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Environment Blog Posts

A person holds a canister of dry powder pesticide and a measuring spoon of powder over a fire ant mound.

September 11, 2018

Even if you preventatively treat your yard periodically through the year for fire ants, you’ll still see mounds pop up.

There are two ways to treat these mounds: liquid drenches and dry powders. (File photo by MSU Extension Service.)

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A shallow dish filled with soil and planted with several small succulents of different shapes, colors, and textures.

September 4, 2018

Sedums, also called succulents, are incredibly popular plants with an amazing range of colors, shapes, and textures. (Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A close-up of gloved hands pouring a liquid drench pesticide into a measuring cup.

August 28, 2018

Fire ant mounds always pop up right where you don’t need them – in the flower bed you planned to weed tomorrow, next to the mailbox that needs to be reset, and near the patio where you are throwing a party tonight. (Photo by Brian Utley/Cindy Callahan)

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Close-up shot of yellow, orange, and two-toned marigold blooms of red and orange. (Photo by Gary Bachman

August 21, 2018

Outdoor temperatures may shout summer is still here, but autumn colors are creeping into garden centers in the form of fall-flowering marigolds, sometimes called mari-mums. These hardy, warm-hued blooms are the perfect addition to your late summer landscape. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

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A close-up of a fire ant mound.

August 10, 2018

Fire ants are everywhere. If you’ve thrown your hands up in exasperation trying to deal with them, don’t give up just yet. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)

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A paper wasp on a multi-cell nest.

July 31, 2018

Mississippi has an abundance of bugs, especially in the warmer months. We are all familiar with mosquitoes, bumblebees, and house flies. But I bet there are bugs around your house and yard that you can’t identify. (Photo by Blake Layton)

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A plant with light green leaves and white flowers on tall stems grows in the shade under a tree.

July 17, 2018

With Mississippi's legendary summer heat, everyone wants some shade trees in the home landscape. But with shade comes a unique challenge: what plants thrive with less sunlight? (Photo by Gary Bachman)

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A brown tick is pictured next to a penny on a gray background.

July 10, 2018

Whether you work or play outdoors in the summertime, you are a prime target for mosquitos and ticks.

Aside from being irritating, insect pests can carry bacteria, parasites and viruses, such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which could make humans sick. It’s important to protect yourself. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)

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A man shows how to supplement supermarket floral bouquets with landscape materials.

June 25, 2018

Let’s face it. Sometimes we need a quick, inexpensive bouquet of flowers to give to a friend or family member or to freshen up our own spaces.

Jim DelPrince, Extension horticulture specialist, shows you how to use landscape materials to supplement those pretty bouquets you see at the supermarket and get more bang for your buck. (Photo credit: Zac Ashmore/Cindy Callahan) 

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Pink coneflowers which are native to Mississippi.

May 18, 2018

Native plants are excellent choices for any landscape. They are adapted to the climate, which makes them low-maintenance. Planting native varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs provides food and shelter for native wildlife. (Photo by Tim Allison)

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Magnolia leaves star in a small floral arrangement with white flowers.

May 10, 2018

Magnolias are synonymous with Mississippi, and the leaves and flowers are popular materials for all kinds of floral arrangements – wreaths, swags, table runners and other seasonal arrangements. (Photo by Zac Ashmore)

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A red-throated hummingbird hovers over a red geranium.

May 3, 2018

Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures and fun to watch. We usually begin to see them in Mississippi in March. Here are a few tips to draw them to your landscape.

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A coiled copperhead snake looks at the camera.

April 24, 2018

If you like to enjoy the great outdoors during spring and summer, you are not alone.

Whether you’re out hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, horseback riding, or working in your backyard, you’ll likely come across many types of wildlife, including snakes. Just the thought of a snake can cause many people to shudder with fear. But learning about the kinds of snakes you may encounter in your area and how they behave can help you avoid a dangerous encounter.

Most people refer to snakes as poisonous and nonpoisonous, but the actual scientific terms are venomous and nonvenomous...Read more

On the left is a close-up photo of a worker bee specimen, on the right is a close-up photo of a Southern yellow jacket specimen.

April 19, 2018

A yellow-gold insect buzzes around your head and your first instinct is to swat. Or run. Or swat while running.

The fear of being stung can send me into fight or flight mode in seconds . . . and I’m a beekeeper. True story. No one likes being stung! (Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum/Joe Macgown)

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April 13, 2018

Growing herbs in containers on your porch or doorstep gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

Most herbs grow without fuss, look lovely, smell wonderful, and add fabulous flavors to your home-cooked meals. More flavor means you can cut back on salt and fat! (Photo by Canstock Photo)

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An orange sunset on Biloxi beach with the Gulf of Mexico in the background.

April 10, 2018

When I think of the beach, I picture soft, white sand and pristine, blue water. But our beaches and oceans have a dirty little secret: trash.
 
That’s right, several tons of trash end up in our waterways and on our beaches every year in Mississippi. In 2017 alone, volunteers with the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup collected 13 tons of trash from 40 sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This trash isn’t just unsightly. It threatens the Gulf Coast’s ecosystem.
 

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An air plant terrarium is a hollow, vented glass container with decorative sand and pebbles, twigs or driftwood, moss, and a dusty green tillandsia plant, also called an air plant.

April 6, 2018

Air plants are popular, easy-to-care-for decorations. They are ideally suited for dorm rooms, apartments, and offices where watering plants may be more challenging, but are a lovely addition to any space. They also make great gifts, because you can buy materials in bulk. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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Four separate cucurbit crops grown in a field.

April 3, 2018

MSU scientists are on the lookout for a cucurbit crop bandit. And they need your help!

Cucurbit downy mildew is a sneaky thief with the ability to quickly and significantly reduce yields or wipe out entire crops of susceptible cucurbits, including cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and squash. (File photo by Rebecca A. Melanson)

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A piece of hardware cloth encircles a small, layered pile of organic waste.

March 20, 2018

Compost is a great soil conditioner. It helps the soil hold water and improves clay and sandy soils. Starting your own pile is easy and can help keep organic waste out of landfills. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

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Side by side photos showing the right and wrong ways to mulch around a tree trunk. (Photos by Kevin Hudson and Gary Bachman)

March 8, 2018

What do doughnuts and volcanoes have in common?

Mulch.

Properly applied, mulch can:

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu

Recent Posts

Three young people drive ATVs on a marked course in a field during a safety training.

Mississippi State University Extension 4-H members participate in the hands-on portion of an ATV Safety RiderCourse as Greg Biggs, 4-H agent in Madison County looks on.

4-H Contest Raises ATV Safety Awareness
A grouping of various kinds of cast-iron cookware sit on a kitchen counter.

Cast-iron cookware should be seasoned before the first use and periodically throughout its lifetime.
(Photo credit: Jonathan Parrish)

 

How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet
A person holds a canister of dry powder pesticide and a measuring spoon of powder over a fire ant mound.

Fire ant mounds will pop up throughout the year. Keep a dry powder pesticide on hand to treat them. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)

How to Treat Individual Fire Ant Mounds