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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

New 4-H Youth Agent “On Board” In Yalobusha

By Steve Cummings

There will be a forest landowners meeting on Monday, Aug. 31, at 6:30 p.m. in the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building. Steve Gulledge, an Area Forester, from Bruce will conduct the program on nature photography and switch grass.  

All forest landowners are encouraged to attend and are asked to make reservations by calling our office at 675-2730 by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28.

Coffeeville Saddle Club members are busy preparing for the upcoming State Championship Horse Show to be held at the Fordice Equine Center in Jackson on Sept. 10 – 13.  

Tri-Lakes Western Horse Show Association, of which Coffeeville Saddle Club is a member, qualified more entries than any other association in the state. Our local club, perhaps, has the most entries.

Our new 4-H Agent, Mary Mason Furr, made it through her first week on the job. I know that the organization of new 4-H clubs and programs suffered some during the lapse of time when Christine Fielder became ill and retired, but now we finally have a full time 4-H agent on board.  

Please contact her or our office for organizing any new 4-H clubs or for any help that she might be able to provide.

Horticulture Tips:

Cool Whites for Hot Days

It is 58 degrees this early Sunday morning in North Mississippi.  What a nice change from the hot weather—I know I better enjoy it because as sure as we have to pay taxes the hot weather will return!

Because the Mississippi garden in August is typically a scorcher with most of us hiding in the shade, it’s time to think about ways to cool down the garden.  One great way to do that is to downplay the hot plant hues of yellow, red and orange and emphasize or add the cooling whites, silvers and creams.

It’s amazing how refreshing a dab of white can be. When late summer has extinguished the fire of reds and yellows—and even hot pink seems faded—it’s a good idea to have a few variegated plants strategically placed in your garden.

Boasting two-tone foliage, variegated plants are the garden’s salvation. Pair them with dark green shrubs for maximum impact. Remember, a little variegation goes a long way; too much of a good thing leads to confusion. A single clump of striped grass such as Morning Light or Zebrinus or one dappled shrub makes a bright accent. Below is a small sampling of plants with variegated foliage.

Phlox paniculata ‘Norah Leigh’

Pycnanthemum albescens Mountain Mint

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Gold Nugget’, ‘Snowcap’, or ‘Gold Strike’

Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Variegatus’

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Goldfeder’, ‘Gold Bar’, ‘Zebrinus’ or ‘Morning Light’

Aucuba japonica ‘Golddust’, or ‘Picturata’

Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’

Hostas—Many variegated cultivars

Summer Ending Lawn Duties

The subtle hints that fall will soon be here become more numerous with each new sunrise.  There was a crispness in the air this morning, the daily newspaper was full of football news and hunters are prepping their food plots and getting their hunting gear in order.  These hints should also be a reminder that there are only a few more weeks left 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.  Just as we are preparing for fall football, hunting, etc. you may want to include these items in your lawn care duties over the next couple of weeks.

Winter Weed Control

Now is the time to put out a pre-emerge herbicide to prevent winter weeds (annual bluegrass, lawn burweed, chickweed, henbit).

Fall Insects

Scout for fall armyworms, 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.

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 if appropriate.

Winterizing Fertilizers

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.

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