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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Signs Of Spring Possibly Seen In Yalobusha County

By Steve Cummings

Sometimes, if you ask you will receive.  In last weeks’ column I believe I asked for spring to hurry up and get here.  It may not be here to stay, but I have enjoyed this spring-like weather.  

Before the warmer weather arrived, I saw signs of spring as the jonquils were beginning to bloom in my yard.  The warmer temperatures have increased the number of blooms.  Hopefully, spring is here to stay.

Our farmers and landowners are putting out lime in the fields and fixing up their equipment to start their field work and pasture renovation.  New baby calves are dotting the hillsides.  These are other signs that spring is near.

Horticulture Tips:

 Fruit tree gardeners should be keeping an eye on their buds. The recent warm spell has many trees initiating bud swell. Peach growers should make an application of dormant oil before bud swell only if scale or leaf curl insects were a problem last year. The first insect and disease control applications are linked to early leaf show (bud break) and delaying application may be as bad as not applying anything.  Timing is just as critical as material whether you grow for fun or money, with artificial or nature derived pesticides, or for show quality or canning.

Bud swell may mean the sap is flowing. Trees and vines can still be pruned, but the cut may ooze sap. There is no evidence that this hurts the plant, but it is messy to work with sticky secateurs.

The recent warm weather has also made gardeners anxious to plant warm season things in the vegetable and flower garden.  If your county touches the Mississippi sound, go ahead. Coastal counties fifty percent probability frost date has passed.  The rest of us should wait. There is a table in our publication ‘Starting Vegetable transplants’  http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p1995.htm that gives the fifty percent chance of frost for Spring for several cities in Mississippi. Most of us should wait until mid-March and some northern counties should wait until April. You can plant earlier and take the risk that this will be a mild spring, but know your chances. Garden centers appreciate folks who plant very early and then come back for more plants when the first ones freeze.

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