Dr. Frank Hale at the 2012 Fruits of the Backyard Field Day
Dr. Frank Hale (right), University of Tennessee Entomology and Plant Pathology professor, identifies pests at the Institute of Agriculture’s 2012 Fruits of the Backyard Field Day. Visitors to the 2013 event are invited to bring soil and plant samples or pest specimens for identification and recommendations.


SPRING HILL, Tenn. – Visitors can learn useful tips for both lawn maintenance and gardening at the annual University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Fruits of the Backyard Field Day. This free event takes place on Tuesday, June 18, at the Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (MTREC). The event is ideal for homeowners who want to get the most out of their yards, whether that be creating a beautiful lawn or managing a small fruit orchard.
 
The highlight of the field day will be three hands-on informational sessions. Led by UT experts, topics will include bees and other pollinators, managing pests and diseases and growing your own peaches. These presentations will be followed by an open panel question and answer session. 
 
In addition to the presentations, visitors can also enjoy tours of the MTREC fruit orchards or check out a trade show featuring area merchants, equipment demonstrations, and exhibits from university departments offering free production information. Several UT experts will be on hand to offer free evaluations of plant diseases and pests. Visitors are invited to bring in specimens. Also, Debbie Joines, manager of UT Extension’s Soil, Plant and Pest Center will be on hand to provide free soil pH analyses. Those interested in this service should bring a sandwich bag full of the soil they wish to be tested. 
 
“The purpose of Fruits of the Backyard is to offer homeowners and even commercial producers an opportunity to learn about lawn and garden management strategies that are both effective and economical,” says Kevin Thompson, MTREC director.  “It’s especially important for the growing number of novice gardeners to have a plan of action in place so they can enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
 
Fruits of the Backyard gets started at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. The program ends at 12:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit the website, http://middletennessee.tennessee.edu or call 931-486-2129.
 
MTREC is located on Highway 31, just minutes south of Nashville.  Take exit 53 from I-65 and follow the signs to Columbia.  MTREC is on the east side of Hwy. 31.
 
The Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center is one of 10 research facilities operated by the UT Institute of Agriculture.  In addition to its agricultural research programs, the institute also provides instruction research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.
 
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Contacts:
 
Kevin Thompson, director, Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, 931-486-2129