provides interest and fantastic winter color. It can be used near the patio or as a specimen plant in the yard.

Watch the video: Native Americans of the Ohio Valley