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Red, green, and yellow pods on a Chilly Chili plant, a colorful pod producer without the heat.
September 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Late summer and early fall are among my favorite times of the year because the ornamental peppers are starting to really color up.

More and more fellow gardeners are jumping on the bandwagon and planting these beauties in their landscapes. These plants are hot -- in landscape character and accent -- and they carry the garden through the fall season and maybe beyond.

Most ornamental peppers begin setting fruit as the temperatures rise, so the best show is always saved for late summer and continues through the fall as they keep producing. This means you need to set these plants out in the late spring.

September 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A turfgrass specialist at Mississippi State University is receiving a major national accolade.

Jay McCurdy is the latest young professional recognized by the Crop Science Society of America for making significant contributions to the field within seven years of completing a final academic degree. He will accept the CSSA 2017 Early Career Award and accompanying $2,000 stipend late next month at the organization’s annual meeting in Tampa, Florida.

A Tennessee native reared on a sod farm in the Gibson County city of Dyer, McCurdy came to MSU two years ago after completing an Auburn University doctorate in agronomy and soils. He earned earlier degrees at University of Tennessee campuses in Martin and Knoxville.

September 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Environment
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

BILOXI, Miss. -- Volunteers can help tidy Mississippi’s beaches and other coastal areas during the 2017 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup on Oct. 21.

The 29th annual event begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. at more than 40 sites in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties. Participants will help remove plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts and other trash.

Organized by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force, this event has helped remove millions of pounds of trash from the state’s beaches, waterways and barrier islands since 1988. Last year alone, volunteers removed 14 tons of litter from about 200 miles of coastal area.

Two men move cases of bottled water in a storehouse.
September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Disaster Response
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. – First responders and disaster experts know that good intentions can lay the foundations for disastrous conditions after hurricane winds and floods subside.

Through the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Anne Howard Hilbun conducts disaster response training for citizens and emergency workers. She is an instructor with the MSU Extension Center for Government and Community Development.

September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Mississippi Well Owner Network, Rural Water Association, Water Quality
By Ms. Keri Collins Lewis
MSU Extension Service

BATESVILLE, Miss. -- Private well owners in seven Delta counties can get water samples pH tested and screened for bacteria and lead at an educational workshop in Batesville. 

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is cohosting a free well-owner workshop at the Extension office in Panola County Oct. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Residents of Panola, Tallahatchie, Sunflower, Bolivar, Leflore, Quitman and Coahoma counties can get their private well water screened for free. The workshop is open to all well owners. Attendance is not required to participate in the water testing.  

A gopher tortoise walking in one of south Mississippi's remaining longleaf pine forest.
September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Thousands of years ago, mastodons, giant ground sloths, saber-tooth cats and short-faced bears roamed the land now called Mississippi. More recently, Carolina parakeets, passenger pigeons and eastern elk lived in the forests and fields surrounding the homes and towns of European settlers living in the Southeast.

All of these animals are now extinct, which means no living individuals remain on the planet. Although climatic changes aided in the extinction of some of these species, others were lost to habitat loss and overharvest.

These are just a few of the many species in the U.S. and around the globe that are extinct. Others are on the brink of extinction. Unless we act, these endangered species may follow the same path as the mastodon and passenger pigeon.

A closed boll is seen on a cotton plant growing in a field.
September 15, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Cotton
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rain, cool weather, more rain and some wind have slowed cotton maturation, but since the crop was a little behind schedule, the damage may be less than if harvest were already underway.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said recent weather is causing some yield loss, but it is hard to estimate how much.

“Being late to a degree helped the crop because rain did not string out open cotton, but given that we are running out of heat, we may have been better off with an earlier crop that had been defoliated and was standing up when the rain came,” Dodds said.

A child’s hands poised above a collection of colorful insect specimens, pinned to Styrofoam blocks.
September 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Youth Projects, Insects
By Ms. Lindsay Caroline Pace
MSU Extension Service

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Students and families can explore and celebrate the insect world during the Crosby Arboretum’s 11th annual Bugfest Sept. 22 and 23 in Picayune.

The arboretum, a public garden operated by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, sponsors Bugfest to allow the community to foster curiosity and an appreciation of nature and adventure.

Participants can collect and identify insects alongside Extension entomologist John Guyton and others from the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology.

September 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuts
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

GREENVILLE, Miss. -- Pecan producers can learn the latest updates in their industry during an upcoming field day. 

The Mississippi Pecan Growers Association will host the 2017 Fall Field Day on Oct. 6 at Tri-Delta Pecans Inc., located at 537 Broadway Extended North in Greenville.

Topics include marketing, harvest, pecan grading, and food safety and quality control practices. Attendees will also tour the Tri-Delta Pecans cleaning and processing facility.

The Pinecote Pavillion stands in the background of the pond at the Crosby Arboretum.
September 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Landscape Design and Management, Environment
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum celebrates its formal, 20-year partnership with the university on Sept. 15. 

On that date in 1997 the facility was incorporated into the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. Managed by the MSU Extension Service, the arboretum is an award-winning, internationally recognized native plant conservatory dedicated to research, education and preservation of plants found in the Pearl River Drainage Basin. 

