Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

First Judged Horse Show Saturday Starting At 2 p.m.

By Steve Cummings

Our secretary, April Kilpatrick, is back after being out of the office more than a week due to her son, Wesley, being sick.  Wesley is home from the hospital and recuperating nicely.  We appreciate the help of Mrs. Nell Lowe during April’s absence.  Our former 4-H Program Associate, Christine Fielder, has improved to the point that she was able to help me over the phone with the 4-H shooting sports program.  Hopefully, Christine will be able to get out of the house soon.

This week on Thursday, April 16th, there will be a Quick Bites program at noon at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  The green revolution is nothing new to floral designer, Lynette McDougald.  Having grown up in a rural plant nursery in north Mississippi, Lynette began collecting and designing with what was available.  

Known for mimicking nature in design, Lynette will demonstrate that the best design and the best plant materials are right outside the door.  Joining her will be the Senior Seminar in Horticulture class from MSU with tips from organic mechanics to composting.  For any gardening enthusiast, this will be an hour well spent.  If you are interested in this program, please join us.

The first Tri-Lakes Western Horse Show Association’s judged horse show will be this Saturday, April 18th, at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building beginning at 2 pm with the trial class.  

The judged classes will start at 3 pm and a timed event horse show will follow.  As usual, these shows are free to spectators.  Last Friday night the timed event horse show had almost 300 entries.  This was a really big show and the crowd was extremely large.

Last week I was able to slip out of the office and attend the North Mississippi Federal Land Bank’s Annual Business Meeting and the Grand Opening of the Fish Hatchery at Enid.  I appreciated being a guest at the bank’s meeting and enjoyed both programs very much.  The fish hatchery grand opening was extremely nice and the hatchery and visitors center is most impressive.  

I encourage everyone to take a tour of the hatchery and the visitor’s center.  I plan to go back when I have time to take it all in detail.  Yalobusha County is fortunate to have a facility of this  caliber located here.

Congratulations to the Yalobusha Homemaker’s Council and its President, Betty Baker Thomas, on winning first place in its record book for the North Central MHV Area.  I believe this book will now go on to be judged against other district winters for best in the state.

HORTICULTURE TIPS:

Shade is the number one problem for many home lawns in Mississippi as we utilize trees in the landscape not only for aesthetics but to help moderate the high temperatures of summer.  

If you have heavy shade in your lawn and have been unsuccessful keeping grass under the trees even when selecting the most shade tolerant grasses such as St. Augustine grass then perhaps it is time to try some ground cover alternatives.  While ground covers may limit the space for recreation and other activities we enjoy on our lawns they can certainly help keep the soil in place and provide color and texture differences in the landscape.  

Now is a great time to get ground covers established.  Choices can include mondo and liriope, although not grasses they do have somewhat similar texture and growth habits.  Other good selections may include violets, wild strawberry, creeping phlox, ivy, Asiatic jasmine, periwinkle, etc.  

To find a ground cover are two that appeals to you visit your favorite nursery, garden center or simply drive around other well landscaped streets.    For more tips on selecting and planting ground covers refer to Extension publications 666 and 1322. Both can be obtained from your local Extension Service office or downloaded from the www.MSUCARES.com web.

Tomato plants are relatively frost tolerant. Tomato flowers are not. Tomato plants that were blooming last week or are blooming where temperatures are below fifty degrees will produce malformed fruit. Keep an eye on the fruit and discard any that look knobby or constricted. Later flowers will produce normal fruit.

Many people have planted fruit trees recently. The first year is very important in training the tree to grow in the best conformation for production. Peaches, plums and nectarines should be pruned to an open center. Apples, pears, and persimmons should be pruned to a central leader. Instructions on how to prune fruit trees can be found in IS1433 and IS1434, Fruit and Nut Reviews on apples and peaches. These publications can be found at the County Extension Service office or on line at www.MSUcares.com.

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Mississippi State Ag Extra:

Prevent Termite Damage By Keeping The Pests Out Of You Home

By Bonnie Coblentz
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Exposed, termites are small and defenseless, but hidden and in high numbers, these insects can destroy a house from the inside out, causing homeowners untold expense and grief.

Blake Layton, an entomologist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said termites are a dangerous threat to homes.

“They work slowly and are difficult to detect, but over time, termite infestations can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage,” Layton said. “It is important to protect your home from termites, especially if it is made of wood or contains significant amounts of wood.”

Termites work quietly inside walls, floors and attics, making it possible for a building to be infested for a long time before the problem is detected. Seeing swarmers inside the house or discovering damaged studs or sheetrock are obvious indications of a termite infestation.

Less visible signs include narrow, sunken, winding lines in wallpaper, paint or other surfaces; small, odd-shaped formations of dried mud on inside walls; or mud tubes travelling up the foundation of a building.

Layton said the best termite control is preventive action — treat termites before they get into buildings. While there are treatments that can be applied as the structure is being built, most homeowners find themselves treating existing structures.

The two basic kinds of treatments available are in-ground baits and liquid termiticides. Baits are a relatively recent innovation, while liquid termiticides are more conventional.

Homeowners trying to decide which treatment to use should consider that baits are much slower acting than liquid termiticides and can take a year or longer to eliminate active infestations.

A properly applied liquid perimeter treatment usually provides years of effective termite control, while baits must be routinely serviced to remain effective.

However, baits have one significant advantage.

“Baits use far less insecticide and are able to provide control in environmentally sensitive or hard-to-treat situations,” Layton said.

Bobbie Shaffett, Extension family resource management specialist, said proper termite control is even more important than ever in today’s tough economic climate.

“A mortgage holder can foreclose on property that is not maintained properly,” Shaffett said. “That means regular roof repairs or replacement and preventing damage from pests and termites are just as important as paying on time if you want to keep your home and protect your investment.”

Home equity is the greatest source of wealth for most consumers, representing 20 percent to 50 percent of their assets, she said.

“Not properly maintaining your home may be worse for your wealth than these volatile days in the stock market,” Shaffett said. “When you sell your home, you will be asked to disclose whether termites have been present, which can affect the value of your home.”

She recommended all homeowners maintain a termite inspection contract and make sure they understand the rules that may void the contract, such as not correcting moisture or landscaping problems identified in annual inspections.

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