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News By Department: Plant and Soil Sciences

Pink and yellow lantana.
May 30, 2023 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape Design and Management

Summertime is officially here! Kids are out of school, and many people are gearing up for summer adventures with the family.

Young rice plants stand in a field.
May 26, 2023 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Rice

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- After taking a break from rice last year, Mississippi producers who typically grow the crop have returned to it this year. Hunter Bowman, Mississippi State University Extension Service rice specialist, said growers in the state have planted 119,000 acres of rice. That’s well over the 84,500 acres planted in 2022.

Tomatoes on a vine.
May 24, 2023 - Filed Under: Tomato Pepper and Eggplant, Vegetable Gardens

There’s nothing as divine as a homegrown tomato. I’m a sucker for a tomato sandwich or a BLT during summer.

A black lawn mower mowing a yard.
April 28, 2023 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design

May is here and you know what that means, it’s go time! 

A monarch butterfly on an orang flower.
April 25, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture

There’s nothing as magical and whimsical as a garden filled with colorful butterflies. They’re fun to watch, but they also play an important role in our environment.

Black swallowtail caterpillar on a plant.
April 21, 2023 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Did you know that certain plants provide food to certain butterflies? Just like adult and baby humans eat different things, the same applies to butterflies!

White daisies.
March 31, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture, Landscape and Garden Design

After an unseasonal cold snap in March, spring has officially started and the warmer weather is here to stay– at least for a little while. Hopefully, the cold didn’t damage your plants! Working on your yard is a great excuse to spend time outside now that the weather is nice. Here are a few things you can work on in your landscape for the month of April:

Alt Text: Close-up of freeze-damaged blueberries
March 27, 2023 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit, Local Flavor, Specialty Crop Production

POPLARVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi blueberry producers expect to see substantial yield losses in the state’s largest commercial fruit crop after the hard freeze that hit the state on the weekend of March 18. Eric Stafne, fruit and nut specialist with the MSU Extension Service, said growers will see significant losses. The condition of the crop is poor based on what commercial growers are reporting to him and his observation of damage to blueberry plants at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville, where he is based.

March 20, 2023 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Cut Flowers and Houseplants, Floral Design

MERIDIAN, Miss. -- Gardening and floral design enthusiasts and professionals can enjoy a floral design demonstration and reception at Merrehope in Meridian. Petals & Prosecco will feature Jim DelPrince, a horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. He will show attendees how to make 19th century-style mantel garlands.

Frayed Daffodils
March 17, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

For a few short weeks, daffodils grace the planet with their beauty and remind us of warm weather right around the corner.

Orange milkweed.
March 3, 2023 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture

I woke up to a dusting of yellow pollen on my car this week, the true sign that spring is on its way! Several flowers are blooming, making the world a little more vibrant after a cold, gray winter.

Bradford pear tree blooms
February 24, 2023 - Filed Under: Landscape and Garden Design, Trees

If you have Bradford pear trees on your property, you are quite familiar with the odor they release. How could such a beautiful tree smell like rotting fish? The odor isn’t the only thing that makes this tree undesirable.  

Yellow, purple, and blue pansies.
February 3, 2023 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Landscape Architecture

The weather has been brutal lately. Cold and dreary one day, warm the next. Nevertheless, signs of spring are starting to pop up. Yellow daffodils have already started to bloom, providing everyone with a reminder that the cold weather will soon be moving out of the area. 

Person with teal gloves planting tree.
January 6, 2023 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Landscape Architecture

Curb appeal is what everyone aims for, but how do you get that great looking yard? We all want a landscape that looks like it’s straight out of a magazine, and 2023 is the year to make it happen! Each month, we’ll put out a quick checklist of tasks to stay on top of yard maintenance. Here’s January’s list:

December 16, 2022 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Local Flavor, Specialty Crop Production

VERONA, Miss. -- Current and prospective greenhouse vegetable producers are invited to attend the Mississippi State University Greenhouse Vegetable Short Course March 7 and 8, 2023, in Verona, Mississippi. The short course, formerly known as the Greenhouse Tomato Short Course, will be offered at the MSU North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.

Red Nandina berries.
December 16, 2022 - Filed Under: Smart Landscapes

Heavenly bamboo, commonly referred to as nandina, is a popular, evergreen landscape plant that produces vibrant red berries and resembles hollies. 

Green garland on a table.
December 9, 2022 - Filed Under: Floral Design

I love Christmas decorations. There’s just something about the twinkly lights and greenery that makes my heart flutter. Over the years, I’ve experimented with making my own garland and arrangements from evergreens and other plants.

Gardening tools.
December 2, 2022 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

The holiday season is officially upon us, and Christmas shopping is probably at the top of your to-do list. To me, it’s important to gift people with something thoughtful, meaningful, and that they will enjoy.

Purple, yellow, and orange carrots.
November 11, 2022 - Filed Under: Food and Health

Have you ever seen purple, yellow, red, or white carrots? The first time I saw a bag of ‘rainbow’ carrots in my grocery store, I had to do a double take. Carrots are only supposed to be orange, or at least, that’s what I thought. 

A bouquet of flowers.
October 21, 2022 - Filed Under: Cut Flowers and Houseplants

I love filling my home with fresh flowers. I always have to browse the floral section at my local grocery store to see if there is a bouquet that must come home with me.