Skip to content

From The Ground Up

Plants Need Preparation For Cold Weather

By Pamela Redwine

The Extension Staff was excited to find out last week that a new Director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service has been named.

Our own, Yalobusha County native, Gary Jackson, will take over his new duties as director on January 1, 2011. I got to know Dr. Jackson during his tenure as the director of Human Sciences and the interim State Leader for Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences.  I think he will do a wonderful job.

The Yalobusha Cattlemen will meet on Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m.

Get Your Plants Ready For Frost

If you haven’t already, it is time to get those tender potted plants indoors, as our first frost is just around the corner.  But before you move them indoors there are a few things you may want to do before frost is predicted in your area:

1. Wipe all pots with a cloth dipped in a diluted Clorox solution (1 cup Clorox to 9 cups water).

2. Be sure to check the bottom of the pots. This is where slugs and other little critters hide. Clean these off.

3. Then you can trim back the plants.  There are two reasons to do this.  First, they won’t take up as much room.  Second, by trimming the plant, you are forcing it to produce new leaves and shoots.  These will develop under indoor conditions and therefore will not have to go through a period of adjusting to the new environment (acclimatization). The old foliage produced outside under ideal growing conditions can react to the change in environment by turning yellow and falling off.  Trimming the plant lessens the percentage of old foliage.

After you’ve trimmed the plants and before you bring them indoors, Dr. Blake Layton. Extension Entomo-logist suggests the following procedure to take care of the insects.          

To control fire ants, or other ants, nesting in potted plants that will be brought inside:  Use a 2.5% permethrin, like Bonide Eight Insect Control, as a pot drench.  Dilute 2/3 fl. oz. 1 gal. of water and apply according to label.  Apply outside and be sure that the pot has quit draining before bringing indoors.

To control infestations of aphids, whiteflies, or scale on houseplants: The ready-to-use pre-mix of 0.0015% cyfluthrin and 0.012% imidacloprid (Bayer Advanced Rose & Flower Insect Killer) is a good broad spectrum foliar spray that is labeled for use on houseplants.  Move plants outdoors before treating and allow spray to dry before moving them back indoors.

To control scale, whiteflies or mites with an effective organic product: Use one of the ready-to-use sprays containing pyrethrins and canola oil (Shultz markets one of these).  Apply repeatedly according to label directions to control scale and other hard to control pests.  Good coverage is critical to success.  

Successful Fire Ant Management Includes Fall Applications of Granular Baits

Granular baits are probably the most convenient and easiest method of applying insecticides for fire ants and can be very effective when applied at least once in the spring and again in the fall with an additional mid-summer treatment preferred.  Tips that will improve your success with Fall fire ant bait applications include:

  •  Broadcast them over the entire yard not just by the mounds you see.
  •  Don’t over apply. The rate for most baits are only one to two pounds per acre.
  •  Avoid irrigating for at least two days after applying baits.
  •  Avoid applying baits just before rainfall.
  •  Use fresh bait. Ants will leave old bait that has gone rancid.
  •  Baits are slow-acting so you must be patient.
  •  Use fire ant baits preventively. Don’t wait till you see large mounds.
  •  Eliminate mounds the baits miss with mound treatment insecticides.

There are several excellent publications on fire ant control that can be downloaded from the extension web at or found at your local extension office.

Article Source: Horticulture Tips for October 18, 2010 By: Lelia Kelly, Wayne Wells, David Nagel


Leave a Comment