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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Pest Management Is Topic Of Next Quick Bites Program At Yalobusha Multipurpose Building

By Steve Cummings

This year’s crop is taking longer to plant than it has in the last few years.  The cool wet conditions have hampered planting.  After the last few years no one is complaining about the rain although the excess wet conditions have caused some replanting.

We’ve had a few combination shows which have been quite interesting this year.  A few weeks back we had an iris show and a horse show going on at the same time.  This actually worked well.  This Saturday, May 24th, there will be another combination show that will consist of bull riding and wrestling.  This sounds like a good combination of entertainment to me.  More information on this show is on flyers located around the county.  

It seems like there is a horse show at the multipurpose building every weekend and, you’re right, there almost is.  While the cost of gas is making it more expensive for the exhibitors, these horse shows provide an additional opportunity for entertainment in the county for our local residents at little expense.  There is no admission to the shows and it doesn’t take a lot of gas to get to the multipurpose building from anywhere in the county.  This Friday night, May 23rd, there will be a timed event horse show.  Training barrels will start no later than 7pm.  Then, on Saturday, May 31st, there will be a judged show followed by a timed event show.  The judged show will start at 3pm.  Make plans and take advantage of these shows and good free entertainment.

Also, on Thursday, May 29th, there will be a Quick Bites program entitled “Pest Management in Vegetable Gardens”.  As most of you might have experienced, insect pests can take a bite out of your homegrown vegetables before you get a chance to.  This session focuses on some of the most damaging pests and gives recommendations on how to manage and control them.  This program is free and open to the public, so please bring a sack lunch and join us for a fun and informative program.

In addition, there will be a Private Applicator’s Training on June 2nd at 6:30 pm.  If you plan to buy restricted chemicals you have to have a private applicator’s license.  If you need a private application license or if yours has expired, you will need to attend this training.  There is a $10 charge to attend.  For more information, please contact our office at 675-2730.

Horticulture Tips:

Tips on using fire ant baits successfully:

 With the recent rains fire ant mounds have become quite visible in many lawns.  Not only are these mounds unsightly but the sting from fire ants can be extremely painful and for some people even life threatening.  Therefore, controlling fire ants should be as much a part of your lawn management activities as fertilizing, watering, and mowing.  There are several methods of controlling fire ants but applying baits is probably the most convenient and easiest.  Baits can be very effective when applied according to the following tips.

Only use baits that are specifically labeled for fire ants.

Read the label twice, once before you buy and again before you treat.

Apply fire ant baits by broadcasting them over the entire yard.

Don’t apply too much. The rate for most baits is only one to two pounds per acre.

Use a spreader specifically designed for fire ant bait.

Avoid irrigating for at least two days after applying baits.

Try to avoid applying baits just before rainfall.

Treat again if rainfall occurs within 12 hours after a bait application.

Use fresh bait. Ants don’t like old bait that has gone rancid.

Be patient. Baits are slow-acting.

Apply fire ant baits preventively. Don’t wait till you see large mounds.

Apply baits one to three times per year, depending on location.

Use the holidays, Easter, Independence Day, and Labor Day as reminders.

Use individual mound treatments to eliminate mounds the baits miss.

For more information on fire ant control there are several excellent publications found at our extension office or can be downloaded for the extension web at <> .  Once at the home page simply type fire ants after clicking on the search button.


After harvesting blackberries, you can remove these fruiting canes to make room for the developing new canes that will provide the fruit for next year.  Prune the tips of these new canes to encourage branching and good fruit production.

Container Plants

Outdoor areas are often perfect for pots of flowers, herbs, or small ornamental shrubs.  Good annuals for sunny spots include begonia, Madagascar periwinkle (annual vinca), and moss rose (portulaca).  Coleus and impatiens are great for shade.  Try adding one of the water-absorbing polymers like Watersorb to the soil in the container to reduce the need for frequent watering. Fertilize every 3 to 4 weeks with a water soluble fertilizer.

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