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June 25, 1997 - Filed Under: Community, Family

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Before getting out in Mississippi's heat, consider the consequences of mixing alcohol with summer outings.

If summer plans include any time on the state's lakes and rivers, boaters need to be aware of the regulations and the penalties concerning Boating Under the Influence.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will continue to enforce alcohol regulations that went into effect in 1996.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When some parents think of vacations with kids, they get an instant headache as pictures pop in their minds of crowded cars, unending "are we there yet?" questions and cranky children.

Dr. Louise Davis, Mississippi State University extension child and family development specialist, said traveling with children can be restful and fun for everyone. It just takes some preparation.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food Safety

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Grilled meats, potato salad and meringue pies are typical summer foods served at cookouts and picnics, but these goodies can reach the danger zone when not handled properly.

Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said cooking out and having picnics are fun ways to enjoy the summer, but outside conditions make cautious food handling extra important.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soils

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Experienced farmers know the importance of lime, but this is the first year growers could select from two grades depending on their price range and success expectations.

Larry Oldham, extension soils specialist at Mississippi State University, said acid soils limit production of every crop in Mississippi. These soils require lime to neutralize the soil acidity for maximum economic productions.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hectic schedules often make people wish they could be in more than one place at a time, but technology available through Mississippi State University can make this possible.

Through video teleconferencing, university specialists can present a program once and have it sent via satellite to hundreds of sites around the state. Without leaving their community, audience members can see and ask questions of the speaker, often hundreds of miles away.

June 23, 1997 - Filed Under: Insects, Lawn and Garden, Insects-Pests

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Peaceful walks and relaxing fishing trips can be ruined with just one wrong step in a mound of hundreds of stinging fire ants.

Mississippi, as well as several other states in the Southeast, is home to this pest that infests lawns, pastures, gardens and occasionally houses. Fire ants are a nuisance, but there are some strategies for controlling the tiny beast.

Dr. James Jarratt, extension entomology specialist at Mississippi State University, said landowners can choose from a variety of control methods.

June 20, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's corn is battling for decent yields as cool, wet weather hampers growth and triggers common rust disease throughout much of the state.

"Corn is in its critical pollination period which is the most sensitive time for any stresses," said Dr. Erick Larson, extension corn specialist at Mississippi State University. "The weather conditions since Memorial weekend have caused an unusually heavy outbreak of common rust in corn fields."

June 19, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Gardeners are always asking me what they can plant for color in the shade. Many people overlook foliage plants like coleus, and the new varieties of coleus will amaze you.

With the advent of the SuperSun coleus, we have varieties that will work right out in the middle of a pasture. Texas A & M has been evaluating coleus for full sun conditions in scorching hot cities like El Paso, Houston, Amarillo and Dallas/Fort Worth.

June 13, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cool, rainy days have delayed cotton growth, but not boll weevils. Cotton's No. 1 enemy is emerging from overwintering and searching for cotton squares.

"Even though boll weevil numbers are high, I'm not as concerned about them as I am about the crop as a whole," said Mike Williams, extension entomologist at Mississippi State University. "The insects don't even want the cotton at this point."

Spring conditions have delayed the cotton's growth by at least two weeks in most areas of the state.

June 12, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Heirloom plants are making huge comebacks for gardeners everywhere, particularly in the South.

One heirloom plant regaining attention is the Vitex agnus-cactus, or the Lilac Chaste tree. They are for sale at many nurseries, but you probably don't recognize this member of the verbena family.

The gorgeous, lilac-blue flowers are fragrant and produce over a long period during the summer. Even the leaves release a spicy odor when crushed.

June 9, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forestry, Timber Harvest

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippians don't see the forests for the pines. Pine trees are not the state's only timber resource, just the most noticeable.

As Mississippians drive along state highways and see acre after acre of planted pines, some wonder if the state is losing its hardwoods. However, the majority of trees growing in Mississippi are oaks, hickories and other hardwoods.

June 9, 1997 - Filed Under: Soils, Lawn and Garden

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- One gardener's trash can become his treasure in a matter of weeks.

The piles of weeds, clippings and leaves often discarded can instead be naturally recycled. A well-tended compost pile quickly changes mounds of organic matter into rich soil additives.

Dr. David Nagel, Mississippi State University extension horticulturist, said compost is the result of microorganisms processing organic waste.

June 9, 1997 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Soils, Forest Soils, Lawn and Garden, Forestry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Erosion is more than an unsightly nuisance because if left unattended, it can wash away vast amounts of soil.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said erosion is simply soil being moved by water or wind. Some degree of erosion occurs nearly everywhere.

"Anytime you scratch up the surface of the soil, you're going to have the potential for erosion if you don't put some type of cover over it," Oldham said.

June 6, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sixty years after the first June Dairy Month, Mississippians are still enjoying the product, but substantially fewer farmers continue in the business.

"Just in the last five years, Mississippi has lost about 40 dairy herds annually," said Dr. Reuben Moore, extension dairy specialist at Mississippi State University. "It's a matter of profitability. These dairies would not be closing if the financial incentive was there. Someone would take over the operation."

June 5, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Weeds by any other name often do smell as sweet. The name "weed" conjures up thoughts of nutgrass, Johnson grass, crabgrass and dandelions. Weeds we love to hate.

Butterfly weed and Joe Pye weed are at least two instances where taxonomists or botanists gave plants names that turn off gardeners, but butterflies (and many gardeners) love these two Mississippi natives.

May 30, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soils

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippi farmers are witnessing too much of a good thing.

Moisture is an important ingredient in establishing a new crop, but rains in the last weeks of May have left many crops struggling to develop uniform stands.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said most fields need drier conditions and warmer weather.

May 29, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

California is home to two of the most beautiful trees in the world, the redwood and the giant sequoia. If you have ever seen them, you were probably like me and just stood there in awe.

More than likely you returned to Mississippi wishing you could grow such spectacular trees. You can. Both the redwood and sequoia are in the redwood family.

May 26, 1997 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Family

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homeowners must face continuous efforts to keep their houses in good condition, and when animal invasions occur, people struggle to win a battle against nature.

Mississippi residents often face small intruders, such as mice, wanting to share their homes, but other unwelcome guests may also become home invaders.

"Squirrels, raccoons, bats and birds will occasionally come into homes that have unsecured vents, chimneys or other small openings," said Phil Mastrangelo, state director of Animal Damage Control.

May 26, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Several Mississippi farmers have made smart management changes and increased their average yields by more than 14 bushels an acre.

At $7 a bushel, that increases income by almost $100 an acre. If half of the state's 2 million soybean acres saw this increase, soybean income would rise about $100 million annually.

May 26, 1997 - Filed Under: Environment, Natural Resources

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Whether hunting for turkey or a better way to manage forestland, a project underway at Mississippi State University can help.

The Mississippi Gap Analysis Program is collecting data to provide a complete picture of the state's natural resources. The program will provide a wealth of information on how to better manage Mississippi's natural resources.