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Colleen Wilkins, owner of Sunnyside in Natchez, gathers ideas while visiting the Southern Heritage Garden at the Vicksburg National Military Park on June 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

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."

Consumers can find Mississippi-grown watermelons for their summer celebrations at stores and markets across the state, including these at the Byram Farmers Market in Byram, Mississippi, on June 27, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Watermelons
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

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.

This is an example of trash found recently at a popular fishing area on the Pearl River. (Submitted photo/Abby Braman)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

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.

Ann Rice remains grounded after more than three decades in the Mississippi State University Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory. Retirement will allow more time for her to spend in the garden on her family farm in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Soil Testing
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

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."

Erika Glenn of Starkville, Mississippi, does not neglect using sunscreen before exercising around Chadwick Lake on the Mississippi State University campus on June 26, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Health
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

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.

The tiny redbay ambrosia beetle was first found in the U.S. in 2002. It carries a fungus that is devastating to any tree or shrub species in the laurel family. (Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum/Joe A. MacGown)
June 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forest Pests
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU 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.

The Kong coleus has massive foliage and thrives in shady areas of the landscape. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

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.

Hybrid sunfish, sometimes called hybrid bream, are good options for small ponds because they grow quickly, especially when fed, and they are easy to catch. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries
By Dr. Wes Neal
MSU Extension Service

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.

Fall armyworms plague many Mississippi pastures, lawns and sports fields, but vigilance and prompt treatment can limit their damage. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests, Insects-Home Lawns, Turfgrass and Lawn Management
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

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.

Cotton across the state has been struggling with excess rainfall but remains in good shape at this point in the season. This cotton was growing in a saturated field June 22, 2017, at Mississippi State University in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Cotton
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

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.

AFBF Group: Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum, center, met with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, second from right, June 21 in Starkville, Mississippi. Duvall visited MSU for meetings with university leaders and tours of campus facilities. The meeting also included, left to right, MSU Associate Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Bill Herndon; AFBF Director of Executive Communications and Projects Lynne Finnerty; MSU Vic
June 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Farming
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

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.

Criminal minds find many ways to steal money and information from those they target. Consumers always must take precautions to avoid becoming victims of fraud. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

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.

Amanda Stone, dairy specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, studies the herd at the MSU Bearden Dairy Unit and brings the latest research-based information to the state’s dairy producers. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Dairy

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.

New Guinea impatiens are strictly shade-loving plants that can complement their sun-loving cousins, the SunPatiens. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

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.

June 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Water

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.

Armadillos dig up gardens in search of insects to eat but do not typically consume garden plants. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

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.

Warren County Master Gardener Yolanda Horne checks on worms living in a plastic bin on June 13, 2017. The worms were part of an exhibit on composting at the Know Your Roots: Grow Your Business workshop in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Community, Master Gardener, Lawn and Garden
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

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.

Grain sorghum emerges in this Oktibbeha County field June 14, 2017. Mississippi growers are projected to plant 10,000 acres of the crop this year, which would be a record low. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Grains
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

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.

June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Food Safety
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Electric pressure cookers can help home chefs get meals on the table in just minutes, but food science experts said preserving fruits and vegetables in these appliances can be risky.

June 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages, Lawn and Garden, Natural Resources
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

NEWTON, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites anyone interested in growing the state wildflower, Coreopsis, and other beauties to the July 13 Wildflower Field Day.

The event will be at the Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton and will include morning seminars and an afternoon field tour. It is sponsored by Keep Mississippi Beautiful, which is providing lunch.

Topics include native seed production, backyard habitats and milkweed management. Speakers are MSU Extension Service specialists and an industry representative.

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