Somerset County

Welcome to the University of Maryland Extension (UME) - Somerset County, which is part of a statewide educational organization funded by federal, state, and local governments. Our mission is to support Maryland's agricultural industry; protect its valuable natural resources; enhance the well-being of families and individuals, both young and old; and foster the development of strong, stable communities.

The UME network of local or regional offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes. UME has field offices in all twenty-three Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

This mission is accomplished by faculty and staff within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Maryland, College Park through the discovery, integration, dissemination, and application of research based knowledge in the agricultural, human, and life sciences.

The Somerset County UME faculty and staff provide a broad range of outreach through workshops, seminars, classes, clinics, newsletters, consultations, and media efforts related to the following topics:   

  • 4-H and Youth

  • Agriculture

  • Food and Nutrition

  • Home Gardening

  • Health & Wellness

  • Money

Parthenocissus quinquefolia 

Plant of the Week... also known as Virginia creeper, a native deciduous woody vine that can be called a weed or a beautiful native vine. The vine prefers to grow in full sun to partial shade and rich moist but well drained soils, but it is also tolerant of many different soil conditions. Full sun will best support the brilliant fall color. Plants can grow 30-50 feet vigorously up almost anything as it needs no support, clinging to bark, wood, brick or stone with sucker disks or holdfasts which are located at the ends of each tendril. The sucker disks adhere to walls or bark of trees without the use of penetrating rootlets, so they do not damage brick or stone buildings or trees. If there is nothing nearby to climb up the Virginia creeper can spread out on the ground 5-10 feet wide creating a light groundcover. Each palmate leaf is made up of 5 leaflets with a toothed margin and a pointed tip. Each leaflet expands up to 6 inches long. The leaf emerges in early spring with green and purple coloring, turning a dull green in summer. When cool nights are followed by warm days, the leaves turn to crimson red or reddish purple, glowing among green plants that don’t change color in the autumn. In late spring, small greenish flowers grow in open branched clusters that mature in the autumn into bluish fruit about ¼ inch round. Both the flowers and the fruit are often covered by the foliage and are never noticed until the leave fall off in the autumn. Native birds feast on the berries in the fall and winter. These lovely native vines and be planted on slopes to control erosion, as a ground cover or as a climber on trellises, arbors, fences and trees. No serious disease or insect pests.

Ginny Rosenkranz