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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Planting Is In Full Swing In Yalobusha

By Steve Cummings

Spring has arrived and planting is in full swing in Yalobusha County.  Corn is going in the ground despite the high prices of fuel and fertilizers.  This year due to high input cost, we’ll see our farmers’ management styles change some to offset all the high input cost.

There are several upcoming activities coming up in the near future.  Mark your calendars for April 14th at 7 pm if you have timber.  Extensions new Forest Economist, Dr. James Henderson, will present a program on the current prices on timber as well as trends and the outlook.

On April 16th and 17th there will be an ARP Senior Citizen Driving class each morning at the Multipurpose Building.  More details will be available later.  Also, on April 28th there will be a warm weather forage program by Dr. Rocky Lemus, new Extension Forage Specialist.  

On April 3rd there will be a lunch and learn with Dr. Lelia Kelly at noon at the Multipurpose Building.

Lawn Pests Management Begins with Scouting and Identity

Dr. Lelia Kelly,

Consumer Horticulture Specialist

Spring has arrived and many of us have already begun mowing, watering and fertilizing our lawns which are key task in keeping our lawns beautiful.  However, these lush attractive lawns are often magnets to entice insects and diseases.  To prevent them from causing major destruction to the lawn it is important that we learn how to identify their presence and select management strategies that will keep them in check.  Insect damage is often times misdiagnosed as a disease or vice versa and applying an insecticide for a disease problem or a fungicide for an insect problem will not only be ineffective but also a waste of time and money.  

Developing a few scouting routines now as your lawn begins to break winter dormancy will help you better control lawn pest throughout the growing season.  At least once a week take the time to walk your lawn looking for subtle signs of turf turning off color, thinning, or ragged leaf tips. Bend down closely to the ground or better yet get on your hands and knees and part the turf canopy looking for small critters such as caterpillars, small bugs, etc.  Notice if leaves have chewed ragged edges, tiny lesions within the leaf blades, or perhaps soggy decay at the base of leaf blades. Observe whether the damage is in circular patterns or uniformly across the entire lawn.   If you find any of these symptoms then identify the pests or collect a sample and have someone identify them for you then treat appropriately.  The Extension web at <>  has several good publications that will help you properly identify your lawn pests and give recommendations for their management.  A good start would be publications #1322 “Establish and Manage Your Home Lawn” and publication #2331 “Control of Insect Pests in and around the Home Lawn”.

Take Pictures of Your Spring Garden

As your spring-flowering garden begins to go into glory mode take photos so you can refer to them later in the year. These will especially come in handy this fall when you are expanding your landscape areas with spring flowering plants. Can’t remember exactly where all those buttercups are planted?  Can’t remember the exact shade of pink those azaleas were so you can complement them with other flower shades?  

Having a garden photo album will really help.  It can be a “hard” copy with pictures actually in an album or it can exist in a folder on your home computer. While you’re at it, why not sketch a planting map in your gardening journal to show where any spring bulbs are located. With an accurate plot plan you will know where to plant spring-flowering bulbs this fall.  

You’ll also be able to plan for continuous flowering by sowing or transplanting annual or perennial flowers among the bulbs after their display has ended to disguise the maturing bulb foliage–as all Master Gardeners and other good gardeners know, we should leave the bulb foliage to yellow and dieback in place which completes the process of channeling energy from the leaves to the bulb to support next year’s flowers.  

The national weather service is now calling for near normal to slightly above normal temperatures and normal rainfall for Mississippi in April, May, and June. This means about an inch of rainfall a week and temperatures in the low-to-mid nineties by June. Many of us are starting with fairly dry soils, so be sure to have a source of water available in case your four inches of rain for May all falls in the last week. Young plants are less able to survive dry conditions than older ones.

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