News From 2014
Through the year, I get quite a few questions concerning landscape issues, plant care and plant identification. Answering questions and helping home gardeners find success in their gardening endeavors is fun.
I’ve gotten questions from as far away as California. I have to admit that some of the questions make me think I’m on a game show called “Stump Gary,” and I learn a thing or two researching the answers. This question and answer time feels kind of like two gardeners sharing landscape tips across the back fence.
Here are a couple of questions I’ve recently received:
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Morris Animal Foundation has named Dr. Cyprianna Swiderski, associate professor in the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, chair of its Large Animal Scientific Advisory Board.
Swiderski, an equine internist who studies airway disease in horses, credits Morris Animal Foundation with the early support of her research that helped to give it credibility. The foundation is a nonprofit organization and is the largest private funding source for research to advance the health of companion animals, horses and wildlife.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wild hogs are a nuisance and potential danger to farmers and landowners throughout the United States. Brought to the Americas by early Spanish explorers as a livestock animal and later transported by hunting enthusiasts, wild hogs have spread rapidly throughout the Southeast.
One reason wild hogs are a growing problem is they can adapt quickly to a variety of temperatures, climates and conditions. They also reproduce rapidly and have few, if any, effective predators, other than humans.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Excellent summer crop harvests in recent years is partly responsible for a significant decrease in the amount of wheat being planted in the state this fall.
Official estimates are not yet available, but Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he expects state farmers to plant less than 150,000 acres of wheat in 2014. Wheat planted in the fall is harvested early the following summer.
PRAIRIE -- Buyers shopping the Mississippi State University horse auction may be surprised to see bulls in the online photo lineup this fall.
This is the second year for horses in the annual Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station’s production sale to be auctioned online with eBay-style bidding. All the animals are available for viewing at http://www.auction.msucares.com.
NATCHEZ -- Owners of agritourism enterprises can learn new ways to market their businesses during an upcoming meeting in Natchez.
The Mississippi Agritourism Association Meeting will be held on Nov. 17 and 18 at the Natchez Grand Hotel. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is sponsoring the educational event.
Topics include organizing a media day, merchandising and retail tips, hosting a farm-to-table dinner, and marketing and advertising.
GOODMAN -- Fruit and vegetable growers can get information to help them prepare for spring planting during a Nov. 21 field day.
Experts from Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and Alcorn State University will present several educational sessions at the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Demonstration Farm Field Day in Goodman.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Third-graders attending an agricultural event at Mississippi State University Nov. 10-15 will be able to tell their parents about the sources of food, clothing and other common products.
PICAYUNE -- The public can look back at the early days of Mississippi’s Piney Woods region during the 12th annual Piney Woods Heritage Festival on Nov. 14 and 15.
The traditional skills, crafts and arts of the region’s people will be displayed at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune.
Visitors will view educational displays and skills demonstrations including blacksmithing, quilting, spinning, basket-making and more.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University professor emeritus recently received a national honor for his lifetime of service.
The Railway Tie Association, or RTA, executive committee gave Terry Amburgey, a Giles Distinguished Professor, the 2014 Award of Merit for his contribution to the industry. The award is given at the executive committee’s discretion and has been awarded only two other times since the association was formed in 1919.
This weekend, the thermometer in my garden got down to the low 30s and left me wondering if I’ve seen the last of my tomatoes and peppers. But it also reminded me that it’s time to transition to plants that thrive in lower temperatures.
Ornamental kale is one of my favorites for the cool season. There are so many different colors and leaf textures to add landscape interest. Don’t plant a single type. Mix and match for increased visual interest.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Producers who register by Nov. 26 will attend the annual Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course for free and gain information to make them more productive and profitable.
The 2014 Row Crops Short Course will be held at the Bost Extension Center at MSU Dec. 1-3. Those who register after Nov. 26 must pay $40 to attend.
By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Aquaculture
MSU Extension Service
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hunting is about individual responsibility. Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife management, said, “A particular virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians love holiday recipes with pecans, but an off year may make the nuts more expensive and harder to find.
Eric Stafne, associate Extension and research professor at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, said the state’s pecan crop is forecast at 1 million pounds. The state produced 5 million pounds last year, and Mississippi’s average pecan harvest is 2-3 million pounds.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soil-dwelling nematodes cannot be seen with the naked eye, but the damage they do to crops shows up in dollar signs.
“We have a tremendous problem in Mississippi soybeans since multiple nematode species can impact soybean producers,” said Tom Allen, Extension plant pathologist at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “Nematodes can bring a soybean crop to its knees, and other crops in the state suffer losses from these parasites as well.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine veterinary resident has received a national award for neurological research.
RAYMOND -- Many Mississippians enjoy the sport of hunting wild pigs, but trapping is a better way to control the rapidly growing population that is destroying forests, damaging agricultural resources and threatening native wildlife in the state.
Many Southerners (in general) and Mississippians (in particular) base their new plant selections on the annual recommendations from the Mississippi Medallion Selection Committee. The committee has just announced three winners for 2015: Delta Jazz crape myrtle, Suburban Nancy Gayle daylily and Top Pot scaevola.
Delta Jazz crape myrtle…
INDIANOLA -- The Mississippi Make it in America team is providing a free Reshoring Opportunities Workshop Oct. 30 at the Capps Center in Indianola, Mississippi.
The workshop’s goal is to assist companies in bringing advanced jobs back to Mississippi by enhancing skills and building competitiveness. Several units within Mississippi State University are part of this effort, including the Franklin Furniture Institute in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University plant virologist has been invited to join the prestigious executive committee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, or ICTV.
Sead “Sejo” Sabanadzovic, a professor in the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, was elected to the elite group of 18 international experts who serve as the leading authority on describing, identifying, naming and classifying viruses. Sabanadzovic is one of only three plant virologists on the executive committee.