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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Forestry Course Teaches Landowner To Reap Benefits

By Steve Cummings

The first signs of spring arrived last week as the yellow jonquils began to bloom, but as I write this column they are calling for snow flurries tonight.  I do not think this will ever leave and spring will arrive, but spring will arrive in due time.

A Forestry shortcourse, “Managing the Family Forest in Mississippi”, will be taught at the Yalobusha County Multi-Purpose Building in Coffeeville on March 29, April 5 and April12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  The cost is $35 per person, or $50 per couple.  Registration deadline is March 19.

This introductory course enables the landowner to more fully realize the benefits of forest ownership.  Forestry Extension specialists will cover topics such as forest management plan, site preparation, thinning, regeneration, harvesting and best management practices, timber marketing, and multiple use. Please contact the Yalobusha County Extension office at 675-2730 for further information.

The next Tri-Lakes Western Horse Show will be March 13th at the Multi-Purpose Building in Coffeeville.  This will be a timed event show and will start at 3:00 p.m.  As usual, this show is free and open to the public.


The rose is considered to be the Queen of flowers and is our national flower.  Container or bare-root roses can be planted now. For bare-root plants trim long or broken roots and cut the stem back to a healthy bud before planting.  

Breeders are continually introducing new and improved varieties. It is always fun to try new varieties but keep old favorites as major plantings until new ones have proven themselves in your garden. Container-grown roses can be planted anytime, but preferably now through April.  

Do not fertilize established roses until after you have pruned. When do you prune? Well that is easy, anytime from now and before foliage buds begin to emerge. Keep roses well mulched but do not pile mulch against the crown or lower stems. Many disease problems can occur when mulch covers the lower stems.

Roses are multi-functional landscape plants. They can be combined with other plants in the landscape to add beauty, fragrance, color, and function.  Roses can be used as ground covers, hedges, screens, and, of course, climbers can be used to cover trellises, walls, arbors, etc.  

Roses combine nicely with perennials such as catmint, chives, alliums, poppies, salvias and daylilies. Interplanting roses with perennials and other shrubs lessens the incidence of disease like black spot as compared with plantings comprised of nothing but roses.  

Planting a single rose in a flower garden can act as an anchor. Roses can also stand alone as a specimen plant and dress up a foundation planting as well. Growing roses in containers is a nice way to have roses if your garden space is small.  

In other words, there is a place for the queen of flowers and our national flower in everyone’s garden!  

Soil temperatures have not warmed much above fifty degrees anywhere in the state. The intermittent sunshine between storm fronts has not been enough to get our wet soils warm enough to providing ideal conditions for root growth. Even the Ranunculus weeds are behind schedule. The bright yellow buttercup flowers are often apparent by now.

Cold soils are frustrating to the “first tomato on the block” enthusiasts. You can go ahead and plant if you provide some sort of heat capture mechanism. It can be as simple as cutting the bottom from a gallon milk jug and putting it over the tomato plant each evening and removing it each morning when the sun shines or wrapping the tomato cage with clear plastic kitchen wrap or as complicated as building a miniature hoop house over the row. Clear plastic mulch over the soil will also warm soil by several degrees; black plastic mulch requires a smooth seed bed and intimate contact to warm soil. An easier way to hasten tomato growth is to plant in a five gallon or larger container and move the container to warm places like the garage at night and into direct sunshine during the day.

Be sure to get the henbit, dandelion, and Ranunculus weeds taken care of now. These weeds will grow very rapidly as the sun shines more and are very difficult to control once their root system has established. While control may be a gentle swipe with a hoe now, it will shortly become digging a hole with a shovel.

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