Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Steve Cummings

Corn Across The County Is Hurting For Water

This spring’s weather has been rather enjoyable.  The warm temperatures have been great.  Of course, everything cannot be perfect, as we desperately need a rain. Now, we’re having that Easter cool snap after being spoiled by the ideal conditions. Hopefully, by the time you read this, we will have received the much-needed rain without severe weather.

Our farmers definitely need the rain.  A larger than usual corn crop has been planted and needs the water.  Yalobusha County farmers are also waiting on moisture to plant soybeans.  Pastures also need the water, and cotton planting is just around the corner.  The warm, dry conditions have given the farmers plenty of time for land preparation and now we need the rain to plant.

Next Thursday, April 12, a “Lunch & Learn” or “Quick Bites” will be held at the Multipurpose Building from noon until 1 p.m. The topic will be “Turf Management Basics for a Healthy Lawn” by MSU-ES Turf Grass Specialist, Dr. Wayne Wells.  So, if you want that beautiful lawn, bring a sack lunch and take advantage of this program.

Upcoming horse shows include a speed show on April 6  and the first judged show on April 14. As usual, these shows are free and open to the public.

The Yalobusha County Extension Office will be closed on Friday, April 6, as our office staff enjoys Good Friday.  However, the building will be open at 5 p.m. for the horse show.  The Yalobusha County Staff wishes everyone a very happy and safe Easter.

Managing Tough

Perennial Weeds

 Florida Betony, Virginia buttonweed, pennywort, Dallisgrass, and several other perennial broadleaf and grassy weeds have invaded many homeowners’ lawns and flowerbeds.  Without an understanding of the biology and growth habits of these weeds most homeowners have little success in controlling them once they have gotten a stronghold in their landscape.  

The key to managing such aggressive and invasive species is to be diligent in scouting for their initial encroachment and taking action before they become so widespread that moving may be the only option of escape. This includes being very careful when purchasing or swapping plant material such as sod or ornamentals to be sure it is free of these weeds.  In the lawn we still have effective chemicals that can applied to control most of these weeds but once they encroach into flowerbeds it often comes down to physically pulling them out by hand. For most of these weeds this is only a temporary fix as underground tubers, roots, etc. quickly sprout new shoots with even a thicker density than before.

Learn to identify such weeds and if you don’t recognize a new weed you discover in your landscape pull it up and have someone identify it for you.  Develop a strategy for controlling weeds in your landscape that includes both pre-emerge and post emerge herbicides, but most importantly, maintain a good sanitation program.  Extension publications # 1532 and #1322 will assist you in selecting herbicides to help control these weeds.  These along with several other lawn and landscape care publications can be downloaded from the extension website at www.MSUcares.com.

Flower Bed Planning

and Preparation

Plan flower beds carefully. Consider the mature heights of various plantings so you can see and enjoy each group. Color combinations are also important. Plant pleasing blends as well as suitable contrasts. Do not plant too close.  Take into consideration the ultimate width of each plant so that plants do not end up too crowded. Try new types and cultivars to add interest to your plantings.

 Prepare flowerbeds carefully.  Good drainage is necessary to have beautiful flowers. Work beds thoroughly and deeply. Incorporate organic matter, limestone, and fertilizer into flowerbeds.

 Remember to protect established roots and sprouts of perennials growing in flowerbeds, which will also be planted with annuals. Either work around perennials or lift them, work the bed, and reset them.

After the danger of frost has passed and the ground begins to warm, plant all tender flower plants like ageratum, begonia, coleus, geranium, Impatiens, marigold, petunia, periwinkle and zinnia. Tender warm season vines like moonflower, morning glory, scarlet runner bean, and hyacinth bean can be planted after the ground warms and all danger of frost has passed.

In addition, Magnolia trees are experiencing their annual change of leaves. Magnolias are odd in that they don’t drop their old leaves in the fall like most of Mississippi’s deciduous trees, but wait until the new leaves in the spring emerge. The loss of leaves now is normal. Make sure the leaves are removed from the lawn relatively quickly since the new grass needs light to grow.

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