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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

District Livestock Show Kicks Off Saturday In Batesville

By Steve Cummings

For sure now, I know we have had enough cold weather and it is time for spring and warmer weather.  Last Thursday and Friday nights should have killed insects and other valuable things cold weather does.  I am hoping spring is just around the corner.

The Northwest District Livestock Show is this weekend at the Batesville Coliseum.  Hogs, sheep, and goats are shown on Friday starting at 3 p.m. with the calf show starting at 8:30 am on Saturday.  If you are in the area, you may want to stop by and see the animals.

The Yalobusha County Forest Landowners Association will hold its first meeting of 2009 on Feb. 2, at 6:30 pm at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  Tim Traugott and Britton Hatcher will talk about county forestry programs and associations.  Lamar Burgess, with NRCS, will talk about some of the programs the Natural Resource Conservation Service has to offer.  If you are a forest landowner, you need to attend this program.

 Horticulture Tips:

Plants such as roses and fruit trees are usually grafted.  You can easily find the graft union. It is the swollen part of the stem.  In later years, you’ll be able to see a difference in the color or pattern of the bark.  When planting, be sure to set the graft union 1 or 2 inches above the level of the soil. Prune off any shoots that develop below the graft union.

 

Houseplants

Watch for signs of spider mites on your indoor plants.  Their growth is favored by the hot, dry air of heated homes.  Yellow, stippled leaves are your clue to turn the leaf over. If you find tiny white webs on the back, your plants are infested with spider mites.  The first step is to give them a shower, paying particular attention to the backs of the leaves.  Let the leaves dry, and spray with insecticidal soap—you might want to do this outdoors.  Repeat this treatment weekly for three to four weeks to kill newly hatched mites.

 

Tools

This is a good time to get your garden equipment ready for the busy season ahead. Give your lawnmower its annual maintenance, such as sharpening or replacing the blade.  Remove rust from tools by rubbing them with steel wool dipped in machine or motor oil. Linseed oil will protect wooden handles from rot.  Sharpen your spade and pruning tools to make garden tasks easier. Check your sprayer, and replace any old or worn parts.

 

Trees and Shrubs

    The winter months are best for transplanting shrubs and small trees. First, have your new planting hole ready so you can replant immediately. Then dig up the plants carefully to minimize damage to the root systems.  If many roots are lost, prune away a corresponding amount of top growth. Only the lateral branches should be pruned from trees with a single leader (main vertical branch). Water thoroughly immediately after replanting.  Plants should receive at least 1 inch of water per week until they are re-established.

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