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News From 2005

Ogon, a leading variety of Japanese sweet flag grasses, is outstanding with its golden color combined with green variegation.
August 4, 2005 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Ogon, the leading variety of Japanese sweet flag, is just beginning to attain all the wonderful landscape possibilities that it is capable of achieving. This year has given me a new appreciation for this member of the lily family.

Dwarf sweet flag, mostly called Japanese sweet flag, is known botanically as Acorus gramineus. Although still fairly new in our local markets, this grass is drawing increased attention.

August 4, 2005 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The right tools give catfish producers an edge in the battle against production problems, and research is providing those tools.

Ongoing research at Mississippi State University's Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center focuses on several aspects of catfish production. Two major problems facing producers are trematode infestation and off-flavor. Researchers have found that one chemical applied in the correct dosage can help producers win battles against both problems.

July 29, 2005 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cool, wet weather in the spring months gave Mississippi sod a slow start, but rains in June and heat in July helped the grass turn in an overall good performance.

“Things are going pretty well right now for the state's sod producers,” said Wayne Wells, turf specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “I've talked with producers, and they seem to be moving quite a bit of grass right now.”

July 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cooperative Demonstration Field Days will provide landowners, managers and others with opportunities to learn how to plant and manage dove food plots for legal fields to hunt over during upcoming seasons.

July 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Beginning gardeners and old pros all will find something to like at the 2005 North Mississippi Garden Expo.

The Sept. 17 expo at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona is free. Tours and other activities begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m.

“Visitors can tour the Magnolia Botanical Gardens and other areas at the center devoted to fruits and vegetables, turf grass and ornamental plants,” said event coordinator Crofton Sloan.

July 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station will hold a research and demonstration tour on Aug. 4. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m.

The station is located on Highway 15 about seven miles south of Pontotoc.

Research activities with corn, cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes will be highlighted during the tour of the station’s research fields.

The dark-purple Cognac is one of several newly released Joseph's coat varieties.
July 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

No matter where you go in the South right now, the plant that seems to be in a constant state of standout performance is the alternanthera, or Joseph's Coat.

Of course, most of the Joseph's Coats we see are the lime green selections usually partnered with coleus or cannas. They are doing quite well at my house even though there is a baby cottontail trimming them for me nightly.

These South Mississippi cubs are part of a growing population of black bears in Mississippi. They were photographed by David Watts in Wilkinson County in March 2005.
July 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The fact that Mississippi has two female bears living in the state is great news to black bear biologists hoping to see a comeback of this endangered animal.

The number of black bear sightings in recent years is up in Mississippi, with most occurring in the Adams and Wilkinson county areas and some in the Delta and coastal counties. An estimated 40 to 50 black bears live in the state, and biologists are trying to increase their numbers.

Formosan termite
July 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Insects-Pests

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most homeowners go to a lot of trouble and expense to keep termites away, but a group of Mississippi State University scientists is inviting the ravenous Formosan subterranean termite to come and stay for dinner.

Researchers designed a field test at the McNeill Unit of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in Pearl River County to study ways to help homes and other wooden construction resist the Formosan invasion. The test site includes four wooden structures and a small laboratory.

July 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Shandon Gifford feels honored to receive the Soldier's Medal for his heroic actions in the Iraq War, but he said the support he received during and after his service is more valuable than any award.

Gifford, who served as a medic in Iraq with the Mississippi National Guard's 223rd Engineering Battalion in 2003, is a surgical nurse with Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. He was honored with the U.S. Army's Soldier's Medal during a special ceremony held at Camp McCain near Grenada July 15.

July 22, 2005 - Filed Under: Soybeans, Plant Diseases

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite the arrival of rust in the state, Mississippi's soybean crop needs only a couple of well-timed rains to finish off what could be one of the best crops.

On July 18, rust was confirmed in a sentinel plot of soybeans in George County. Mississippi State University Extension Service plant pathologist Billy Moore collected 15 leaves from this quarter-acre plot that were exhibiting vague symptoms of rust. The fungus was found on one leaf.

Growing plumeria can bring a Hawaiian touch to Mississippi landscapes, and growers will be amazed at how easy it is to over-winter this tropical.
July 21, 2005 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Mississippi is a long way from Hawaii, but we still can enjoy a special Hawaiian flower in our landscapes.

Most people are familiar with the tradition of giving floral necklaces called leis to visitors to Hawaii. The flower used most commonly is a plumeria, also called frangipani. The plumeria has a tantalizing fragrance and commands attention whether grown in a container or the landscape. Once you start growing it, you will become hooked.

July 21, 2005 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Positive adult role models decrease the chances a student will drop out of high school, and community members can help children who fail to receive encouragement at home.

"Research shows that family involvement is one of the most important factors in helping a child succeed in life. Doing things together as a family -- even something as basic as eating meals together -- improves a child's behavior," said Patsilu Reeves, family life education specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

July 21, 2005 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The search for worthwhile activities each fall inspires students and sometimes their parents to investigate 4-H for the opportunities it might offer families.

Harvey Gordon, state coordinator of 4-H volunteer development with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said most people only think of 4-H as an organization for youth.

"While 4-H is for young people, adult volunteers are the key to the program's success," Gordon said. "Volunteers give of themselves to youth, and the results are better individuals and better communities."

July 21, 2005 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A child's first day of kindergarten represents the beginning of a new stage of life that parents should help make exciting and memorable.

Micki Smith, a child and family development area agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said parents must be sensitive to a child's first-day-of-school jitters.

July 21, 2005 - Filed Under: Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Careful parents can shop wisely to prevent buying back-to-school clothes from being either a battle with their children or another round of consumer debt.

Bobbie Shaffett, a family resource management specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said parents should have some back-to-school rules about spending before going shopping.

"The first step is to determine what you really need and how much that will cost," Shaffett said. "Look at what you can afford, and stay within your budget when you shop."

July 15, 2005 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tropical Storm Cindy and Hurricane Dennis, practically twins in their arrival dates and targeted areas, combined to dump as much as 8 inches of rain in some parts of Mississippi, but the bulk of the state's commercial trees withstood potentially damaging winds.

Glenn Hughes, forestry professor with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said most coastal areas were spared Dennis' wind damage. He speculated that east central Mississippi took a harder hit, but still damage was light.

July 14, 2005 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Medicare participants can learn about new prescription drug benefits during a free video conference Aug. 15.

Mississippi State University's Extension Service is sponsoring the interactive conference at county offices around the state. Anyone with interest in the new Medicare Part D program should contact a county Extension office to find the nearest conference site. A representative of the Social Security Administration will present information on the Medicare Part D program that begins Jan. 1.

July 14, 2005 - Filed Under: Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An upcoming workshop will help Mississippi entrepreneurs learn how to use the Internet to market their products and services.

"Electronic Retailing: Selling on the Internet" will be offered Aug. 23 in Meridian. Sponsored by the Mississippi State University Extension Service's Food and Fiber Center, each workshop is designed for new and existing businesses wanting to sell products and services through a retail Web site.

July 14, 2005 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Home gardeners have an opportunity to learn a variety of gardening and landscaping lessons at monthly seminars offered by the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.