"The arboretum is regarded as the premier conservatory in the Southeast, and it is an important keystone of Piney Woods heritage,” said Pat Drackett, arboretum director. “It is a wonderful educational tool that helps teach people about our local ecosystems and preserves them for future generations. We are honored every day to help fulfill the vision shaped by the Crosby family and the Crosby Arboretum Foundation almost 40 years ago."

A small tree grows in the shadow of a mature tree.
September 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Landscape Design and Management, Trees
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are devastating reminders that storms take a terrible toll on landscapes and proof that some trees hold up better than others.

Mississippi landscapes must withstand flooding, hot summers, seasonal drought, ice storms, winters that can dip to single digits, a humid and subtropical climate, and high winds from hurricanes and tornadoes.

John Kushla, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, said native vegetation handles a wide variety of environmental conditions, but some species are able to survive storms better than others.

A Lycoris, pink/red flower with no foliage, better known as the spider lily or naked lady.
September 11, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

This is the time of year many gardeners have been waiting for all summer.

If you’re thinking about the cool front that blew through this past weekend, I’m afraid you’re incorrect. What I’m talking about is the emergence of naked ladies in gardens all across Mississippi.

I’m talking about the seemingly magical plants known botanically as Lycoris. Common names include magic, surprise or resurrection lily, but some gardeners simply call them nekkid ladies.

a nest built by mice using insulation and a variety of other materials
September 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

Now is the time of year when many of us notice the pitter-patter of small feet in our attics or walls.

Complaints of mice in and around homes are common in the fall. The house mouse is one of the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. House mice damage structures and contaminate food sources meant for humans, pets, livestock and other animals.

During the fall, both the house mouse, which spends most of its life in human dwellings, and the deer mouse, which spends warm seasons outside, are searching for food and warm shelter to nest and breed during the winter.

Two black cows in pasture
September 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Beef
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

The first shipment of U.S. beef to China in more than 13 years reached its destination in June, and Mississippi cattle producers are beginning to see modest rewards of new market access.

Current cattle prices in Mississippi are up from a year ago. Lightweight cattle are $1.67 per pound, while heavyweight feeder cattle are around $1.35 per pound. A year ago, lightweight cattle were $1.55 per pound, and heavyweight cattle were in the range of $1.17 per pound.

“The cattle market has exhibited strong demand through most of 2017 despite the increased supply of cattle in the U.S.,” said Josh Maples, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Prices have generally decreased over the past month, which is due to a combination of seasonal factors and the increased supply.”

Man examining a pine tree for evidence of beetles
September 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Trees, Forest Management, Forest Pests
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi is having a breakout of tiny beetles that use pheromones to gather sufficient numbers of reinforcements to overwhelm healthy trees.

Current Mississippi Forestry Commission flyovers indicate nearly 5,000 separate Southern pine bark beetle outbreaks across the state. Outbreaks can range from just a few trees to more than an acre of infested and dying pines.

Outbreaks are especially bad on national forestland, but homeowners and private landowners are also experiencing the problem.

September 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-business, Trees
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

CARROLLTON, Miss. -- Producers interested in growing fruit trees can learn about tree grafting and varieties during a Sept. 15 field day. 

Southern Cultured Orchards and Nursery in Carrollton will host the Alliance of Sustainable Farms event. Attendees will see a grafting demonstration, learn about varieties that grow well in Mississippi and tour the farm’s orchard.

The field day is free, but preregistration is required. Onsite check-in begins at 10 a.m. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. The field day begins at Stephenson’s Bluff, located at 1012 College St. in Carrollton. 

These Lucky Pink pentas offer a rich pink color on branching, compact plants.
September 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service
I’m often asked which flowering plants I think are best for our landscapes and gardens. This is not a simple question!
 
Through the Southern Gardening column and television program, I try to highlight great garden plants. Of course, these flowering plants happen to be my current favorites. That means my list of favorites is in a constant ebb and flow, as many readers know.
 
Today, I want to tell you about a landscape star that is shining brightly while others have faded pretty badly as we near the end of the meteorological summer. Today’s star is the penta. The reference to stars is very apt, as one common name for this plant is Egyptian Star Cluster.
Harvesting corn at Simmons Planting Co. in Arcola, Mississippi, on Aug. 22, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
September 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Corn
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi producers are optimistic that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey that moved through the state in late August were not enough to stop corn harvests from reaching a new record.

As of Aug. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 51 percent of the corn crop was harvested. Growers had a few more days to tackle remaining acres before rains came through the state. USDA estimated that 78 percent of the crop was in good or excellent shape.

Erick Larson, grain specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said many early yields exceeded 200 bushels an acre, with dryland acreage producing at almost the same rate as irrigated acres. The state’s record average yield was 185 bushels set in 2014.

Four fourth-grade girls show off their personal identification cards that are passes to federal parks.
September 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Natural Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Those of us with a strong connection to the natural world know that attachment was born and strengthened through personal experiences we had outdoors as children, generally when family members took us outside to spend time, relax or have fun.

A new nationwide program began in 2015 with hopes of increasing access to federal public lands for fourth-grade students, along with the goal of establishing connections to the outdoors. Every Kid in a Park begins its third year on Sept. 1, 2017. Every fourth-grader has easy access to a free pass for admission to public land from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2018. 

August 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Home gardeners and horticulture professionals can learn about the latest plants, research and gardening techniques during the 39th annual Fall Flower & Garden Fest on Oct. 13 and 14. 

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