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April 28, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many people don't realize there is an art to mowing a yard, especially if the turf is to thrive and look good.

Dr. Mike Goatley, Mississippi State University associate professor/agronomist, said the type of grass determines its care. St. Augustine grasses need to be cut at 2 to 3 inches tall, centipede at 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches, and Bermuda and zoysia at 1 to 2 inches.

Although most lawns require mowing about once a week, Bermuda and St. Augustine varieties grow very fast and should be cut every three to four days, Goatley said.

April 25, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton, once king in Mississippi, is losing ground to other crops as production costs and market prices prompt some growers to venture away from their historical favorite.

Dr. Will McCarty, extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University, said switching from cotton can be a difficult move.

"If you already have the cotton equipment and farm labor costs, no other crop will pay the bills like cotton," McCarty said.

Growers typically plant cotton on the best land, which also rents for higher prices.

April 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Strawberry jars can be the focal point of your porch, patio or deck. Before you're distracted by visions of tiny plants in glass jelly jars, let me explain what a strawberry jar is.

A strawberry jar is a terra-cotta pot with fairly large holes around it. They come in 1, 2, 3 and 5 gallon sizes. Many of you pass them by because those holes look like more of a problem than a wonderful opportunity, or you have no intention of planting strawberries.

April 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Corn is growing this year on fewer Mississippi acres than last year, but the crop appears to be off to a good start despite being planted slightly behind schedule.

Dr. Tom Jones, Mississippi State University extension agricultural economist, said state farmers planted 630,000 acres of corn in 1996 and expect to plant about 550,000 acres this year. Most corn planting should be complete by April 20.

April 17, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Fertilizing our lawns, gardens and landscape plantings is one of homeowners least understood practices. Every year countless home gardeners apply fertilizer and cross their fingers for good luck.

While managing a tourist site with 61 rose gardens, I noticed a huge difference in the plants' performance based on proper fertilizing efforts. The gardens mostly had been taken care of by volunteers.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Pets

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Pets are an invaluable part of many American families, but the key to this happy relationship is a proper matching of pets and owners.

About 45 percent of Mississippians own pets, according to a recent survey conducted for the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Richard Hopper, extension leader of veterinary medicine at Mississippi State University, said many factors should be considered before commiting to care for an animal.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Family

By Bonnie Coblentz

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While eating apples each day is supposed to cut down on doctor visits, a more fun way to do the same thing is to own a pet.

Research has shown that people benefit in many ways from having a pet. Companion animals have more consistent behavior and give unconditional affection that humans rarely offer.

A survey conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association found that more than half the pet owners surveyed, if stranded on a deserted island, would choose the companionship of their pet over another human.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Learning how to treat animals is an important step in a child's educational process.

Tom Miller, owner of Sunshine Farms in Noxubee County, said allowing children the opportunity to interact with various animals is beneficial academically and socially.

"We want children to learn how to love and respect animals. If they learn that at an early age, they will have learned how to love and respect human beings," Miller said.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Ownership has its benefits, especially for pets.

Unwanted pets and stray animals often end up dead beside the road, or suffer from sickness and disease, said Dr. Roger Wilbur, a veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Some of these had owners who no longer want them, while others are descendants of strays.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If you can stand the pain before seeing a surgeon, you don't need a hip replacement.

Although vast improvements have been made in joint replacements in the last 20 years, nothing a doctor does will last as long or as well as the original joint.

Dr. Rusty Linton, orthopaedic surgeon in Columbus, said if performed on a person meeting the ideal criteria, replacing a hip can be like getting a new life.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Not just a human affliction, arthritis often strikes the four-legged members of society as well.

Horses and dogs are the most common victims of arthritis in animals. Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease caused by injuries, growth or hereditary problems, and loose joints.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Family Dynamics, Pets

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many animals have habits that neighbors, guests and owners don't appreciate, but a good, well-behaved pet usually can be traced to a good home.

A pet's personality and habits are shaped largely by what it is exposed to. Without the proper environment, an animal can become unhealthy and unhappy. Destructive behavior in pets can actually be avoided by placing pets in appropriate surroundings.

Pet owners should take precautions when preparing for a new pet.

April 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As cases of rabies in domestic animals are reported closer and closer each year to the Mississippi state line, officials are concerned the state might be running out of luck.

To address this potential problem for Mississippi's dog and cat populations, state Health Department officials and members of the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association are joining forces to protect animals and people.

Vaccination clinics for cats and dogs will be held on four weekends at numerous sites around the state.

April 11, 1997 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit, Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- To the untrained eye, Mississippi simply experienced a colorful spring. To fruit and pecan growers, it was like a breath of fresh air.

A March freeze in 1996 wiped out the state's peach and blueberry crops. Pecan trees still are not 100 percent recovered from the 1994 ice storm. But this year, the forecast is much improved.

Dr. Freddie Raspberry, extension horticulture specialist at Mississippi State University, said the undependable nature of Mississippi's fruit crops has driven many growers away from the business.

April 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

There's a new belle in the South, and her name is not Scarlet. This time it's New Wonder, Scaevola aemula, an Australian import that's drawing widespread attention in the floral industry.

New Wonder recently garnered top honors from the Cooperative Extension Services in Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia where it was named Mississippi Medallion, Louisiana Select and Georgia Gold Medal Winner for 1997.

April 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A projected soybean increase of 200,000 acres is pushing Mississippi's planted acreage up for 1997, despite drops in cotton and corn.

Mississippi is expected to plant 3.9 million acres in the state's top four crops -- soybeans, cotton, corn and rice -- compared to 3.76 million acres last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Planting Intentions Report, released March 31, revealed few surprises. Rice was the only other row crop expected to increase acreage in 1997, jumping 19 percent to 250,000 acres.

April 3, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Tapien verbena is all the rage at nurseries and with home gardeners across the state. Tapien was hybridized in Japan by the same breeders that brought us the Surfinia petunias.

Limited supplies were available last year and Tapiens quickly sold out as gardeners were amazed at the profusion of blooms. They are available at most nurseries right now, but I suspect they will disappear fast again.

March 31, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As television has evolved from being a good source of family entertainment to an issue of concern for many parents, Americans have developed different ways of protecting their children from television smut.

Recently, some networks have addressed these concerns by introducing movie-like ratings for TV programs.

Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said parents should be ready to help children interpret TV programs appropriately.

March 31, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Landscape Architecture

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Knowing that proper landscaping can add as much as 15 percent to a house's value makes it easier to avoid the temptation to hire someone to do the work just because they are cheap.

Patricia Knight, assistant horticulturist with the South Mississippi Research and Experiment Station in Poplarville, said landscaping takes time to learn and do correctly. Hiring someone to do landscaping without knowing their credentials or references can be a big mistake.

March 31, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Landscape Architecture

VERONA -- Pictures might help some home landscapers choose plants, but others may prefer an up-close-and-personal look at a demonstration landscape.

A visit to the Magnolia Botanical Gardens could be a surer way to see how the plant will fit into a landscape plan. The four-acre botanical gardens are the latest addition to the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.

The horticulture commodity group developed plans for the gardens following a recommendation at the center's 1996 Advisory Committee meeting.