Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Last Friday’s rains were the most welcomed rains we have had in a long time.  The rains helped the crops, pastures, lawns, and gardens, but we still could use some more. A shower or two over the weekend and heavy rain Tuesday will also help get us out of this drought.

Last Saturday, the Yalobusha County 4-H Horse Club hosted the Mississippi Youth Championship Horse Show.  Youth from all over north Mississippi participated.  Our 4-Hers did extremely well – which hopefully is a good sign for the upcoming district and state 4-H shows.  Casey Moss, in her first year as a Yalobusha County 4-Her, won overall high point.  Yalobusha County’s Shae Ward and Casey Byford won senior high point and senior sportsmanship, respectively.  Blakeleigh Jones of Oxford won junior high point, while Pontotoc’s Hannah Collins won junior sportsmanship.  Congratulations to all these winners and thank you to all of the class sponsors.

Horticulture Tips:

Lawn Burweed:  Painful to Bare Feet

Warm weather has arrived now and many of us are kicking off our shoes and walking across our lawns barefooted only to be painfully reminded that we did not do a very good job controlling lawn burweed (Soliva pterosperma), also commonly called spurweed and sticker weed.

This winter annual germinates and emerges in the fall and once it matures in late spring will produce clusters of seeds with tiny spines that can pierce delicate skin of tender feet, knees, hands or other parts of the body that come in contact with them.

This small dainty weed has freely branched prostrate growing leaves that somewhat resemble a miniature carrot leaf.  The leaves are opposite along stems and have doubly serrated narrow blades.  The flowers are mostly inconspicuous nestled down in the leaf axis until the small button shaped seed clusters with needle sharp spine tips mature.

The most effective method of controlling lawn burweed is to apply a pre-emergence herbicide in late summer or early fall prior to emergence.  Post-emergent herbicides can also be effective but need to be applied by early spring before the seed clusters develop.  Applying post-emergent herbicides now will kill the existing plants for a more aesthetic looking lawn, but unfortunately those mature seed clusters will still be there through this summer to remind you to put your shoes back on or suffer the consequences.

Crapemyrtle – Flower of the South

The colorful flower clusters of Crapemyrtle plants make them a favorite ornamental selection throughout Mississippi landscapes.  The blooms provide a spectacular sight during the heat of summer with splashes of red, white, pink and purple.  The exfoliating bark and yellow to red fall color add beauty in the fall and winter as well.  Growing Crapemyrtles can be easy if a few conditions are met.

Crapemyrtles grow best in sunny locations with good air circulation and a well-drained soil.  They can be grown in clay soils if the planting site is elevated to provide adequate drainage.  A soil pH of 5.0 to 6.5 is preferred.  Fertilize new plantings with a root stimulator and established trees with 2-4 pounds of a slow release fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area.  

Best results occur when trees are pruned in late winter (Feb.15-Mar.1).  Cutting the plant to the same spot on the tree each year will create unsightly knots on the trunk.  This is often referred to as crapemurder.  By pruning faded bloom clusters on July 1, August 1 and September 1, the bloom season can be extended well into the fall months.  This also helps prevent the tree from getting top heavy and breaking.  Apply a water-soluble Crapemyrtle fertilizer at the time of these summer prunings.

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