Monthly Archives: October 2013
October Landscape Projects
In the landscape, October is the month to water, control weeds, and plant bulbs, trees and shrubs. It is also the month to wait until after a freeze to cut back perennial plants and wait for the soil to freeze before covering tender plants with winter mulch. Kelly Feehan, UNL Extension Educator, provides the following information.
Sometimes people ask if trees and shrubs should be watered at this time of year since their leaves will soon drop off; and how late in the season lawns should be watered. As long as the soil is dry, go ahead and water. Plant roots continue to grow long after leaves drop off trees and shrubs and after grass stops growing. Roots, rhizomes and stolons can grow well into November and fall watering promotes this growth helping plants recover from summer stresses. Plant energy can be used for root growth during fall since energy is no longer needed for leaves, flowering or seed production. Roots continue to grow until soil temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit with available moisture.
Water enough to moisten the soil to a depth of about eight to twelve inches for trees and shrubs and six inches for lawns. Keep in mind that a lack of oxygen due to a saturated soil is just as damaging to roots as a lack of water. Allow the soil to dry between watering.
Because roots continue to grow well into fall, September through October is a good time to plant deciduous trees and shrubs. For spring flowering bulbs, wait until soil temperatures drop to 60 degrees Fahrenheit to plant.
A common question asked about fall planting is if a starter fertilizer needs to be used at planting time. Starter fertilizers are high in phosphorous, a nutrient important to root production. The only way to know the answer to this question is to have a soil test taken. However, most landscape soils are high in phosphorous (P). Fall soils are often warm and dry which makes P more readily available. In most cases a starter fertilizer does not need to be used during fall planting.
More important is to plant at the correct depth. With bulbs, follow label directions for planting depth. It varies depending on bulb size. Some recommendations say to plant about one to two inches deeper than recommended. The opposite is true for trees and shrubs. Before planting trees, locate where the trunk flares out at the trunk base then plant at a depth so the flare is visible above ground. Do not loosen the soil beneath the root ball or the tree may settle and end up planted too deep. In heavier clay soils plant so the trunk taper is one to two inches above the ground.
October is the best time to control perennial broadleaf weeds like dandelions, ground ivy and clover. There is no ideal time during fall to apply lawn weed and feed products together. The best time to fall fertilize lawns is in early September and again in late October or early November. The best time to apply herbicides for lawn weeds is about mid-October before a hard freeze.
Weed control can be more effective and less herbicide will be applied where it is not needed by avoiding the use of combined weed and feed products during fall. One can achieve better weed coverage and control of established broadleaf weeds if the weeds are spot treated, typically with a liquid formulation of herbicide.
Here’s wishing you a great October of accomplishing landscaping projects!
Great information from Elizabeth Killinger, UNL Extension, regarding keeping fall invaders out of our homes!
Warm days and cool nights signal that fall is here. The pumpkins are ready to be picked, the leaves will soon be in full color display and the wolf spiders and crickets will start migrating into the home. Not exactly what you had in mind for a peaceful fall? Find out how to start preparing now to keep these invaders from making themselves at home in your home.
When the temperatures start dipping, the pests start coming in. Nobody really wants to spend the winter outdoors and insects are no different. Some of the more common nuisance pests, or occasional invaders, include boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian Lady Beetles, millipedes, and crickets. These pests don’t do any harm inside the home; they are just looking for a cozy place to spend the winter.
Proper identification of the insect will assure the proper control method. Boxelder bugs are black and orange true…
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National 4-H Week!
Did you know that more than 6 million young people across the United States are celebrating National 4-H Week October 6-13, 2013?! Research has proven that participation in 4-H has a significant positive impact on young people. Recent findings from the Tufts University 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that, when compared to their peers, young people in 4-H are:
1) Nearly 4 times more likely to contribute to their communities
2) Two times more likely to pursue healthy behaviors
3) Two times more likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the out-of-school time.
4-H is the largest youth development organization in the world! It’s a community of seven million young people across the globe learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. In the U.S., 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Overseas, 4-H programs operate throughout more than 50 countries.
To learn more about 4-H locally, contact our office at 402-762-3644 or on our webpage. We would like to visit with you about the program and how you and your youth could become involved! We’re always looking for potential volunteers and program ideas. You can also learn more about 4-H at the State and National levels.
Challenge-Wear a 4-H Shirt and Post it on Facebook or Twitter:
When to Post: October 6 to 12, 2013. Post your pictures then check back to “like” your favorite photos! Official voting ends October 13th at midnight.
How to Enter: Post your picture via:
1) Facebook: post to the event titled: 2013 Wear A 4-H Shirt
2) Twitter: use hash tag #weara4Hshirt
Be sure to tag your photo with your category entry! The picture categories:
1) Most People in One Photo
2) Nebraska Landscapes
3) Fun and Food
The best picture from each category will receive a prize!
What do Mycotoxin Levels Mean?
Last week I was receiving text messages from a few of our farmers about corn harvest results from damaged corn. Low levels of mycotoxins are being detected in samples thus far, thankfully.
Here’s What the Numbers Mean…
For aflatoxin, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set a recommended limit of 20ppb (parts per billion) for dairy animals, 100 ppb for breeding animals, and 300 ppb for finishing animals. To put this is simpler terms, a sample would need 20 affected kernels out of a billion kernels to be at the legal limit for dairy animals. So far, most samples are coming up at 5-6ppb which is very low.
For fumonisin, 20ppm (parts per million) is the recommended limit set by FDA for swine, 30ppm for breeding animals, 60ppm for livestock for slaughter, and 100ppm for poultry for slaughter. So, this would mean 20 affected kernels in a million kernels could cause a problem for swine. Again, our levels are averaging closer to 5ppm right now which are low.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) also known as vomitoxin is another mycotoxin being tested from grain samples. This mycotoxin causes reduced weight gain and suppresses animal feeding, especially in swine. Concentrations greater than 10ppm can result in livestock vomiting and totally refusing feed. FDA has recommended that total feed levels of DON not exceed 5 ppm for cattle and chicken, and 1 ppm for swine.
It is very important to sample from several places in the grain to get an accurate sample for damage and mycotoxins. It is also very important that black light tests are not used to determine the presence or absence of mycotoxins. Some of these mold fungi produce a compound that fluoresces under black light, but research has shown that this quality does not consistently predict the presence of mycotoxins (often provides false positives). Finally, before any of your storm-damaged corn is put in a bin, call your insurance agent out to get a sample!
Protecting Your Health with a Mask
There is some great information from the University of Nebraska Med Center on what types of masks to use to protect your health from molds and potential mycotoxins. Some people tend to have more sensitive immune and respiratory systems than others, so I’d highly recommend checking out these short videos.