Unsolicited Seed Packets

We have received a number of questions regarding unsolicited seed packages (sometimes labeled as jewelry such as earrings) that have been received by WI citizens, and noted media stories that document it happening in many other states.  The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) just published a 2020 Unsolicited Seeds Packets.Similar packages have been received in other locations across the U.S.

If you receive a package of this type:

  1. Do not plant or throw away the seeds.
  2. If the seeds are in sealed packaging, do not open the sealed package. If possible, retain the original packaging. It may be useful as we investigate this issue.
  3. Please report the seeds to DATCP using this online form.

After filling out the online form, please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until DATCP or APHIS contacts you with further instructions.

All foreign seeds shipped to the United States should have a phytosanitary certificate which guarantees the seeds meet import requirements. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock. Invasive species and noxious weeds can displace native plants and increase costs of food production.

DATCP works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to prevent the introduction of invasive species and protect Wisconsin’s diverse agricultural industry.

For continued updates and information on this issue, please visit DATCP’s website.

Watch out for those Japanese Beetles!

Japanese Beetles are back!  Japanese beetles occur in every state east of the Mississippi River except Florida. The insect’s spread is apparently governed by temperature and precipitation. The beetle is adapted to a region where the mean summer soil temperature is between 64° and 82°F and winter soil temperatures are above 15°F. Also, beetles thrive in areas where precipitation is rather uniform throughout the year, averaging at least 10 inches during the summer. Japanese beetles do not feed on turf, but are an important pest of many other plants. They feed on foliage or flowers and are a major pest of over 350 species of plants, including fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, field and forage crops, and weeds. Norway and Japanese maple, birch, crabapple, rose, mountain ash to name a few of their favorite ornamentals. For more information, print the Japanese-Beetle publication.

MG Volunteer Hour Requirements Waived for 2020

Please note:  This year, the Master Gardener Volunteer Hours requirements are waived.  No volunteer hours are required to to maintain  your certification due to the COVID-19.  You can still record hours in the online system and they will become a part of your lifetime totals, but will not affect certification this year.  In addition, as a Master Gardener volunteer, we are under the UW-Madison and Extension expectation requirements. That being said, the Guidelines for staff and volunteer activities will be decided upon by Extension administration) and will be forwarded when it is becomes available.”  This is per Mike Maddox.

Please note you ARE REQUIRED to complete your educational hours to maintain your certification. Ten hours must be completed by October 1st, 2020 to be in compliance. (Note- Master Gardener interns, you would already have these hours based on attendance at your Level 1 classes)

WI Horticulture Friday Zoom Updates

Get the latest on updates from the State Association by joining the Zooms listed here.. When you enter the link in your browser, it will give you a list of Fridays when these are being hosted.  And you earn 1 Continuing Education Hour for listening in! Wisconsin Horticulture Update   Friday mornings at 9:30am Master Gardener […] Read More…

Testing Your Soil

Soil testing has been suspended and is expected to be available again sometime soon.  we will keep you up to date as we hear more availability for this as well.  We are getting calls at the office for this also. Testing Your Soil by MGV Ann Marie Ott   Before adding fertilizer to your garden shopping list, consider collecting a soil sample and sending it to the University of Wisconsin soil testing laboratory for analysis to determine your fertilizer needs.  As the University’s website indicates, many publications offer general recommendations for fertilization of lawns, plants […] Read More

Upcoming GCMGA Events

Due to concerns about COVID-19, all events have been cancelled. We will update the site as soon as we know if events can be held safely.

Plant Sale cancelled.

No Garden Walk will be held this year. Unfortunately, this event also needed to be cancelled, however the hope is to have it next year with the gardens that were planned for this year.

Our monthly programs are cancelled for the remainder of the season.  If that would change, we will notify you immediately. We have been contacting the speakers lined up and rescheduling them for next year…  More information will follow on this as well.

Continue to take calls and answer horticulture questions that may be presented. We are not permitted to ‘go to” a location to view a problem, but you can have them email a picture, give you details over the phone, etc. to help them with results.



The GCMGA are volunteers who aid the University of Wisconsin.


PLANT SALE has been cancelled due to concern about COVID-19. GARDEN WALK has been cancelled with hope is to have it in 2021 with the gardens that were planned for 2020.