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Environment Blog Posts

A black and white skunk.

May 6, 2021

A skunk knows how to make its presence known. With their furry black and white coats and pungent odor, they’re hard to miss! Mississippi is home to two species of skunks: the spotted skunk and the striped skunk. The striped skunk is the most commonly found skunk in the state and are easily identified by, you guessed it, a white stripe on their back. 

Freshly mowed lawn.

April 29, 2021

As warmer weather creeps in, many people find themselves spending more time outdoors and working in their yards. If you’re like me, you’ve probably made a trip or two to your local garden center looking for plants and other garden necessities. After reading over May’s garden checklist, it looks like you may need to make a few more trips. Here are some tasks to check off this month. 

Graphic showing differences between carpenter bees and bumble bees

April 23, 2021

What’s the difference between a carpenter bee and a bumble bee? A lot. They look similar, but they are very different. Find out more about the habits of each one.

April 22, 2021

It’s that time of the year when people are on the hunt for the perfect container plant combos. It’s tempting to head to the local garden center, pick out the best-looking flowers, and plant them with wild abandon. However, planning is an important part of the gardening process. Before you go to the garden center, decide where you want to put your container. This will help you purchase the right flowers for the space.

old paint, batteries, and medications.

April 15, 2021

If you’ve been spring cleaning, you may have come across some items you need to donate, recycle, or throw out. Learn what to do with items that shouldn't go in the regular trash or standard recycling bins.

A rabbit in a field.

March 31, 2021

Did you know eastern cottontail rabbits are the most commonly found mammal in the United States? They have made themselves right at home throughout the eastern two-thirds of the country.

A field of orange and yellow marigolds.

March 29, 2021

If you’re anything like me, I find any excuse to get outside. The warmer temperatures and colorful blooms are refreshing, especially after the cold winter we had! Working on outdoor chores is a great excuse to get some fresh air. Here are a few tasks you need to cross off your checklist during April:

Red and green tomatoes with blossom end rot.

March 18, 2021

Don’t believe everything you hear. That piece of advice can be applied to gardening as well. We’ve all done something because a friend said that it works.

An Eastern Wild Turkey in a field.

March 11, 2021

Spring is here, and wild turkeys are on the minds of many Mississippians. While there are five species of wild turkeys, Mississippi is home to the Eastern wild turkey, which is the most abundant. 

A ruby-throated hummingbird.

March 4, 2021

Ruby-throated hummingbirds will soon be migrating north, so it’s time to prepare for their arrival! Most ruby red-throated hummingbirds will be throughout Mississippi by the end of March.

A person using a green manual fertilizer.

February 25, 2021

Pat yourself on the back. You made it through the historic February ice storm! The weeklong event probably set you back on your garden chores and likely created more work for you to do. Tidy up any damage and get your spring garden in shape with these garden tasks.

A worker bee sips honey from a piece of honeycomb in a frame.

February 23, 2021

While it seemed like winter would never end last week, many parts of Mississippi are already experiencing spring-like temperatures. I can’t think about the return of spring without thinking about bees!

For several years, my husband and I kept several bee colonies after he took an MSU Extension beekeeping course. When people ask us how to get started beekeeping, it’s no surprise our first recommendation is always, “Talk to your local Extension agent!”

An Eastern mole.

February 19, 2021

If you’ve noticed irregular, snake-like raised ridges throughout your lawn, Eastern moles have most likely found themselves at home. They are known for building a network of tunnels underground, and typically spend 90 percent of their lives there.

Eastern moles are around 5 to 7 inches long and are covered in brown or grey fur. At a glance, they look similar to mice. Despite their resemblance, they are actually more closely related to shrews and bats than they are mice! Eastern moles have hairless snouts, paddle-like claws, and poor eyesight. Their eyes are sensitive to the light...

A person wearing yellow gloves using a pair of loppers to prune roses.

February 10, 2021

Video by Michaela Parker

Pruning your rose bushes is one late winter chore you shouldn’t overlook! It’s so easy to neglect yard maintenance, especially during cold weather. Pruning helps shape the bush, remove dead canes, open the center for air flow, and stimulate new growth. 

Pruning any plant can be intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite easy. Before you get started, it’s comforting to know that roses are very forgiving plants. They will grow out of many mistakes you may make. Whew!

You’ll need three tools: sharp pruners (never use...

Four pots of soil on a blue background.

January 28, 2021

Everyone’s favorite yellow daffodils will be popping up soon and you know what that means! Spring will be here soon! While you wait, there are a few things you can start doing in your yard and garden to get ready for spring.

Red fox in a field.

January 21, 2021

“What does the fox say?” That’s a question we may never know the answer to, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the song before!

Bright green burweed in a patch of dead grass.

January 14, 2021

Having “stickers” in your yard can be quite the nuisance. Stumbling upon a patch of stickers while walking barefoot is a painful experience. Plus it’s painful for your four-legged family members! Formally known as lawn burweed, these winter annuals are no fun to deal with.  

Seed packets on a display in a garden store.

December 21, 2020

Staying on top of your gardening chores can be quite the task. When do you plant shrubs? When do you prune crape myrtles? That’s why we’re here!

Real Christmas trees piled with curbside garbage

December 18, 2020

If you celebrate with a real tree, you’ll have to decide how to dispose of it once the holiday is over. You have some good options for recycling the tree instead of sending it to the landfill.

A person wearing a green shirt scraping a stem with a razor bade.

December 10, 2020

Propagating plants may sound like a hard task to take on, but it’s a cost-effective way to add beautiful plants to your garden. It’s yet another reason you should have friends who are gardeners!

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu