Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Producers Busy Cutting Hay And Harvesting Beans

By Steve Cummings

Last week I discussed how deadlines can sometimes affect my column, and Labor Day really did last week.  The two main events that I was concerned about were:  1) the effects of the hurricane and how it would affect our crops and 2) the results of the State Championship Horse Show that was to be held last weekend.  

Our county, as you all now know, got off pretty light with Hurricane Gustav.  With no more than two-and-a-half inches of rain in most places and no major winds, our crops survived extremely well.  No power outages and no severe damages were also good.  The State Championship Horse Show did not fare as well, as it was postponed, and it is unlikely that it will be held in November.

Our producers are busy cutting hay and harvesting early beans and corn during this little dry spell.  Hopefully, Hurricane Ike will not pay us a visit either.

The Yalobusha County Homemakers are hosting the North Central Mississippi Homemaker’s area meeting.  Not only does this bring people into the county, but one of our own, Dr. Gary Jackson from Water Valley, will be the featured speaker.

Horticulture Tips:

Bright, vivid colored mums are synonymous with fall. Think football games, hay bales, scarecrows, pumpkins, gourds and mums. Of course, the word “mums” is short for one of our favorite perennial garden plants, the chrysanthemum.

Visit any garden center or nursery now and you will have many, many choices of colors and sizes. When making your selection choose a plant with good shape and lots of unopened flower buds to ensure a long flowering period.  Consider the bloom color and what other plants or accessories, such as gourds, pumpkins, baskets, pots, ornamental corn or whatever, will complement the flower.

For the most dramatic effect it is best to mass mums by color. If planting directly into a bed, be sure and space the plants so that the edges of each plant almost touch. Remember that odd numbers of plants tend to make the plants easier to arrange for that dynamic impact you are looking for!

If you’re planting in containers, plant enough mums so that the container looks full with a mounding effect above the edge of the container.  Mums combine well with many other plants. Ornamental grasses, ornamental cabbage and kale and pansies are just a few suggestions.

Remember that the first killing frost we have will wipe out the mums.  At that time you can yank the plants out and toss them in the compost or just leave in place, cut the tops back, and keep the stems pinched back next summer to encourage business. Stop pinching the stems back by mid to late June so buds will have time to form for fall flowering.  

Fall Lawn Chores

Labor Day should always be a reminder that we have only a few more weekends to get our warm season species lawns in shape before shorter days, lower light intensity, and cooler temperatures reduce the potential for them to recover from any poor growth or pest injuries.  Below are a few items you may want to include in your lawn care chores over the next couple of weeks.

Winter Weed Control

    Now is the time if you haven’t already put out a pre-emerge herbicide to prevent winter weeds (annual bluegrass, lawn burweed, chickweed, henbit).

Winterizing Fertilizers

Be cautious about applying high rates of water-soluble nitrogen fertilizers once temperatures begin to moderate.

Applying 2.0 lbs. Muriate of Potash fertilizer per 1,000 sq. ft. in the fall will help with turf stress problems including low temperatures, diseases and insects.   There is not a problem using a weed and feed fertilizer in the fall if the nitrogen source is of slow release in nature.

Fall Diseases  

Centipede and St. Augustine lawns are very susceptible to Large Patch (Brown Patch) in the fall. If this disease is not managed the lawn will be unattractive all through the fall, winter, and into next spring.  Avoid excess nitrogen fertilizer, water early in the day to avoid long periods of leaf wetness.  Apply fungicides.

Fall Insects

Scout for fall army worms, as this is the time of year that they can become very destructive with little time for turf recovery before winter dormancy.   Use fire ant baits to manage fire ant colonies.

Leave a Comment