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From The Ground Up

So Your Grass Is Greener…So What?

By Pamela Redwine

On Thursday, May 19 join us for a Lunch and Learn starting at noon. The topic is “So Your Grass is Greener than mine…So what?”  Dr. Wayne Wells, Extension Turfgrass Specialist, will present this program, which is free and open to the public.  Please call the Extension office at 675-2730 to let us know you will be coming.

HORTICULTURE TIPS

Container gardens make wonderful additions to the home landscape. They’re portable, easy to maintain and just right for those of us who have trouble getting up and down like we used to—we don’t have to bend over quite as far to maintain these gardens! Little ones enjoy taking care of their own garden in a pot also.  Some tips for successful container gardening are:

1. Make sure the pot is large enough that you will not be watering constantly—if you are having to water it more than once every couple days, it is too small.

2. Situate the container where it is accessible and it is an accent to the landscape—groups of containers of various sizes and shapes make nice accents.

3. Group plants in the container that have the same cultural requirements—shade, sun, wet, dry, etc.

4. Combine plants of different textures, shapes, and color combinations; for example, use some “spiky” plants, “roundy” plants and some “hanging-down” plants.

5. Any container garden will need periodic grooming—removing spent blossoms, etc. It is unlikely that a container gardener will maintain its good looks all summer. Some of the plant material will need to be replaced or cutback as the season progresses.

6. Choices of plants for containers are endless. Don’t limit yourself to annuals. Perennials, even trees and shrubs can successfully be grown in containers.

Take some time in the afternoon to look at your vegetable garden.  Checking plants during the hottest part of the day will tell you if there is enough water in the soil to support the growth the plants are doing now that we finally have some sunshine.  Okra is an excellent indicator plant since it wilts dramatically when it lacks water, but tomatoes’ young leaves  will also go limp from lack of water. Both the dry south and the wet north parts of Mississippi need to watch since over abundant rain in the north probably prevented root growth from expanding enough to support the plants. Gardeners in coastal Mississippi may want to fill bird baths or other containers with water for the bees so the squash and cucumbers will be pollinated

 Which vegetables survive flooding best? None! Green beans are the first to succumb to oxygen deprivation from flooding,  some tomatoes can survive with their roots  in water for a week, but no common vegetable can withstand being totally submerged for more than a few days. If you are in the flood zone don’t expect to eat from the vegetable garden when you get back.

 Hot pepper growers worried about tomato spotted wilt have a new variety to try. Galena is an Anaheim pepper with tolerance to TSWV. Anaheim peppers are the long green, mildly hot peppers normally stuffed to make chiles rellenos.

Minimizing Fire Ants in the Lawn and Landscape

Fire ant mounds have become quite visible in many lawns since the recent storms and warmer weather. Not only are the mounds unsightly but the sting from fire ants can be extremely painful and for some people even life threatening.  Therefore, controlling fire ants should be as much a part of your lawn management activities as mowing, watering, and fertilizing.  There are several methods of controlling fire ants but baits are probably the most convenient and easiest products for homeowners to apply.

Adhering to a few application tips will ensure the most effective use of bait.

•Don’t apply too much. The rate for most bait is only one to two pounds per acre.

•Use fresh bait. Ants are not attracted to old bait that has gone rancid.

•Since fire ants forage for their food apply bait by broadcasting it over the entire lawn and not just on top of mounds.

•Avoid applying bait just before rainfall and do not irrigate for at least two days after applying.

•Be patient as bait is slow-acting.

•Apply fire ant bait preventively. Don’t wait till you see large mounds.  •Apply bait up to three times per year, spring, summer, and fall for season long control.

•Eliminate mounds the bait misses with additional individual mound treatments.

Several excellent publications on fire ant control are available at your local extension office or from the  web at www.msucares.com.  Once at the home page simply type fire ants in the search box.

Article Source: Horticulture Tips for May 9, 2011 Lelia Kelly, David Nagel, Wayne Wells

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