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Growin’ Green

Be Safe When Working With Pesticides

By Brent Gray


Just keeping you in the loop. The 2nd Annual Yalobusha County 4-H Shooting sports Fundraiser will take place on Sept. 29 at the range located in Coffeeville. The first shot is at 9 a.m. Please come out and show your support.  
There will be a Fall Flower and Vegetable Tour at the Northeast Mississippi Research and Extension Center at Verona October 13th.
Don’t forget the Garden Fest at Crystal Springs Oct. 5 and 6. The gardens were not damaged and the display allows you to see how hundreds of different varieties compared in side by side rows.  The early date this year and the warm August we have experienced will give you a good idea about heat tolerance of flowers and vegetables.

HORTICULTURE TIPS

There should be several important factors considered when buying any pesticide for applying to your lawn.  Taking time to read pest control guides, pesticide labels, and knowing the size of your lawn prior to purchasing pesticides can be time well invested.  
Purchasing the wrong active ingredients, formulations or quantities can lead to several undesirable consequences including ineffective control, turf injury, application problems, or having excess or too little product to do the job. A few key questions that need to be considered are as follows:
What is the active ingredient?  This refers to the common chemical name and not the trade name of the product.  Pesticide recommendations are generally given in terms of the active chemical as there may be dozens of different brands or trade names and within these brands the percentage of active ingredient may be different.  This then leads to another question that you need answered.
What is the use rate?  You must know the percentage of active ingredient and the use rate to determine the amount you need.  One brand may contain 25% active pesticide and requires 4 ounces of product per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn.  With an 8,000 sq. ft. lawn one quart of this product would be just enough.  On the other hand another brand may only have 10% active ingredient so the use rate would need to be two and a half times that of the other brand and a half gallon of product would not be enough to cover your 8,000 sq. ft. lawn.
Is the product labeled for the intended use?  Be certain the product you are purchasing controls the target pest and can be applied on your lawn by you.  Some pesticides are very specific as to the pest they control or can only be applied to specific turf species.  Many pesticides have restrictions that do not allow them to be applied to home lawns or either they must only be applied by professional applicators.
How is the product formulated? Many active in-gredients can be formulated as granules, wettable powders, liquid concentrates or in diluted ready-to-spray products.
You need to determine if you have the necessary equipment to apply a particular type product. In addition you need to understand which formulation is the best for specific pests. For instance granular products are relatively easy to apply but they may not be effective for some lawn pest.
Be safe! The final and most important question is knowing what is required to keep everyone and everything safe. Always read the pesticide label carefully and entirely and follow all label directions regarding personal protection for mixing and applying the product and adhering to reentry periods.   The label is the law.

 
Mums for Fall
 
Bright, vivid colored mums are synonymous with fall. Think football games, hay bales, scarecrows, pumpkins, gourds and mums. Of course, the word “mums” is short for one of our favorite perennial garden plants, the chrysanthemum. Visit any garden center or nursery now and you will have many, many choices of colors and sizes. When making your selection choose a plant with good shape and lots of unopened flower buds to ensure a long flowering period.  Consider the bloom color and what other plants or accessories, such as gourds, pumpkins, baskets, pots, ornamental corn or whatever, will complement the flower.
For the most dramatic effect it is best to mass mums by color. If planting directly into a bed, be sure and space the plants so that the edges of each plant almost touch. Remember that odd numbers of plants tend to make the plants easier to arrange for that dynamic impact you are looking for!
If you’re planting in containers, plant enough mums so that the container looks full with a mounding effect above the edge of the container.  Mums combine well with many other plants. Ornamental grasses, ornamental cabbage and kale and pansies are just a few suggestions. Remember that the first killing frost we have will wipe out the mums.  At that time you can yank the plants out and toss them in the compost or just leave in place, cut the tops back, and keep the stems pinched back next summer to encourage bushiness. Stop pinching the stems back by mid to late June so buds will have time to form for fall flowering.   
Some early pumpkins have hurried through their growth cycle and look ready to harvest. Be sure the rind is hard before cutting the peduncle. Peduncle is the proper term for that part of the pumpkin plant that attaches the pepo to the vine. Pepo is the fruit. After cutting the peduncle as far from the pepo as possible, allow the pumpkin to dry thoroughly before using it for decorations outdoors. Drying  will help prevent rot from happening in wet weather.
There are reports of a shortage of collard seed in some locations in Mississippi. There are many on-line sources of seed with several adapted varieties of collards available. Collards are capable of surviving very cold temperatures, so don’t be concerned with a late planting date.
It is time to order strawberry plants.The plants should be set out in mid October to allow good root growth through the winter. Gardeners may harvest a few berries in December if the weather is unusually warm, but the main harvest will be next Spring.

Wayne Wells, David Nagel

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