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From The Ground Up

Equine Interest Meeting Thursday Night

By Pamela Redwine

If you are reading the paper before 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13 then you still have time to make a couple of events that we will be having that day. On Thursday, Jan. 13 at 4:30 p.m. the 4-H FCS Club will meet at the Extension Office in Coffeeville. The speaker is Julie Ingram, School Nurse for Coffeeville School District, and the topic is on First aid. The children will find out how to handle things like a bee sting, blister, burn, splinters and a nosebleed. The children will have the opportunity to design a poster on First Aid, which will be submitted to State Fair in Jackson in October.

Also on Thursday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Extension office we will have an Equine Interest Meeting.  This meeting will be held via interactive video. Dr. David Christiansen will be the speaker.

The Extension office will be closed on Monday, Jan. 17 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

On Tuesday, January 18 the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers will meet at the Extension office. The business meeting is a 9 a.m. and the program is at 10 a.m.  The program, sponsored by Renasant Bank, will inform everyone on the upcoming bank-sponsored trips for 2011. This meeting is open to the public.

Don’t forget the Yalobusha County Extension office is on Facebook! For information on upcoming events you can look us up.  Just search MSU-Yaloubsha County Extension Service.  “like” us and you will receive notices on upcoming programs.

Controlling Voles In The Landscape

Voles (meadow mice) are members of the rodent family. They can cause considerable damage to landscape plantings, and to a lesser extent, turf, particularly in late winter or early spring when food sources become harder to find.  These small rodents with tiny ears, small dark eyes, and short tails can explode in numbers to several hundred per acre where there is a good grassy habitat and lack of natural predators. Moles have beak-like noses, tiny rudimentary eyes, no visible ears, and paddle-like front feet with large claws.   Voles seldom burrow long underground tunnels like moles, but rather make runways or paths through the turf canopy and flower bed mulch. They on occasion use an existing mole tunnel to travel short distances.

Unlike moles that feed primarily on earthworms, grubs, and other insect larvae, voles feed on plants. The bark of thin-barked trees and shrubs is their preferred food. The girdling of these plants can become severe enough that the plants are weakened and eventually die. Succulent plants such as Hosta and turf can often be eaten to the ground, but usually come back once the voles are removed.

Close monitoring in early fall through winter for runways through the lawn and feeding on shrubs will alert you to their presence. Maintaining the turf at normal mowing heights will discourage travel across lawns.  Keeping vegetation-free areas around young trees and shrubs will prevent hiding places. Hardware cloth protective cages 2-3 inches into the ground and about 18 inches high around young trees will prevent girdling.

Since voles do feed on vegetation, mousetraps baited with peanut butter, oatmeal, pecans, or apple slices placed in the runways or landscape beds will reduce populations.  A very successful trapping trick is to place an un-baited mouse trap in front of a hole or run then place a clay pot over both the trap and hole and the vole will eventually trip the trap trying to escape from the pot.

Poisonous baits containing zinc phosphide in pelleted form is also effective, but can be dangerous to children, pets, and other wildlife and should be used only in lockable bait stations accessible only to the tiny voles.

Make a List

Now is the time to inventory the garden and get the jump on that list of spring gardening chores that seem to pile up rather quickly when the weather warms. Take the time to stroll around the yard and garden with notebook and pencil in hand.  Make lists of all the “have to” chores and then make a list of the “want to” chores.  An example of a “have to” chore is any corrective or other pruning that should be done on trees and shrubs before spring bud break.  A “want to” chore would be to finally design and order the seeds and plants to establish that cut flower garden you’ve always wanted. Keep these lists handy and, as weather permits, do each chore, checking it off the list.  

You’ll be surprised how motivating these lists can be, especially if you stick them in conspicuous places as a daily reminder—on the fridge door works well for me.  I’ll admit to yanking some of these unchecked lists off the fridge in disgust by June.  But, hey, for now you and I can pass the cold months ahead making lists, dreaming and planning for that perfect yard and garden.

 Need help making a list of “things to do in the garden?” Check out the Garden Calendar on the Master Gardener website at this address:

http://msucares.com/lawn/master_gardener/calendar/index.html.

Article Source: Horticulture Tips for January 3, 2011
Wayne Wells, Lelia Kelly, David Nagelasdf

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