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From The Ground Up

Nutrition And Food Safety Duties Beckon

By Pamela Redwine

Well, my time as Interim County Director will soon come to an end and I will resume my full-time responsibilities as a Nutrition & Food Safety Area Agent for the Extension Service covering 11 counties in the Northeast District.  I would like to thank everyone for your support during the past year. I have enjoyed working with the many different groups and clients that the Extension Service works with each day in Yalobusha County. I have learned much from this experience and am grateful I had this opportunity.  

Brent Gray will be beginning his duties as the new Extension Agent with Agriculture focus on Mon-day, Aug.1. Brent will also be serving in the County Director’s role for Yalobusha County. Brent comes to us from Terry, Miss. and brings with him a wealth of agriculture knowledge.


Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana) is a spreading perennial broad-leaf weed with opposite, lance shaped leaves producing small, four-lobed white flowers when in bloom that eventually develop small football shaped seed pods.  It becomes very difficult to control in a lawn once established since it has the potential to reproduce by seed, fleshy roots and from stem fragments.

Virginia buttonweed favors moist to wet areas, but can spread throughout the lawn. Pre-emergent herbicides provide only fair control of new seedlings and are ineffective from spreading by vegetative plant parts. Therefore, post-emergent herbicide applications are the most effective means of management.

Products containing phenoxy (hormonal) type chemicals such as 2,4-D, mecoprop, dicamba, fluroxypyr, etc. are effective if applied several times during the growing season. The sulfonyl-urea type chemicals including chlorsulfuron, metsulfuron, trifloxysulfuron, sulfosulfuron, etc. are also very effective at extremely low use rates.

Caution should always be taken to calibrate application equipment and apply herbicides accurately to prevent turf injury. Read product labels carefully and completely as not all products can be applied to all warm-season turf species. More specific information on controlling weeds in home lawns can be found in the turf section of Extension publication #1532 Weed Control Guidelines for Mississippi. This publication can be downloaded from the Extension web at

Treet Planting, Pruning and Mulching

This is not the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Heat and periods of drought in summer can take their toll on late-planted trees and shrubs. Save your money and wait until late fall and winter to plant.

Spring-flowering evergreens like azalea, camellia and rhododendron should not be pruned now as they have started setting flower buds for next spring’s blooms. You will be cutting off next spring’s flowers if you prune now.

When trimming around trees and shrubs you should be very careful not to nick the bark with the mower or weed-eater. Even the slightest damage may make an entrance for borers or other damaging insects.

Covering the ground surrounding the base of the plant with mulch will eliminate the need for trimming the grass and is very beneficial in other ways. It looks attractive, retains moisture, inhibits weeds, adds organic matter, and buffers soil temperature fluctuations during changing of the seasons. Please DO NOT pile the mulch around the trunk.

 Mulch should form a “volcano” around the base of the tree or shrub. Piling mulch around the trunk is very detrimental.  See Extension publication 2301, “Mulches for the Landscape” for further information on mulching.

Summer thunderstorms bring welcome water and heat relief to the garden. The water is sometimes in the form of ice. The fruit of tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, and tree fruit like apples, peaches and persimmons can be bruised by the hailstones. Several days later the gardener notices little bruises on the fruit. Sometimes fungus or yeast will grow on the exudate where the hailstone ruptured the skin. One of the diagnostic clues that hail damage occurred is that the bruises are all on the upper or outer side of the fruit.

Fall gardening is just a few weeks away. It is difficult to think about cool season vegetables when the heat index is around 110, but planting for Fall starts in just a few weeks. Shallots can even be planted now.  It is time to get the seed catalogues out and order cabbage, broccoli, greens and other fall favorites. This may be the year to try growing onions from seed planted in October rather than buying plants next February.  Pre-ordering strawberry plants for October delivery will ensure the variety you want is available.

Several gardeners have grown edible sunflowers this year and are asking when and how  to harvest. Allow the plant to dry until the back of the flowers are brown,  hard and crispy. Harvest the whole flower head and hang it in a shady location for several days until the seeds are easily removed from the seed head by just rubbing.


Article Source: Horticulture Tips for July 19, 2011 Wayne Wells, Lelia Kelly, David Nagel

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