Meet the Horticulture Extension Team

Mark ArenaMark Arena

Area Extension Agent - Specialty Crops Horticulture


Anderson County Extension Office

313 South Towers Street

Anderson, SC 29624

(864) 226-1581 ext. 112

marena@clemson.edu

Mark is the Statewide Pecan Specialist and Arboriculture Advisor to the South Carolina Botanical Garden. His responsibilities include the Specialty Crops Initiative , which provides technical support and generates momentum within the “buy local” market for South Carolina Christmas tree producers. Mark earned a B.S. in Plant Science from Rutgers University’s Cook College, and a M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Tennessee. His professional arboriculture credentials include:  International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist (SO-5110A), Qualified International Society of Arboriculture Certified Tree Risk Assessor and American Society of Consulting Arborists Registered Consulting Arborist #478.


Vicky Bertagnolli

Vicky Bertagnolli

Area Extension Agent - Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Aiken County Extension Office

1555 Richland Ave. East, Suite 500

Aiken, SC  29801

(803) 649-6297 or (803) 359-8515

vbertag@clemson.edu

Vicky is the Consumer Horticulture Agent, Master Gardener Coordinator, and local ‘bug geek’ in Aiken and Lexington Counties. Vicky's areas of expertise are Imported Fire Ants and Management, Insect Identification, and Urban Pest Management using Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Vicky conducts two Master Gardener Training Courses in Aiken and Lexington Counties, is the Pesticide Training Coordinator in Aiken County, and makes regular appearances on SCETV's Making it Grow. For horticultural related information from Vicky, check out www.facebook.com/ClemsonMidlandsHort


James H. Blake, Ed.D.James H. Blake, Ed.D.

Statewide Coordinator of the SC Master Gardener and SC Master Naturalist Programs

Pickens County Extension Office

222 West Main Street

P.O. Box 995

Pickens, SC 29671

(864) 878-1394 ext. 115
jblake@clemson.edu

James is the State Coordinator for the South Carolina Master Gardener Program and State Coordinator for the South Carolina Master Naturalist Program. He also serves as County Coordinator for the Pickens County Extension Office and Coordinator of the Upstate Master Naturalist Program. James volunteers as Council Commissioner for the Blue Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts of America which serves eight counties in upstate South Carolina.


J.C. Chong, Ph.D.J.C. Chong, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist – Entomology

Pee Dee Research and Education Center (PDREC)

2200 Pocket Road

Florence, SC 29506

(843) 409-0544

juanghc@clemson.edu

J.C. joined Clemson University after earning his M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Georgia. While J.C.’s interest in insects developed as a child, today he still likes to identify, discuss and discover new methods of controlling troublesome insects and mites. His dual research and extension responsibilities include developing management programs for arthropod pests such as scale insects, borers, scarab beetles/white grubs and billbugs; all insects that cause damage to ornamental plants and turfgrasses. J.C.’s research program strives to better understand the biodiversity, ecology and management of pest insects and mites that damage plants allowing Extension Agents to make effective and economical recommendations to clients and provide relevant industry specific educational programming.



Amy L. DabbsAmy L. Dabbs

Area Extension Agent – Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties

Charleston County Extension Office

259 Meeting Street

Charleston, South Carolina  29401

(843) 722-5940 ext. 122

adabbs@clemson.edu

Amy is the Clemson Extension Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. She has a Masters Degree in Horticulture from Clemson University specializing in horticulture therapy. Amy spent ten years at the South Carolina Botanical Garden as a registered horticultural therapist where she coordinated the after school children's gardening program, Sprouting Wings. As an Area Horticulture Agent working with a large urban audience in the Lowcountry, Amy enjoys teaching the public about native plants, composting, pollinator gardening, family friendly gardening, edibles and perennials. Amy recently partnered with the College of Charleston’s Farm to School Initiative to provide online training and technical support to area educators interested in starting and improving school gardens. She is also a regular contributor to the Post & Courier Newspaper, appears regularly on the SCETV gardening show “Making It Grow” and answers gardening questions live on Your Day Radio.


Millie DavenportMillie Davenport

Area Extension Agent – Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Home & Garden Information Center

Clemson, South Carolina

(864) 656-9999

mdavenp@clemson.edu

Millie is the Regional Lead Agent for Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties where she works as a Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator.  Her responsibilities include managing the Home and Garden Information Center, where she has written many factsheets and voiced countless educational videos.  She is co-creator of the Sustainable Small Farms and Backyard Program, is a panelist on SCETV’s Making It Grow! as well as a regular on the Your Day Radio call in gardening program.  Millie writes a gardening column for Carolina Gardener Magazine. Millie earned a B.S. degree in Horticulture from Clemson University and a M.S. degree in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Tennessee.  She spent eight years as a Product Manager at Park Seed Wholesale prior to joining Clemson as an Extension Agent in 2006.


Timothy S. Davis, Ph.D.Timothy S. Davis, Ph.D.

County Extension Agent – Horticulture and Entomology

Richland County Extension Office

P.O. Box 102406

Columbia, SC  29224-2406

(803) 865-1216 

tdvs@clemson.edu

Tim has a Ph.D. in Entomology from Clemson University and is the co-host of Clemson University's Your Day Radio "Got Bugs" program about insects. His Extension programming includes commercial horticulture, entomology, and integrated pest management (IPM) programs.



George M. DickertGeorge M. Dickert

County Extension Agent – Horticulture and Natural Resources and Master Gardener Coordinator

Spartanburg County Extension Office

612 Chesnee Highway

Spartanburg, SC  29303

(864) 596-2993 ext. 117

gdicker@clemson.edu

Originally a native of southwest Virginia, George holds a B.S. in Horticulture and a M.S. in Education from Virginia Tech University. George serves as the Horticulture Extension Agent, Master Gardener Coordinator and Natural Resources Extension agent for Spartanburg County where he provides educational programs for both consumer and commercial horticulture audiences. His popular programs include  Discover Your Watershed, Tyger River Sweeps, Certified Tree Steward Program, and Shiitake Mushroom Workshops. George is a prolific writer contributing to Carolina Gardener magazine, Clemson University Home and Garden Information Center and Clemson Extension publications such as “Starting a Community Garden.” He often serves as a horticulture expert for local television (WSPA-TV) as well as regional and national newspapers. He appears on SCETV’s Making it Grow! and answers questions on air for Your Day Radio’s call in gardening program. George enjoys sharing with other gardeners and learning about the ecology of the Carolinas.



Gary Forrester
 Gary Forrester

Area Extension Agent – Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Georgetown and Horry Counties

Horry County Extension Office

1949 Industrial Park Road

Conway, SC  29526

(843) 365-6715 ext. 113

gfrrstr@clemson.edu

Gary is the Area Horticulture Agent for Horry and Georgetown Counties and Master Gardener Coordinator for Horry County. He specialized in turfgrass management, ornamental plant management, urban tree care, and small-scale vegetable production.


Greg HendersonGreg Henderson

Extension Agent – Commercial Horticulture and Peach Production

Edgefield County Extension Office

304 Gray Street

Edgefield, SC 29824

(803) 637-3161 ext. 113 

ghndrsn@clemson.edu



Greg is the Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent in Edgefield County responsible for developing and implementing educational programs that support commercial peach production in the coastal plain of South Carolina. He also conducts and supports fruit research programs that help producers implement new technologies in Integrated Case Management (ICM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).


James F. HodgesJames F. Hodges

Area Extension Agent – Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick Counties

Greenwood County Extension Office

105 North University Street

Greenwood, SC 29648
(864) 223-3264 ext. 116

jmhodge@clemson.edu


James is a Senior Horticulture Extension Agent providing multiple educational programs in his primary county of Greenwood. In addition, James provides horticulture support in Abbeville, McCormick and Laurens counties. His expertise includes arboriculture, forest genetics, home vegetable production, and landscape and turf management. Additionally he supports commercial turf, ornamental producers and pesticide applicators with training and licensing recertification. James serves as coordinator and instructor for local Master Gardener training courses, neighborhood vegetable gardens and the Greenwood County Farmers Market. He writes a weekly horticulture article for Greenwood’s newspaper, the Index-Journal.


Steve Jeffers, Ph.D.Steve Jeffers, Ph.D.

Professor of Plant Pathology and Extension Specialist – Diseases of Ornamental Plants

Clemson University - Main Campus

School of Agriculture, Forest, and Environmental Sciences

214 Biosystems Research Complex

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 656-7157
sjffrs@clemson.edu

As part of his Extension responsibilities Steve provides training and management recommendations for diseases of ornamental crops in nurseries, greenhouses, and landscapes, and diseases of trees in urban and natural ecosystems. His research focuses primarily on diseases caused by species of Phytophthora and rust fungi; with particular interests in the biology and ecology of Phytophthora spp., pathogen detection, identifying inoculum sources, and integrated disease management. Steve collaborates with the Department of Plant Industry, USDA APHIS, and the Forest Service to keep Phytophthora ramorum out of the Southeastern US, and with The American Chestnut Foundation to screen hybrid chestnut seedlings for resistance to Phytophthora cinnamomi. He also teaches Principles of Plant Pathology to both undergraduate and graduate students.


Jackie Jordan

Area Extension Agent – Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Fairfield, Kershaw, and Richland Counties

Richland County Extension Office

P.O. Box 102406

Columbia, SC  29224-2406

(803) 397-9894

jkopack@clemson.edu

Jackie is the Area Consumer Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for Richland, Kershaw and Fairfield counties. In addition, she is the Commercial Horticulture Agent working primarily on specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, nursery crops and turfgrass in Kershaw and Fairfield counties. Jackie trains community garden leaders in the City of Columbia and is helping to establish over 20 new community gardens in Richland County. She has received funding to create butterfly gardens and Monarch butterfly way stations at two Kershaw County schools and is also working with other Extension Agents to create a “Carolina Yard” demonstration garden at the Cottage at the Sandhills Research and Education Center. Jackie earned a B.S. in Turfgrass Science from Penn State University and worked for over ten years in the nursery trade as a greenhouse manager in the Columbia area.


Anthony (Tony) Keinath, Ph.D.Anthony (Tony) Keinath, Ph.D.

Extension Specialist and Professor of Plant Pathology – Vegetable Pathology

Coastal Research and Education Center (CREC)

2700 Savannah Highway

Charleston, SC 29414

(843) 402-5390

tknth@clemson.edu

Tony is a professor in Clemson University's School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences; he is located at the Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, South Carolina. His appointment is 20% extension and 80% research. His programs focus on sustainable disease management for commercial vegetable production. His extension activities include grower, agent, and Master Gardener education, management recommendations, plant disease diagnosis and on-farm trials. His research focuses on the management, ecology, and epidemiology of fungi, Oomycetes, and bacteria that cause leaf, stem, and root diseases of cucurbits, leafy brassicas, and other vegetables.


Amanda McNultyAmanda McNulty

Horticulture Agent and Producer-Host of Making It Grow!

Sumter County Extension Office

115 North Harvin Street, 5th Floor

Sumter, SC  29150

(803) 837-2446

amcnult@clemson.edu

Amanda is the Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for Sumter County. She coordinates horticulture activities for Master Gardeners at the Swan Lake Garden Center and has responsibilities with Sumter County Keep America Beautiful. Amanda is a regular contributor to SC DNR's Wildlife magazine, and the State newspaper. She also writes and records “hort-shorts” for SCETV radio. As the co-producer and on-air host of SCETV’s Making It Grow!, Amanda is a much sought after public speaker across the state of South Carolina.


Tony MeltonTony Melton

Area Extension Agent – Commercial Fruit & Vegetable Crops

Florence County Extension Office  

2685 South Irby Street, Suite K

Florence, SC  29505

(843) 661-4800

amelton@clemson.edu

Tony is an Area Commercial Horticulture Agent for 14 counties in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. He works in all areas of horticulture, but focuses on supporting the needs of the vibrant commercial vegetable industry of the area. Tony has been writing a garden column for the Florence Morning News for 20 years and is one of the original guest panelists for Making It Grow! where he continues to make regular appearances.


Gilbert Miller, Ph.D.Gilbert Miller, Ph.D.

Area Extension Specialist – Vegetable Crops

Edisto Research and Education Center (EREC)

64 Research Road

Blackville, SC 29817

(803) 284-3343 ext. 225

gmllr@clemson.edu

Gilbert spent twenty-two years as a County Extension Agent in Bamberg County, SC, before becoming an Area Vegetable Specialist at the Edisto Research and Education Center. His research and extension activities focus on sensor-based irrigation in plasticulture crops, production techniques and variety evaluation for cucurbit crops. Gilbert is also host of the highly anticipated annual Watermelon Field Day at EREC.


Sara G. PachotaSara G. Pachota

County Extension Agent – Consumer Horticulture

Charleston County Extension Office  

259 Meeting Street

Charleston, SC  29401

(843) 793-7223

gpachot@clemson.edu

Sara’s background is in landscape architecture and environmental studies. She enjoys working with the interface that exists between the built and natural environment. Through the principles of the Carolina Yards program, she helps give South Carolinians the tools they need to garden with a lower environmental footprint becoming stewards of our land and water resources. Sara also provides program updates and assists Master Gardener Coordinators and Associations throughout the state.


