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Environment Blog Posts

A thin, eight-point buck stands beside a wall with drool coming from his mouth.

November 13, 2018

Hunting is a Big Deal in our family, and the news in mid-October that a second deer in Mississippi had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, was met with dismay. (Photo by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism/Michael Hopper)

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Fingers steady an upside-down flower pot as a drill bit pierces the bottom to make drainage holes.

November 6, 2018

You’ve got a lovely container, and you want to put a plant in it. But if that container doesn’t have drainage holes, you’ll end up with a dead plant. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A close-up of a trail camera’s display window as it is being programmed.

October 30, 2018

Trail cameras aren’t just for hunters. They can be great additions to the backyard if you enjoy observing visiting wildlife. Trail cameras also capture what happens while you’re at work, school, or asleep. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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Extension for Life header.

October 9, 2018

If you struggle to keep houseplants healthy, you probably don’t have the right plant for your home or office.  (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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MSU Extension agent Sandy Havard wears a maroon shirt and holds an Extension soil sample box.

October 2, 2018

If your lawn, landscape, or garden look a little sickly, it might be time for a soil health checkup. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A single hummingbird stands out against a blurred background as it feeds on homemade nectar at a feeder.

September 25, 2018

It’s September, and that means hummingbirds are preparing to migrate to warmer climates for the winter.

These tiny creatures need lots of energy to make this trip. You can help by providing feeders for them to visit as they pass your way. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish)

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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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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