What is UNHCE and How It Works with the Landscape Industry

April 24, 2021

UNH Extension (also known as Cooperative Extension) and the NHLA have a long history of working together. We realize that some members of NHLA may not know what Extension is or what we do, so we would like the opportunity to introduce ourselves.
In 1914, Congress created the Extension system partnering the USDA with land-grant universities (including UNH) to apply research and provide education in agriculture. Since that time, Extension in New Hampshire has helped the University know what new understandings were needed by NH’s farmers and industries and has helped NH’s farmers and industries do what they do more profitably and sustainably through science-based education and consultation.

One of UNH Extension’s Program Teams is the Food and Agriculture Team. This team is further broken into Area of Expertise groups, one of which is your Landscape and Greenhouse team. This team works to bring education and programming to the Green Industry in NH, as well as to perform research immediately useful to green businesses in our state. We are happy to meet directly with growers and landscape providers to consult at no charge. We have also been working in the realm of workforce development, showing the youth of NH the many opportunities our industries present and working with technical and agricultural high schools to help advance their horticulture and landscaping programs.

Some of the ways in which you may have interacted with us are: classes for pesticide or Certified Landscape Professional recertification credit, Twilight Meetings, the Spring Landscapers Conference and Joint Winter Meeting, presentations on wildflowers or nursery research, consultation with your business, and diagnosis of plant problems.

We’d like to take a moment to introduce (or re-introduce) the members of this team.

A State Specialist has a PhD and focuses on research or diagnosis and programming in particular areas. Our State Specialists are:
Dr. Muhammad Shahid is our new State Specialist in Greenhouse and Nursery production. He is based in Durham and has begun a research program to solve problems facing NH growers. He can be reached at Muhammad.Shahid@unh.edu.

Dr. Cheryl Smith is our veteran Plant Health State Specialist, and in addition to teaching and programming, she runs the Plant Diagnostic Lab where you can send your plant samples for accurate diagnosis of disease and disorder. She can be reached at Cheryl.Smith@unh.edu.

Dr. Cathy Neal is our State Specialist in Nursery and Landscape Horticulture (Emeritus). Although Dr. Neal has retired from this position, she still lends her expertise to the team on certain topics.

A Field Specialist is located in a county and, in addition to general duties for agricultural providers in the county, has state-wide duties in his or her area of expertise. Our Field Specialists are:

Jonathan Ebba is the Field Specialist in Strafford County, providing generalist work there while providing assistance statewide in his expertise of greenhouses, ornamentals, garden centers, and hydroponics. He can be reached at Jonathan.Ebba@unh.edu.

Emma Erler is the new Field Specialist in Hillsborough County, and her expertise for statewide application is in Landscape Horticulture. While many already know Emma Erler as a fixture of UNH Extension’s home garden outreach and education, we are delighted to have her in her new role where she will provide research-based programming and technical assistance to Green-Industry businesses throughout the State. Emma writes, “I am very excited to have the opportunity to work closely with NHLA to provide programming and resources for landscapers in NH. I got my horticultural start working for a NH landscape company and I’m thrilled to now be in a role where I can help the industry be successful.” She can be reached at Emma.Erler@unh.edu.

The UNH Extension Landscape and Greenhouse team has some new faces on it, and we are all excited to be working with each other and with you, the professionals of our state, to continue to advance understanding and application of science and technology for the betterment of our industries and of New Hampshire. We encourage you to sign up for our Landscape and Greenhouse Horticulture News to be informed of upcoming events, workshops, and more. Sign up at unhoutreach.tfaforms.net/217780.

We wish you a successful season and look forward to working with you all.
The UNH Extension Landscape and Greenhouse Team

by Jonathan Ebba

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