Bob Polomski, Ph.D.Bob Polomski, Ph.D.

Extension Specialist and Professor – Horticulture and Urban Tree Care

Clemson University - Main Campus

School of Agriculture, Forest, and Environmental Sciences

259 Poole Ag Center

P.O. Box 340310

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634-0310

(864) 656-2604

bplmsk@clemson.edu

Bob is an award-winning horticulturist who has tirelessly educated both commercial and consumer audiences through a variety of mass media including radio, TV, and the internet. A prolific writer whose articles have been published in several peer reviewed scientific journals. Bob has also contributed to both printed and e-magazines for the horticulture industry, including a 13 year stint as the "Questions & Answers" columnist for Horticulture magazine. Bob’s writing career has also included co-authorship of two nationally distributed gardening books. Additionally, he served as technical editor for a dozen gardening books and has published five regional gardening books for Cool Springs Press. As a professor in the Agriculture, Forest and Environmental Sciences department Bob teaches horticulture courses such as “Landscape Plants”, “Urban Tree Care”, and “Hort Discovery” (Professional Landcare Network). Currently, Bob is combining his passion for horticulture and arboriculture by evaluating and promoting noteworthy plants for private and commercial landscapes as well as plants for streetscaping. Recent funding will allow him to work with a team to create "open tree maps" that will connect community residents with trees in urban forests.


Andy RollinsAndy Rollins

Area Extension Agent – Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Cherokee, Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg, and York Counties

Spartanburg County Extension Office
612 Chesnee Highway

Spartanburg, SC  29303

(864) 596-2993 ext. 115
prollin@clemson.edu

Andy holds both a B.S. and M.S. from Clemson University. Andy brings new technologies and management recommendations to commercial fruit and vegetable growers in Upstate South Carolina. He works closely with fruit producers where he demonstrates best production practices through on-farm trials. Andy frequently provides updates to local, state and regional media outlets about issues relating to fruit production.


Laura Lee RoseLaura Lee Rose

Area Extension Agent – Horticulture and Master Gardener

Beaufort and Colleton Counties

Beaufort County Extension Office  

P.O. Box 189

Beaufort, SC  29901

(864) 255-6060

lrose@clemson.edu

Laura Lee works with professional and consumer horticulture clients, and trains and coordinates the Master Gardener programs in Beaufort and Colleton Counties. She also holds seasonal gardening classes and workshops and writes regular columns for Beaufort County newspapers. She appears on local television and Making it Grow!.


Grady SampsonGrady Sampson

Area Extension Agent – Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Dillon and Marlboro Counties

Dillon County Extension Office

200 South 5th Avenue
Dillon, SC 29536
(843) 774-8218
gsampso@clemson.edu

Grady is the Area Horticulture Agent working primarily with small farms and fruit and vegetable producers in Dillon and Marlboro Counties. His work with integrated pest management (IPM) training programs and demonstration plots has been instrumental in helping small growers in his region to reduce their pesticide use.


Guido Schnabel, Ph.D.Guido Schnabel, Ph.D.

Extension Plant Pathologist and Professor – Diseases of Fruit Crops

Clemson University - Main Campus

School of Agriculture, Forest, and Environmental Sciences

220 Biosystems Research Complex
Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 643-7131
schnabe@clemson.edu

Guido is a plant pathologist at Clemson University with over 20 years of experience working with pathogens of fruit crops. He has an active research and extension program focused on management of diseases of both small fruits and stone fruits as well as molecular mechanisms of fungicide resistance in various plant pathogens. He is probably best known for his development of the root collar excavation system for the control of Armillaria root rot on peach replant sites and his efforts to detect and manage fungicide resistance in important pathogens of small fruits and stone fruits.


Powell Smith, Ph.D.Powell Smith, Ph.D.

Extension Specialist – Small Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Lexington County Extension Office

605 West Main Street, Suite 109

Lexington, SC 29072

(803) 603-2618

(803) 359-8515 ext. 122

jpsmith@clemson.edu

Powell is a lifelong vegetable gardener and environmental enthusiast. He is interested in agroecology, and enjoys working to improve the sustainability of agricultural operations by working with growers, consultants, and other Extension agents. He has been active in Master Gardener teaching and programs for twenty years. He says of his role as Extension Horticulture Team Leader, "mentoring is a new responsibility that I taken on and I'm working hard to impart my love of vegetables and public service to others." His primary research and extension programs include sustainable production and pest management for commercial small fruit and vegetable growers.


