My favorite definition of a horticulturist is paraphrased as “We make plants do what we want, when we want them to do it.” The holiday season is the perfect time to show off these skills, and a prime example is the poinsettia. This plant “blooms” in its native Mexico around Christmas. But using science and plant physiology, we have poinsettias colored up from late October through the Christmas holidays.
BILOXI, Miss. -- The Southeast has some of the most commercially and recreationally valuable fisheries in the United States. However, anglers’ observations of fish populations don’t always match the results of official stock assessments for important reef fishes.
As we enter winter, many gardeners consider this a less interesting outdoor season compared to the warmer spring and summer seasons. To add color, we depend on cool-season annuals like dianthuses, pansies, violas, and the various kales and cabbages. Of course, we’re also entering camellia season, but that’s really about it.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Time is running out to preregister for the 2022 Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course.
The course, scheduled for Dec. 5-7 at the Cotton Mill Conference Center in Starkville, is hosted by the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
Online registration is available at http://extension.msstate.edu/row-crop-short-course. Preregister by Nov. 27 for free admission to the conference, which includes all meals. Registration on or after Nov. 28, including at the door, is $40.
Mississippi pecan producers faced a particularly challenging year with drought and then rain at the wrong time, but irrigated orchards are making a good crop.
Eric Stafne, fruit and nut crop specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the dry summer did one very good thing: It helped control pecan scab, a disease that is often a problem for the state’s pecan trees.
Although it’s only mid-November, poinsettias will be arriving very soon at garden centers -- some may have already arrived -- for the holiday and Christmas season. In many people’s minds, the traditional poinsettia color is red. And let’s face it: A red poinsettia is beautiful. My favorite continues to be the traditional red. But red is not the only color available.
A variety of pests threaten Mississippi forests, presenting a challenge to landowners who lack experience in managing land or even knowing what problems to look for. Brady Self, a forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that good first step is to simply do a walkthrough and look for things out of place.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Larry Haley is expecting a busy year at his Christmas tree farm in Saucier. Haley said he sells about 500 trees per year. That may sound like a lot, but they go fast. Families who want to be sure to get the perfect tree should visit their local tree farm as early as possible.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi Board of Animal Health is asking backyard bird owners to be vigilant in their biosecurity procedures after a commercial breeder chicken flock in Lawrence County tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI.
A Mississippi State University Extension Service horticulturist will demonstrate evergreen Christmas decorations in the Hernando town square Nov. 12. Jim DelPrince, who works in Biloxi at the MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center, will be part of the “Dickens of a Christmas” market in downtown Hernando.
I’ve always enjoyed the fall season in the landscape and garden. I find the moderating temperatures refreshing, which helps me get my second wind when taking care of gardening chores. Many of our summer annuals seem to feel the same way about the reinvigorating fall weather. In fact, I think these summer annuals actually look their best in the fall. There is no better example of this than zinnias grown in the fall.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University Extension program coordinator will serve as chair of the Extension Disaster Education Network, EDEN, for a two-year term.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- A long-time Mississippi State University entomologist and researcher has been named head of the MSU Delta Research and Extension Center. Jeff Gore assumed the role on Nov. 1.
Now is the time to plant one of the great, classic cool-season annuals. While they have a dainty look, violas are tough plants that will perform through the fall, winter and into the spring landscape and garden seasons. Violas go by either of the botanical names Viola tricolor or Viola cornuta, but most gardeners I know call them by their common name, Johnny jump ups.
A Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist contributed to the most recent edition of the American Institute of Floral Designers’ “Guide to Floral Design.” Jim DelPrince, Extension horticulture specialist, was a co-author of the third edition of this reference book. He also served as terminology researcher for the publication, which was announced July 5 in Las Vegas.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Lorin Harvey has heard from several Mississippi sweet potato growers that the quality of this year’s crop is the best they have seen in 20 years.
“The high quality of the crop is what stands out to me this year,” said Harvey, sweet potato specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We have to see how things hold up in storage, but I have high hopes.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Class is officially in session for the newest members of Mississippi’s principal agricultural leadership program.
The third class of the Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program -- or TCALP -- features 10 participants in a range of careers, from farming to sales and law, linked to food and fiber production.
My wife, Katie, and I continued our travels in Florida after I was a keynote speaker for the Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Conference. We enjoyed collecting seashells on Cocoa Beach while watching the latest SpaceX launch. As children of the 60s who grew up watching the exploits of NASA, this was really cool!
Recently in my role as a Mississippi State University Extension specialist, I had the opportunity to promote horticulture and bring back great tips from friends in Florida. On Saturday, I co-hosted Better Lawns and Gardens on WFLA-Orlando with my great friend Teresa Watkins.
“Snow” appearing on the sides of highways and bare ground visible for miles is a sure indication that row crop harvest in Mississippi is well underway. As of early October, the majority of the 2022 crop was already harvested, although much work remains for certain crops.
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