Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Many Activities Planned In Late June

By Steve Cummings

There’s a lot going on within the Yalobusha County Extension Service next week, but then again, there has been a lot going on the whole month of June.  Tuesday, June 24th, is the 4-H Cookout Contest in Winona and Tim Traugott’s Retirement Reception in Grenada.  June 25th is the Annual Wildflower Tour at the Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center.  Then, the Northwest District 4-H Horse Show is June 26th – 28th at Ranche One in Batesville.

Tim Traugott, Area Extension Forestry Specialist, is retiring at the end of June.  Tim has worked closely with many of Yalobusha County’s forest landowners throughout the years.  Tim’s secretary has asked that I invite all of the forest landowners that have worked with Tim to his retirement reception next week, June 24th, 2 – 4 pm, at the Grenada County Extension Service Auditorium.  So, if you know Tim and can make it, I know he will appreciate it.

The Annual Wildflower Tour will be held at the Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center on June 25th.  Registration is from 8 – 11 am.  Wagon tours of the wildflower fields and grasses will be held throughout the day starting at 8:15 am.  Tour stops will include Wildflower Establishment, Pollinators, Native Grasses and Wildflowers, and Invasive Plants.  Indoor presentations will include topics such as “The Conscientious Gardner” by Dr. Lelia Kelly and “Edible Landscaping” by Susan Harkness.  Admission is $3 and will include a hamburger lunch.  Please call the Yalobusha County Extension Service at 675-2730 to make reservations or for further information.

The 26th – 28th of June will be the Northwest District 4-H Horse Show at Ranche One at 314 Cutting Horse Lane in Batesville.  Yalobusha County has 97 entries and will have by far the highest county contention there.  On Thursday night at 6:30 pm will be the roping and goat tying classes.  Yalobusha County will have a few goat tiers.  The show will start at 9 am on June 27th with the opening ceremony followed by the halter, showmanship, and all western classes.  On Saturday, June 28th, the show will start at 9 am with Gaited and English classes.  It will conclude with the speed events.  Admission is free, so come out and support our young people.

Yalobusha County 4-H hosted the Annual Mississippi Youth Championship Horse Show last Saturday and it was a big success.  Congratulations to the high point winners:  Casey Moss – Overall High Point Winner, Shae Oates-Ward – Senior High Point Winner, Casey Byford – Senior Sportsmanship Award, and Hannah Stepp – Junior High Point Winner, and Breanna Scroggins – Junior Sportsmanship Award.  All of these girls are members of the Coffeeville Saddle Club.

The Youth Horse Show is always a fun time, but it makes for a long day.  Most started getting their horses ready early that morning to make it to the show before 10:30 am.  The final horse exited the arena around 1:30 am Sunday morning.  A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers that made this possible.

Horticulture Tip:

Pre Stress Conditioning for a Healthy Summer Lawn

Drought stress can predispose our turf for other problems. Since the weather is constantly changing and we never know for sure if we will get adequate rainfall we need to irrigate with a long-range purpose in mind.  

We can help our lawns tremendously as the summer heat intensifies by beginning pre-stress conditioning now.  Pre stress conditioning is accomplished by watering less frequently but very thorough when we do water.  

A good thorough deep watering allows the water to infiltrate down three or more inches into the soil to encourage grass roots to go deep into the soil and become more numerous. Later in the summer as water becomes even more critical those lawns with a deep, large mass root system will be better prepared to forage much deeper for any available moisture.

To help prevent an ideal environment for foliar diseases begin watering early enough in the day so that watering can be completed in time for leaf blades to dry before nightfall.

Trees and Shrubs

Remove any dead wood or weak branches on crepe myrtles so new growth will be vigorous and show good form.  Cut back fast growing shrubs, such as eleagnus, ligustrum, and photinia, as needed.  Prune spring-flowering shrubs after their blooms have faded or they need to be reshaped or to have an errant branch removed.

Avoid Stress

Avoid fertilizing or spraying during extreme heat or drought.  When plants are under stress, the leaves may be damaged. Water well the day before spraying, and apply pesticides only when temperatures do not exceed 90 degrees.

 Azaleas

Feed plants with an acid-forming fertilizer, such as 11-5-5; the same product can also be used on camellias, gardenias and blueberries.  Apply as directed on the label.  If the leaves are yellow with green veins, apply iron chelate, or treat the surrounding soil with aluminum sulfate.

Cutting Garden

 Roses, annuals, and perennials need a boost after the first round of flowering.  Apply a cup of granular fertilizer (5-10-10) per 5 x 5 foot square area or water every two weeks with a soluble fertilizer until new vigorous growth is apparent.

The recent salmonella incident with tomatoes and rice “shortage” has persuaded many people to grow their own food. There are many things that have to come together in order for folks to produce their own food. The only thing people must have is a location that is in the sunlight for at least half the day. Poorly drained soil, infertile soil, lack of space, and most other obstacles can be overcome, but no fruit or vegetable can produce without sunlight. Other things important are water, labor, and inputs of nutrients, pest control, and time.

Gardeners double cropping on their black plastic mulch should be aware that temperatures under the mulch can be high enough to damage transplants. It would be wise to dilute white latex paint and apply it to the mulch after removing the first planting. The white paint will reflect some of the sun’s rays and keep temperatures under the mulch from climbing to dangerous levels.

Folks who want to grow their own ornamental corn for fall decorating need to have the seeds in the ground by July 1. Most of these corns are ninety to over one hundred day varieties.  Remember that corn ear worm populations grow as the year progresses, so some form of control will need to be done to produce picture perfect ears for those fall gatherings.

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Pre Stress Conditioning for a Healthy Summer Lawn

Drought stress can predispose our turf for other problems such as insect and disease attack as well as the encroachment of weeds. Since the weather is constantly changing and we never know for sure if we will get adequate rainfall we need to irrigate with a long-range purpose in mind.  We can help our lawns tremendously as the summer heat intensifies by beginning pre-stress conditioning now.  Pre stress conditioning is accomplished by watering less frequently but very thorough when we do water.  A good thorough deep watering allows the water to infiltrate down three or more inches into the soil to encourage grass roots to go deep into the soil and become more numerous.  Later in the summer as water becomes even more critical those lawns with a deep, large mass root system will be better prepared to forage much deeper for any available moisture. To help prevent an ideal environment for foliar diseases begin watering early enough in the day so that watering can be completed in time for leaf blades to dry before nightfall.

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