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Environment Blog Posts

A person spreading mulch in a flower bed.

March 26, 2020

Everyone’s normal routine is being flipped upside down. Employees are working from home, kids are out of school, and social gatherings are postponed. Boredom and stress are setting in. Gardening to the rescue! 

Small white dots appear on a pruned crape myrtle branch.

March 16, 2020

If you’ve got crape myrtles, you should be on the lookout for Crape Myrtle Bark Scale. This invasive pest can turn easy-to-care for shrubs and trees into high-maintenance plants covered in a black, sooty mold.

While the insects won’t kill the tree outright, the tree will eventually produce fewer and smaller blooms if the insects are allowed to reproduce year after year.

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A red bird water feeder hanging on a tree.

March 2, 2020

I can remember watching the birds at my grandparents’ house growing up. We would sit on the porch swing with a bird identification book in hand, and watch the birds fly up to the bird feeders and bird bath in the yard. 

A closeup of a person with white gloves planting cabbage.

February 21, 2020

The first two months of 2020 have been exceptionally wet and dreary. But don’t lose hope, spring is right around the corner! The daffodils are blooming, and warmer days are in sight. 

A person pruning a tree branch with red shears.

February 17, 2020

Although we still have some cold weather in store, now is the time to start thinking about pruning. Late winter and early spring are the times to prune fruit trees, including apple and pear trees. 

A red pruning tool cutting a branch.

February 4, 2020

If you’ve got landscape chores on your mind, pruning is no doubt on your list. Crape myrtles are a staple in landscapes across the state because of their low-maintenance beauty.

A person with yellow gloves on planting a shrub.

January 27, 2020

It may be chilly outside, but don’t let that deter you from going outside and working in your garden and landscape. Grab a jacket and your gardening tools, there is plenty to be done during February! 

A tree planted in green grass with brown mulch around it.

January 21, 2020

If you are planning your spring garden chores, mulching is likely on your list. But you may not know that there is a right and wrong way to apply mulch.

A group of house plants sitting next to a window.

January 10, 2020

If you need something green to brighten up your space or get you through the winter months, there is a plant out there for you. But efore you shop for plants, understand the environment of your home or office because different plants have different needs. You must consider six factors when choosing indoor plants if you want to be successful: light, temperature, water, humidity, soil, and fertilization. 

A green recycling bin sitting next to a black trashcan.

January 6, 2020

Video by Michaela Parker

At the beginning of a new year, everyone makes goals and resolutions to keep throughout the coming months. If you want to make more eco-friendly decisions, here are a few tips to help you become intentional with recycling. 

  1. If you are fortunate to have curbside recycling or drop off locations in your community, take advantage of the opportunity! Be sure to check when recycling is picked up and where drop off sites are.
  2. Know what can’t be recycled. Batteries, electronics, plastic bags, clothing, garden hoses,
  3. ...
A person with green gloves pruning a tree with yellow leaves.

December 16, 2019

Do you have improving your garden or landscape on your New Year’s resolution list? If you don’t, you should! Each month, we are going to offer a few suggested tasks to do. So, without further ado, here are four tasks for you to complete in your garden and landscape during the month of January:

 
A group of red poinsettias.

November 26, 2019

Poinsettias, a common Christmas plant, are in bloom during December. (Photo by MSU Extension)

A small tree in a black container inside a freshly dug hole.

November 22, 2019

If you have a certain spot in your yard that you’ve been thinking about planting a tree, now is the time to do it! The hardest part of planting a tree is picking out which type to plant!

Multiple sweet potatoes in a box.

November 8, 2019

Sweet potatoes and yams. They’re the same thing, right?

Not really. They look and taste different. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are sweeter with a smooth, thin skin. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A group of yellow and red pansies bunched together.

November 1, 2019

If you’re anything like me, the last few months of the year are always the busiest. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything in between, I feel like I’m running all over the place. With colder temps here, the to-do list for your garden and landscape is shrinking. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, be sure take some time to get things prepared for winter and spring! (Photo by MSU Extension)

Colorful flowers planted in a white pot.

October 29, 2019

Container gardening is a quick and easy way to spruce up your front porch during the fall and winter months! My favorite cold weather plant is the pansy. They’re easy to take care of and they bring the perfect amount of color to any landscape. They also act as the perfect spiller plant for a ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ styled container. (Photo by Michaela Parker)

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October 17, 2019

If you have caladiums in your landscape and want to be sure they come back next year, you’ll need to dig them up just before the first frost. Mississippi’s winters are too cold for the plants to survive in the ground.

Ripe muscadines on the vine.

October 15, 2019

If you want to grow muscadines at your home, choosing the right variety can be intimidating. With so many varieties to pick from, how do you know you’re picking the right one?

A mum with maroon budding flowers in a clay pot.

October 1, 2019

Nothing says fall like buying mums to incorporate into your home landscape! They’re the perfect plant to transition from hot to cool weather. With several gorgeous colors to choose from, mums are a must for fall weather.

Rows of yellow mums.

September 27, 2019

Fall is my favorite time of year. The autumn colors people incorporate into their landscape just make me giddy! 

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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