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News From 1998

October 29, 1998 - Filed Under: Trees

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Brookhaven, Miss. is known far and wide as home to great camellias and to highly respected camellia gardeners, but on a recent trip, it was not the camellias that caught my attention but Japanese Maples.

October 23, 1998 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Holiday cooks may want to shop early while prices and supplies last for locally grown pecans.

"The 1998 crop could be the lowest crop in growers' memories," said Dr. Freddie Rasberry, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "The few pecans that were set early on were lost to drought stress and the hurricane."

October 22, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The Hyacinth Bean tunnel was a big crowd pleaser again this year as thousands of garden-loving Mississippians walked through it at the Fall Garden Day. This event was held Oct. 16 and 17 in Crystal Spring at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station.

The Fall Garden Day has acres of the latest garden vegetables, herbs and flowers, but what gets the most acclaim is a plant Thomas Jefferson grew in his garden and has been around forever.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Livestock

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When livestock are missing, a little-known Mississippi police agency moves into action with local law enforcement officials to recover the animals.

The Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau within the Department of Agriculture is responsible for working all agriculture-related crimes. Joey Gonce, center director, said cattle are most frequently reported stolen, but horses, swine, poultry, fish, chemicals, equipment and timber are also stolen.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Food and Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many people don't worry about cholesterol until they have a heart attack, but a little concern beforehand often can prevent many problems.

Dietary cholesterol is necessary for the body to function normally, but too high levels of these fats in the blood can be deadly.

Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the imbalance of blood lipids -- fats -- raises the risk of heart disease. Things such as stress, genetics and exercise all affect the amount of blood fat.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: 4-H, Pets

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Clay County hospitals will have some friendly yet unusual guests when 4-H'ers and their pets show up for therapy.

PAWS, Pets Are Worth Sharing, is a new program teaching Clay County 4-H'ers responsibility. PAWS trains youth and their pets for visits to nursing homes, schools and children's homes to offer a unique type of therapy.

Mary Ann Holloway, president of the PAWS program and owner of Paws-itive Attitudes Training Service, said PAWS offers a break in routine for people in nursing homes and children's homes.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Increased production and a new all-time record production value have given the Mississippi forestry industry a reason to celebrate.

As values and production increase, the economic importance of the forestry industry in the state continues to grow.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state has an abundance of creepy, crawly critters, but exactly which ones and in what numbers are questions the Mississippi Herpetological Atlas wants to answer.

This atlas is seeking to document where reptiles and amphibians are distributed throughout the state. Bird surveys are common, while atlases of reptiles and amphibians -- known as herps -- were not until recently when biologists documented the decline of amphibian numbers.

October 19, 1998 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Landscapes never look the same after a natural disaster, but steps can be taken to minimize the damages, and some relief may be available at tax time.

Damage to trees includes broken and torn limbs, wounds, split branches, exposed roots and fallen trees. The care given to injured trees depends on the extent of the damage, age of the tree and the time needed for the surrounding soil to reach normal moisture levels.

October 16, 1998 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The success of the 1998 pumpkin crop depended on the availability of August rains or irrigation. For most growers, this wasn't their year.

Pumpkins grow best in dry and warm (but not hot) conditions, said Dr. David Nagel, Extension horticulturist at Mississippi State University.

"They are drought tolerant, but not that tolerant. They aren't desert plants," Nagel said. "Two of the state's pumpkin growers who irrigate had a great year, but the rest of the growers were lucky if they had an average year."

October 15, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Pansies and chrysanthemums may capture the lion's share of the garden market this time of the year, but there are other selections we need to include in our fall and winter landscape.

The first is the flowering kale and cabbage. These ornamentals endure fall and winter with months of color. They are called flowering or ornamental because of the richly colored floral-like foliage. Inner leaves may be red, white, rose or pink against darker green outside leaves.

October 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Crops, Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many state producers will remember 1998 as a farming disaster as low market prices compounded yield losses from heat, drought and hurricane.

Corn and soybeans took the biggest hit as low yields matched lower prices. Production value for both fell 32 percent from 1997 even though acreage this year was higher than last.

October 8, 1998 - Filed Under: Cut Flowers and Houseplants

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

As the first cold front arrives in Mississippi, we face an ideal time to repot houseplants and get them ready to spend the cooler season indoors.

First, check to see if your plants need to be repotted. Water the plant well so that the soil sticks together. Knock the plant gently out of the pot and inspect the root system. If you have a really tight root ball, you may need to repot to the next size container.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Nuts

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When Hurricane Georges blasted through coastal Mississippi last week, the pecan crop took a beating, but nurseries escaped with light to moderate damage.

Extension agricultural agents in some southern counties described significant damage to pecans and trees.

John Wesley, Stone County Extension agent, called this year's pecan harvest in his county a complete loss. The crop was only about three weeks from harvest.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Food

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Restaurants and other establishments that sell food to the public are turning to two state agencies to meet new requirements for food safety certification.

"Everyone expects their food to be safe, and more people are eating away from home," said Lydia Strayer, director of the sanitation bureau for the Mississippi State Health Department. "People who prepare the food have to be properly trained, or it could lead to illness."

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While Halloween costumes can be as simple as a trip to the store, taking time with a child to create a costume at home can be fun for the family.

Dr. Betty Fulwood, apparel and textiles specialist for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said it has become common practice in today's fast-paced society to buy ready-made costumes. However, great costumes can be found at home for little or no expense.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Damage caused by Hurricane Georges could result in South Mississippi residents becoming victims of unethical or unqualified repairers or businesses.

Although judgement is often impaired during times of emergency, there are several ways consumers can avoid fraud.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Make safety and documentation top priorities when returning home and cleaning up after a hurricane.

"Personal safety is most important," said Sharon Frazier, State Farm Insurance spokesperson, but documenting losses is also very important.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Georges has passed, but the deadly aftermath has just begun.

Many South Mississippi residents purchased their first chain saws as the storm approached, but the risks abound for experienced operators as well.

Dr. Laurie Grace, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said chain saw accidents occur when the operators fail to respect the deadly potential of their saw and/or fail to wear protective clothing such as chaps, safety boots, eye and ear protection, and hard hats.

October 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest, Urban and Community Forestry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane winds took their toll on South Mississippi forests and urban trees, but the price was not as high as some feared.

"Most forest land and landscape trees dodged the bullet from Hurricane Georges," said Dr. Glenn Hughes, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Of course, if your are one of the homeowners who lost a treasured tree in your yard, you may not feel so lucky."

Hughes, who is based in Ellisville, said the hurricane-force winds apparently decreased quickly after landfall.