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Environment Blog Posts

Red fox in a field.

January 21, 2021

“What does the fox say?” That’s a question we may never know the answer to, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the song before!

Bright green burweed in a patch of dead grass.

January 14, 2021

Having “stickers” in your yard can be quite the nuisance. Stumbling upon a patch of stickers while walking barefoot is a painful experience. Plus it’s painful for your four-legged family members! Formally known as lawn burweed, these winter annuals are no fun to deal with.  

Seed packets on a display in a garden store.

December 21, 2020

Staying on top of your gardening chores can be quite the task. When do you plant shrubs? When do you prune crape myrtles? That’s why we’re here!

Real Christmas trees piled with curbside garbage

December 18, 2020

If you celebrate with a real tree, you’ll have to decide how to dispose of it once the holiday is over. You have some good options for recycling the tree instead of sending it to the landfill.

A person wearing a green shirt scraping a stem with a razor bade.

December 10, 2020

Propagating plants may sound like a hard task to take on, but it’s a cost-effective way to add beautiful plants to your garden. It’s yet another reason you should have friends who are gardeners!

Yellow flowers turned brown.

November 24, 2020

12/12. We’ve finally reached the end of 2020. I think everyone can agree that it’s been a heavy year. Here’s to 2021, right? I hope staying active in your lawn and garden has brought you a sense of normalcy during this crazy year. If anything, hopefully it’s been a good distraction!

Closeup of ornaments and lights on a Christmas tree

November 11, 2020

Choosing, cutting, and bringing home a real Christmas tree is a fun, family tradition that makes memories to last a lifetime. If you plan to have a real tree this year, be sure to observe some safety rules.

A close-up of a campfire.

November 4, 2020

Video by Michaela Parker

Cooler temperatures mean it’s campfire season! There’s nothing like spending time outside roasting marshmallows over an open fire. Whether you’re in your back yard or on a camping trip, knowing how to build a campfire is a skill everyone needs to know! You never know when knowing how to build one will come in handy. 

  • Prepare your area. It’s recommended to select an area away from flammable materials. Choose an open area that’s clear of trees. If you’re building a campfire from the ground up, build a
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A man raking leaves into a wheelbarrow.

October 27, 2020

Video by Michaela Parker 

The year is winding down. The weather is finally cooling off and the leaves are slowly, but surely, changing colors. Cooler weather means fewer things to do in your garden. (Are you rejoicing or feeling bummed?) Before we wrap up the year, however, complete a few tasks in your lawn and garden to be ready for the spring! Here are four tasks to do in November:

  1. If you’ve ever wanted to plant trees or shrubs in your yard, now is a good time to do so. Wait to plant your tree or shrub until after the soil
  2. ...
A large, red mum.

October 2, 2020

Did you know that watering mums from the bottom is best? Watering at the base of the plant keeps water off the leaves and reduces the chances of fungal problems. Check out our other tips to keep your mums looking good all season.

A hand with a a grey glove on planting a series of bulbs in the soil.

September 28, 2020

Video by Michaela Parker

We’ve finally made it to fall! The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing colors, and I can’t wait to purchase pumpkins and mums for my front porch! 

If you’re trying to stay on top of what tasks you should be doing in your yard and garden, check out these four for the month of October.

  1. It’s time to plant your spring flowering bulbs, such as daffodil, daylilly, & iris! Hold off on planting tulips and hyacinths until later in the year. If you purchase them now, place them in the refrigerator for
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A person using their foot to shovel dirt from a trench.

September 24, 2020

Backyard drainage problems are not fun to deal with. A big rain comes and suddenly your backyard turns into a puddled mess! Having standing water in your yard can lead to turf diseases, mold, or wood rot to your home. Nobody wants to have to deal with that! Consider installing a French drain in your yard during the upcoming fall and winter months. A French drain allows water to naturally drain from your yard. 

An assortment of litter retrieved from a watershed displayed on a wooden dock.

September 17, 2020

Are you tired of seeing used masks and gloves dropped in the parking lot at the grocery store? Me, too!

“Pandemic litter” is a relatively new problem, but pollution is nothing new. I grew up watching the ad that admonished, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!”

Battling the coronavirus requires the use of some single-use items, but they don’t have to end up on the ground!

Here are three tips to help keep Mississippi beautiful!

Close-up of a fire ant mound

September 4, 2020

If you want fewer fire ant beds in your yard, the best way to achieve that goal is to maintain a consistent management plan throughout the year.

Four house plants in white pots.

August 28, 2020

And just like that, we’re three-fourths through the year! Cooler temperatures will be here before we know it, hopefully sooner rather than later. Even though we all know the heat will stay around a little longer, it’s time to start preparing for fall and winter.

Two wooden chairs on a porch underneath a tan shade sail.

August 21, 2020

If there’s one thing all Mississippians can agree on, it’s that the summer sun can be brutal. I enjoy spending time on my back patio, but it’s hard to enjoy without shade. I’ve noticed several restaurants, parks, and pools have installed shade sails to provide shade to visitors. Why not install one in your own back yard? 

Descriptive graphic explaining what webworms are and how to treat them.

August 14, 2020

If you’ve noticed spiderwebs in your pecan trees, chances are they’re not spiders. They’re fall webworms.

A cluster of bright pink roses.

July 30, 2020

Whew. It’s hot outside! Just a trip to the mailbox makes me break into a sweat. As you’re outside working in your lawn and garden, remember to stay hydrated and come inside if you start feeling overheated Here are four tasks to complete in your yard for the month of August: 

An orange butterfly on a yellow flower.

July 23, 2020

What are pollinators and why are they important? Bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, and other mammals play a vital role in our environment. These creatures help move pollen from one flower to another, which helps fertilize plants so they can reproduce.

An emerald ash borer sits on a green leaf.

July 16, 2020

Do you have ash trees or white fringe trees in your home landscape? If you do and you love them, you should be on the lookout for the emerald ash borer.

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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