News From 2023
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.
Weeds are often defined as being any plant out of place, but that definition never sat well with me. This simplistic definition seems to emphasize the aggressiveness of plants that don’t behave in the garden. For example, I’ve never heard anyone having problems with hydrangeas popping up in the landscape unexpectedly.
Sweet potato growers in Mississippi can get free nematode testing of soil samples they send to Mississippi State University from now until Dec. 31, 2024. The samples can be submitted in nematode bags available at local county MSU Extension Service offices; samples are also accepted in quart-sized, sealed plastic bags.
The tarnished plant bug is Mississippi’s No. 1 most economically damaging insect in cotton, costing an estimated $42 million in yield losses plus millions more spent to control the pest.
I’m a fan of whatever plants happens to be in bloom at any given time, but sunflowers are definitely one of my top five favorites, especially for use in arrangements. Last summer, I decided I wanted to have sunflowers every week until frost.
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.
The E.G. (Gene) Morrison Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station in Hinds County, which has sat largely vacant for two years, now has a new purpose, updated facilities and a new life after reopening this spring. The research station, part of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at Mississippi State University, is a 1,700-acre facility dedicated to cattle, forage and agronomic crop research. It is part of the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond.
Azaleas are starting to produce their beautiful flowers in my landscape, and it is a welcome sight after a few months of cold weather. Like many of your azaleas, mine had some tender, new growth that suffered cold damage from the freezing temperatures we got last December. I hope you did the right thing and did not do any pruning to your azaleas yet.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Teens can learn how to become active role models for healthy lifestyle change in their communities at an April 22 summit at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville.
The Promoting Healthy Living Through Community Connections Summit, wihch is open to 14- to 18-year-olds from northern Mississippi, will offer interactive educational sessions on nutrition, mental health awareness, community and civic engagement, and health promotion, wellness and physical activity.
BELZONI, Miss. -- A team whose mission is to “Keep Belzoni Beautiful” has earned national recognition for its work.
Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit organization committed to community improvement and beautification, presented the Mississippi State University Extension Service a Keep America Beautiful State Agency Partnership award for 2021. Only 13 such awards were presented nationwide. Keep Belzoni Beautiful -- KBB for short -- is a chapter of Keep Mississippi Beautiful.
MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. -- High school juniors can explore health and science careers and get a jump on college during the Rural Medical and Science Scholars program this summer at Mississippi State University. The June 10-29 program is now accepting applications until April 1.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When planting loblolly pine trees on well-drained soils, landowners should heed two basic rules: Don’t do it during a freeze, and make sure to plant roots and seedlings deep.
To increase the chance of survival on well-drained soils, some Southern regeneration foresters suggest planting loblolly pine in a deep hole with the root collar several inches below the soil surface.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Agricultural producers hoping for some relief from recent high fertilizer prices are not likely to find it in 2023.
Brian Mills, Mississippi State University Extension Service ag economist at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said fertilizer prices are expected to remain at 2022 levels.
“We do have good, high crop prices, and with high crop prices, you usually see input costs stay high and go up,” Mills said.
It’s time once again to clean those hummingbird feeders and cook up the sugar water. In Mississippi, we can set our feeders out in early March as hummingbirds are migrating north from southern climes. Providing food in backyards is important, as these birds need to consume half their body weight each day.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi Board of Animal Health reported Feb. 23 that a backyard poultry flock in Copiah County tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, often referred to as HPAI or H5N1.
This is the second backyard flock to test positive for HPAI. The first confirmation was in Lowndes County in November 2022. There have also been two detections in commercial broiler flocks, one in Lawrence County in November 2022 and the other in Leake County in February. All affected facilities were quarantined, and the birds were depopulated to prevent spreading.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi in the springtime has to be the prettiest place on Earth; flowers are blooming, hardwood trees are budding and flowering, songbirds are singing, and wild turkeys are mating. This is a special time and my favorite time of year.
VERONA, Miss. -- Producers come across issues each season that need to be addressed, whether they require new research on a problem or a commodity specialist who can help identify timely solutions.
For those people, February is the month to speak up. Specialists and scientists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are available specifically for them at three different MSU Research and Extension Center locations throughout the state during annual Producer Advisory Council meetings.
Native plants have garnered a lot of attention, especially because of their relationship to pollinators, but these plants are valuable for many other reasons. In addition to pollen, they provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife, as well as creating biodiversity in the ecosystem.
Dozens of agricultural producers met Feb. 21 with Mississippi State University professionals to offer direction on priorities MSU research and outreach should pursue in 2023 and beyond.
The event was the annual Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting, held at the MSU Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond. The half-day event was a listening session for MSU and an advising session for producers and those interested in starting ag businesses.
Go down the garden section of any home improvement store, and you will find a dizzying array of fertilizer options available to help you reach your garden goals. But which one should you choose?
The numbers on each bag of fertilizer mean something different, so let’s take some of the confusion out of this common problem.
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