Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Yalobusha Harvest Is In Full Swing All Over County

By Steve Cummings

Harvest is in full swing in Yalobusha County.  Corn harvest should be winding down with yields being fair.  One hundred bushels of corn is pretty good due to the extremely dry June and July we had when corn needed moisture.  This year’s soybean crop is later than usual, which allowed them to take advantage of the added rainfall in August.      

Some beans are being harvested.  Cotton harvest should begin this week in the county.  There is no shortage of hay in Yalobusha County this year.  Cattle farmers are busy getting the big hay crop cut and bailed after the late summer rains.  The late rains made the hay crop as most farmers did not use much fertilizer due to high cost.

The talk this week is of the Presidential Debate on the near-by University of Mississippi campus.  Many of our residents are serving as volunteers of various events going on up there.  Tickets to the debate are almost impossible to come by.  However, one Water Valley resident will have a good seat at the debate.  Last week I was watching WCBI-TV and they were showing a student debate contest, where the winning team won tickets to the debate.  Low and behold, there was first year law student Cory Williamson from Water Valley being interviewed as a member of the winning team.  This did not surprise me as Cory excelled in school, sports and 4-H all through school at Water Valley.  This will be a great opportunity and I’ll get a report from Cory on how things go.

Pros and Cons of Overseeding Your Lawn:

Fall has arrived and in a few more weeks have a heavy frost will put warm-season turf species lawns into winter dormancy.  To some homeowners the thought of a brown lawn just shouldn’t be, so they look for ways to keep it green all winter.  The most logical solution is to overseed with a cool season turf species such as ryegrass.  In making a decision to overseed your lawn or not, some consideration should be made on what the advantages and disadvantages of doing so are.  The most important one is will the overseeding be detrimental or beneficial to the permanent lawn.  Overseeding your warm season lawn with cool season grasses can actually delay next spring’s green-up of the permanent lawn and may even weaken it.  Just keep in mind that cool season turf species thrive at temperatures in the 60-70 degree range so next spring when your permanent lawn begins to break dormancy the overseeded turf species will be very competitive and acts similar to any other weeds competing for nutrients, water, and space.  On the plus side the temporary lawn could prevent erosion problems, prevent mud tracking into the home, and would provide the aesthetics of a beautiful green lawn all winter.

The turf species of preference for winter overseeding warm season lawns should be perennial ryegrass.  Perennial ryegrasses are much finer textured than annual ryegrass cultivars, generally have much better color throughout the winter, not as prone to clumpiness, and do not produce as many unsightly seed stalks in the spring.  Seeding rate for home lawns with perennial ryegrass should be 8-10 pounds per thousand square feet, and if you use annual ryegrass increase this by another 2 pounds.  Seeding should be done when soil temperatures reach around 70 degrees, which, as a general rule will occur around the middle of October for much of Mississippi.

Cultural practices of mowing, fertilizing, watering, and pest management must be continued throughout the winter for an overseeded lawn.  Once the permanent lawn does begin spring transition the temporary lawn should be removed either mechanically or chemically.  There are labeled herbicides available now that are very effective in removing cool season turf species from warm season permanent lawns so you may want to consider using one of these in the spring to remove the ryegrass once the permanent lawn begins spring growth.

Mulching:

Fall is a good time to reapply mulch.  As you begin to tidy up the garden, removing old foliage and seed-heads, consider putting down a fresh layer of mulch—particularly if you did not apply mulch to your beds this spring.

The benefits of mulching just cannot be stressed enough.  Although getting it hauled in and applied to all landscape beds is one of the more strenuous garden activities, it is well worth the effort involved.  It makes everything look fresh and “sets off” or “frames” your plants.  I don’t know of anything that gives the impression your garden is a well-tended garden than a fresh application of mulch—even if it is not!  Besides all the aesthetic benefits, mulching retains moisture, moderates soil temperature and helps control weeds.

Mulch should be 4 to 6 inches deep in most cases.  Do not pile the mulch directly next to the trunks of trees or shrubs or the crowns of herbaceous plants.  Shredded bark or pine needles work best where rain may tend to wash the mulch, as these types of mulch tends to stay in place.  For other more level areas, pine bark, chips or other types could be used.  I prefer organic mulches as these over time will decompose and add to the organic content of the soil.

Do not mulch beds where you rely on reseeding plants, such as spider flowers, poppies, larkspur, or hollyhocks to repopulate the beds.

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