Zack SnipesZack Snipes

Area Extension Agent – Small Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Beaufort and Charleston Counties

Charleston County Extension Office

259 Meeting Street

Charleston, SC 29401

(843) 722-5940 ext. 123

zbsnipe@clemson.edu

Zack is a Horticulture Extension Agent who focuses on commercial vegetable and small fruit production in the Lowcountry. His program involves providing technical assistance to growers with a strong emphasis on integrated pest management (IPM). Additionally, Zack has responsibilities pertaining to Private Pesticide Applicator Trainings and marketing programs for growers.


S. Cory TannerS. Cory Tanner

Area Extension Agent – Commercial Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens Counties

Greenville County Extension Office  

301 University Ridge, Suite 4300

Greenville, SC  29601

(864) 232-4431 ext. 122

shannt@clemson.edu

Cory is an area horticulture agent for Greenville, Pickens, Oconee and Anderson Counties and Master Gardener coordinator for Greenville County. A life-long gardener, he earned his B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from Clemson University and is a Certified Nursery Professional with the SC Nursery and Landscape Association. His responsibilities include assisting professional horticulturists with their production and maintenance needs by providing educational programs and consultation services, managing the Master Gardener volunteer training program, and writing horticultural columns and fact sheets. He is the garden columnist for SC Living Magazine and frequently appears as a panelist on Clemson University's Your Day Radio call-in gardening show, and SCETV's award-winning gardening program, Making it Grow!


Paul S. ThompsonPaul S. Thompson

Area Extension Agent – Horticulture and Master Gardener Coordinator

Chester, Lancaster, and York Counties

York County Extension Office

120 North Congress Street

York, SC 29745

(803) 684-9919 ext. 112

(803) 493-3954


pthmpsn@clemson.edu

Paul earner his B.S. and M.Ag. from Clemson University and is a Certified Nursery Professional with the SC Nursery and Landscape Association. He is the Master Gardener Coordinator for York, Chester and Lancaster Counties and is a frequent instructor for the SC Master Gardener online course. In addition to consumer horticulture activities, he offers commercial landscape horticulture and pesticide applicator training. His interests in crape myrtle varieties and pruning led him to help develop Clemson's crape myrtle varieties website at www.clemson.edu/crapemyrtle. Paul co-hosts The Gardener’s Bench on WRHI Newstalk 1340 AM on Saturday mornings, writes a monthly garden column for YC Magazine, a quarterly column for South Carolina Farmer magazine, and is an occasional guest on SCETV’s Making it Grow!


Ellen Vincent, Ph.D.Ellen Vincent, Ph.D.

Extension Specialist – Environmental Landscapes

Clemson University - Main Campus

School of Agriculture, Forest, and Environmental Sciences

173 Poole Ag Center

P.O. Box 340310

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634-0310

(864) 656-1342

ellenav@clemson.edu

Ellen teaches horticulture at Clemson University including “Introduction to Horticulture”, Sustainable Landscape Garden Design” and “Landscapes + Health” She contributes regularly to green industry magazines and is a frequent presenter at green industry conferences. Ellen is a certified arborist and conducts research on nature and health and sustainable urban landscapes. She is a member of the commercial ornamental horticulture team and contributes to the professional plant school.


Sarah White, Ph.D.Sarah White, Ph.D.

Extension Specialist and Horticulture Professor – Nursery Production and Water Quality

Clemson University - Main Campus

School of Agriculture, Forest, and Environmental Sciences

167 Poole Ag Center

P.O. Box 340310

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634-0310

(864) 656-7433

swhite4@clemson.edu

Sarah is a professor at Clemson University where her responsibilities are primarily research and extension. Sarah’s programs are structured to help ornamental nursery crop producers manage resources (water and chemical) efficiently to maximize economic productivity while protecting natural resources.


Joey Williamson, Ph.D.Joey Williamson, Ph.D.

Extension Agent – Consumer Horticulture

Home & Garden Information Center

Clemson, SC

(888) 656-9988

jwwill@clemson.edu

With statewide responsibilities at the Clemson Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC), Joey uses his  expertise in residential horticulture, plant diseases, plant insect pests, soil fertility, organics and residential pesticides to educate the public. He primarily focuses on writing fact sheets and timely topics, as well as taking photographs for the HGIC website at www.clemson.edu/hgic. Additionally, he answers home gardening calls and emails from SC residents, and regularly updates control measures for residential plant diseases, insect pests, and weeds in all HGIC fact sheets.