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Kyle’s News & Reviews In Agriculture

By Kyle Jeffreys

Last Saturday the Yalobusha County 4-H S.A.F.E.T.Y. participants competed in the district competition in Charleston. Even with the rainy weather all participants did an awesome job.  Our county had a total of 44 kids shooting five disciplines this year.  The main takeaways from the weekend were everyone was safe, everyone had a good time, and all of the scores showed improvement throughout the year.  

Once again I must mention the rain that has plagued our area for the entire spring.  Friday night and Saturday I had 1.8 inches in my gauge at home.  Some of the area received rainfall on Thursday night, but not at my house.  The forecast shows heavy rain coming back in the area for the latter part of this week. I guess that is just what we need.  

For those of you who start seeing shrubbery or trees in your yard dying in spots throughout the canopy, I would suspect root rot diseases to start showing up.  

Root rot diseases are prevalent in soils that are heavier (meaning clay type) and hold a lot of water during extended rainy periods.  Some signs of root rot include older leaves yellowing and dropping from the canopy, dead spots throughout the canopy, roots turning a dark brown color, or leaf margins discolor.  

There are options to help this issue including improving drainage around the root zones of the plants.  Natural controls that can help with root rot include adding mycorrhizae fungi to the root area to promote new root growth.  Chemical fungicides can be used to treat plants that are showing signs of this disease, but  this will not completely cure a plant if it has the disease.  

Attracting Pollinators

By Dr. Gary R. Bachman

MSU Extension Service

Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself joining home gardeners everywhere in planting more plants to attract pollinators.

In fact, along with being a stop on the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail, my home landscape is also registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, which has the goal of registering one million pollinator gardens. If you’d like to register your garden, go to for more information.

One of my go-to plants for attracting pollinators, especially the various bumblebees, must be salvias. It doesn’t matter which variety, I just have to have salvias growing in my landscape.

Rockin’ Playin’ The Blues salvia is a plant that I have to call one of my best choices. I’ve been growing this perennial going on three years now. It produces beautiful blue flowers all summer long.

A nice feature I like about the plant is its sterility, which means the gorgeous flowers don’t produce seed that could cause a weed problem. I like that the blue calyx remains after the actual flower falls off. This means the color has an even longer-lasting landscape effect. I enjoyed watching all the bumblebees and other pollinators enjoying the nectar filled flowers.

It was interesting a couple of years ago when a tropical storm dumped rain on us over the course of four days. It would rain like crazy for a while, and then we would be in a calm period. Every time the rain stopped for a while, the bumblebees would come back to the Rockin’ Playin’ The Blues plants.

Another perennial salvia I like is the group of Salvia farinacea. They tend not to be flashy, but they do draw the pollinators.

Victoria Blue salvia is an old reliable that was selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner way back in 1998. It was good then, and it’s still good now. This is an upright perennial that will need some winter protection in northern Mississippi. The rich, deep-blue flowers are displayed on spikes and are produced through the summer and into fall. This plant will grow to about 18 or more inches tall and 12 inches wide. Check out this Southern Gardening TV segment on Salvia farinacea: Gary Bachman identifies several varieties of salvia that grow well in Mississippi landscapes.

I can’t forget to mention that there are fantastic annual salvia selections. One of my favorites is Salvia splendens. As the name suggests, they are splendid in the landscape. They have the common name of scarlet salvia but come in a variety of bright colors.

The Vista series is one of my favorites. These plants are well behaved and growth tops out at a compact 12 inches. The flowers on the spikes are densely packed. Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen these plants in the summer trials in both Mississippi and Louisiana. Both the red and purple varieties looked great despite the high summer heat and humidity.

Salvias appreciate it when their planting beds have good drainage. Mine always do well in containers, the bigger the better. Be sure to grow in the full sun, and I know you’ll be growing salvia for years to come.

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