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From The Ground Up

Pine Trees Provide Ready Source Of Mulch

By Pamela Redwine

A Wildlife Damage Management Seminar will be held at the Extension office on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.  Please call the Extension Office at 675-2730 to register.

On Thursday, November 18, A Natural Resource Enterprises Workshop will be held in Batesville at Hawks Grove. Natural resource enterprises include: agritourism, trail riding, fee hunting or angling, bed and breakfasts and more.  

This is an excellent opportunity to learn business and wildlife habitat management basics with expert speakers and a field session.  On-site registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the program begins at 9 a.m.  For more information you can call 662.325.3133 or visit

Final Mowing Before Winter Dormancy

Our warm-season lawns will soon be shutting down foliar growth with the onset of cooler temperatures and shorter day lengths.  That also means we may soon be putting the lawnmower away until next spring.  However, we need to plan for one final mowing once the lawn does go dormant.  

You might consider raising the mowing height slightly for that last cutting to provide a little more turf canopy for the winter. A final dormant mowing, even though the lawn loses much of its green summer color, will give the lawn a nice clean, even surface that is still attractive.  An added benefit is that leaves tend to blow over a clean cut surface which may help reduce the chore of raking leaves.

Care should be taken when final mowing is done that the soil is not overly water saturated so that the mower compacts the soil and leaves tracks in the lawn that may remain there all winter.


Garden centers are packed with fall/winter annuals right now. Iceland poppies, pansies, violas (Johnny-jump-ups), pinks (dianthus), snapdragons, and ornamental kale and cabbage are ready to be planted to add that splash of color throughout the winter and into the spring.

When setting out these annuals, combine them in beds with spring bulbs (which you should be planting this fall as well). This will add to the show next spring and be an example to your less inspired neighbors, who when seeing your magnificent floral display next spring, will be convinced you are a very brilliant and noteworthy gardener.  

When combining these fall/winter annuals with spring bulbs, you can incorporate into the soil the bulb booster fertilizer (9-9-6). It is slow release and will feed annual plants as well as the roots of bulbs all winter.   


If you live in an area with an abundance of pine trees you are fortunate to have a ready resource of mulch. Pine needles begin to fall before autumn leaves. Rake needles while they are still free of leaves, and then set them aside until all the leaves have fallen.  Top-dress beds with clean needles and your garden will appear tidy all winter long.


This is the season when songbirds are migrating. If your landscape is lacking in plants that provide a bird food source, that’s ok, you can just put out a feeder, some birdseed, get yourself a bird identification book and set back to watch the show. As you and your family are quietly observing the birds you might want to do some planning to make your landscape more attractive for wildlife by including plants that provide a year round source of food or shelter.  Some of these would be holly, sumac, sweet bay magnolia, elderberry, strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus), dogwood, or eastern red cedar. Fall is the time to plant these native wildlife plants, so go shopping!

Article Source: Horticulture Tips for Oct. 25, 2010 Wayne Wells, Lelia Kelly, David Nagel

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