News From 2017
I really like to the flowering annual purslane in our hot summer landscapes. It's a vigorous, low-growing plant that forms a colorful carpet with succulent foliage.
But I plan to write about that wonderful plant in the future. Today, I want to extoll the virtues of one of its cousins: moss rose.
Moss rose has fleshy, succulent foliage that helps it hold up to the summer heat. The 1-inch-long, cylindrical foliage is bright green and arranged in clusters on the stems.
VICKSBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Gardener, Gary Bachman, would like to see Mississippi's historic bed and breakfast owners step up their game in the garden.
"What is your budget for your landscape and labor costs? Do you serve anything you grow and use your own flowers?" Bachman asked owners at a recent Mississippi State University Extension Service workshop. "I want to show you how, with minimal effort and minimal out-of-pocket expense, you can get a good return on investment from the landscape of your historic properties."
RAYMOND, Miss. -- A balance of timely rain and sunny skies is essential for large, sweet watermelons, but too much rain can wreak havoc on the melons and hit producers in the wallet.
Although most of Mississippi's watermelon crop is in good to fair condition, some producers are losing melons because of excess rain.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Microplastics, very small plastic particles, in the natural environment have been in the news a lot lately, but there are many steps we can take to reduce this problem.
These tiny, sometimes microscopic, particles come from larger pieces of plastic and fibers from breathable clothing. They have been the focus of much recent media coverage and are the subject of ongoing research, including efforts at Mississippi State University.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When Ann Rice leaves the Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory on June 30, she will conclude an educational 35-year career filled with unusual requests and interesting discoveries, some of which were about herself.
"When I didn’t have confidence in myself, others did," Rice said. "I never thought I could be a leader, but sometimes, I have had to step up and take the lead, like in the organic matter and plant tissue divisions."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Sunny, summer days and fair skin tones are not the only risk factors for skin cancer. Cold days, cloudy weather and dark complexions do not eliminate to risk of skin damage and cancers.
"Basically, anytime the sun is below the horizon is the only time any of us are safe from the damaging effects associated with ultraviolet rays," said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- It may have taken only one beetle and the fungus it carried to kill one-third of the nation’s redbay trees, according to scientists at Mississippi State University and the University of Florida.
Laurel wilt is a devastating disease of any tree or shrub species in the laurel family. The redbay ambrosia beetle, introduced from Asia into Georgia in 2002, carries the deadly fungus.
With summer officially here and hot and humid weather firmly in place, many gardeners -- myself included -- like to look at a pretty landscape, but don't really want to get out and do much work in that same landscape.
So selecting plants that look good without much work pique my interest. One plant that doesn't disappoint me is Sun coleus.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi landowners have tiny ponds that are not ideal for traditional largemouth bass/bluegill management. In ponds less than an acre in size, other species, either by themselves or in combination, can usually provide higher quality fishing opportunities than the traditional bass and bluegill approach.
A great choice for small ponds is to create a hybrid sunfish pond. Hybrid sunfish, sometimes called hybrid bream, are a good option for small ponds because they grow quickly, especially when fed, and they are easy to catch.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although 2016 brought unusually heavy infestations of and damage from fall armyworms, vigilance and prompt treatment can limit damage this year.
Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said fall armyworms were a problem in commercial hayfields, home lawns, sports fields, golf courses and commercial landscapes last year.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tropical Storm Cindy did not help the state's cotton crop that struggled with cool and wet weather all spring.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said in mid-June, cotton received about a week of the heat and sun it needs to thrive. Weather before that was not ideal, and rain remains in the forecast.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation co-hosted leaders of the largest nonprofit farmers' organization in the U.S. this week.
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and others with the Mississippi Farm Bureau met with agricultural producers and toured MSU research and Extension facilities across the state during their visit.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- King Solomon wrote thousands of years ago that there is nothing new under the sun, a truth played out daily by unscrupulous people putting modern spins on the age-old practice of fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission reported 20,588 Mississippians fell victim to some type of consumer fraud in 2016. Another 2,378 were victims of identity theft.
By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service
Providing expertise and knowledge to Mississippi dairy producers was not always a career goal for dairy specialist Amanda Stone.
Stone has been an assistant professor since August 2016 with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, where she works directly with students, dairy producers and MSU Extension agents.
Summer officially begins this week, and there are so many great plants we can grow during this season. But I really miss one that we can't grow in the summer: annual impatiens.
I always have impatiens in my late-winter and early-spring landscape. I've tried to oversummer some -- in the same manner as we overwinter plants -- in the shady areas of my garden, but this experiment is always met with bitter disappointment.
But all is not lost because I can grow SunPatiens, one of my favorite summer-flowering plants.
STARKVILLE, Miss.—After a national search, a statewide water resources institute led by Mississippi State University has a new director. L. Jason Krutz will lead the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute (MWRRI).
"Effective management of our state's water resources is essential not only to agriculture and economic development,but quality of life – and life itself," Krutz said.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether summer gardens are for beauty or food, this time of year is sure to bring wildlife into close contact with people's property.
Many gardens provide healthy and nutritious food for local critters such as armadillos, raccoons, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbits and a wide variety of insects. Gardens are usually easy for wildlife to access and offer an inviting buffet with such easy pickings concentrated in one area. All that time and labor you spent during the spring should not be tossed out due to these garden pests.
VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Mississippians from a wide variety of backgrounds spent a day thinking of new ways to use landscapes and gardens to bring more profit and better value to agricultural enterprises and historic homes.
Know Your Roots: Build Your Business brought 29 participants together for the daylong workshop June 13 at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center. Sandy Havard, Warren County agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, coordinated the event.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Insect pressure and a stagnant market are pushing Mississippi growers away from planting grain sorghum.
Compared with 2015, when the state had 120,000 acres of sorghum, producers harvested only about 11,000 acres of the crop in 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasted they would plant only 10,000 acres this year. If that prediction holds, 2017 will mark an 88-year low for sorghum production.