Upcoming Events



Fire Ant Management Workshop

Fire Ant Management Workshop
Hosted by the
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
 Thursday, May 17, 2018
 Founders Station in Pike Road
4902 Pike Road
Pike Road, Alabama
 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

                   
The topics discussed at this meeting include fire ant biology, management approached, and fire ant control materials.  There is no registration fee, but seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Please pre-register by calling the Montgomery County Extension Office at 334-270-4133 by Wednesday, May, 16.

Muscadine Production

A Few Thoughts on Muscadine Production

Many things could be said on Muscadine production, but here are a few things to think about once you have decided on what type of trellis system you will build. No matter the kind of trellis system you have for your Muscadine, I recommend an H brace at the ends of the trellis. It is very strong and would not be a hazard to trip over as a guy-wire system would. A nine gauge wire or larger should be used the length of the trellis to support the fruiting arms (cordons). The trellis wire should be secured to the end posts on the H brace, but allowed to slip through the line posts. This wire can stretch and will need to be tightened each year after pruning. I like installing a wire strainer on the trellis wire to keep it tight. You can easily find wire strainers in the electric fence department at most farm supply stores, and they will allow you to tighten the wire with a wrench.

During the dormant season when you are tightening your wire, it may be a good time to go ahead and check for tendrils that may be wrapped around the permanent parts of the plant such as the trunk, fruiting arms, or even the spurs. These tendrils can girdle the vine at that point so make sure you remove any tendril that may cause problems. If a tendril has girdled the plant to the point of killing part of the vine, you should cut the dead part out and replace it as the plant starts growing the following spring. Once Muscadine leaf out they are hard to see so the best time to check for girdling tendrils would be during the dormant season. However, if you did not check before your plants leafed out, I would not wait until they go dormant again. Anytime is a good time to remove a girdling tendril.

Try not to wrap the fruiting arms around your wire to hold them up. The arms should be loosely tied to the wire with wide straps or something that will not girdle the cordons. Some people loop a wire through a piece of old water hose and tie to the trellis wire to support the arms.

It is recommended to prune Muscadine between December and March. I would make sure to prune Muscadine before the new growth begins in the spring. Before pruning Muscadine, you need to remember that Muscadine bloom on new growth stemming from one year old wood. When pruning, you should prune the long vine of last year’s growth back to 3 to 5 buds, which may be five or so inches long. We refer to that five inch long shoot as a spur and the new growth from that spur will be the shoots that bloom and produces fruit. If we prune like this each year the spurs get farther away from the arm, so eventually around year 5 or 6 we may do some spur thinning. That would be removing a portion of the spur to allow new vines/spurs to be produced.

We have a very good publication titled Commercial Muscadine and Bunch Grape Production Guide that has a lot of information on Muscadine production. The guide has a table that lists many different Muscadine cultivars and lists characteristics such as sugar content, size, hardiness, plant vigor, harvest season, etc. If you have any questions on Muscadine production, give us a call at your local Extension office.

My area of responsibility is Commercial Horticulture, which is the production of horticultural crops to sell. This would include nurseries, sod farms, Christmas tree farms, cut flower production, fruit production, and vegetable production. I have an email list that I use to send information out to growers on a regular basis. If you would like to sign up to be on my email list, send an email to me at eastwil@aces.edu, and I will gladly add you to the list. If you are interested in other topics, I suggest contacting your local Extension office in order to be added to other Extension email lists.

Dr. Chip East
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Photo courtesy of USDA ARS

Orchids – Growing Techniques ~ How & When to Repot

Friday – March 16, 2018
Montgomery County Extension Office
5340 Atlanta Hwy.
Montgomery AL
9:00 – 11:00 am

This is a HANDS-ON-PROGRAM
Bring your favorite Orchid that needs repotted…. we are providing Pots, Soil & Fertilizer.

 Registration is required – limited seating
To sign-up or for more information, contact 334-270-4133.
Cost is $20.00 which includes all necessary materials for repotting your Orchids.

Continue reading “Orchids – Growing Techniques ~ How & When to Repot”

2017 Montgomery County Natural Resources Tour

Please plan to participate in the 2017 Annual Natural Resources Tour on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at Laslie Hall’s Property. This year’s tour will emphasize Trees & Shrub response to drought, Pine Beetle infestations and management, Wildlife management including Eagles, Ducks and other birds. Directional signs will be posted along the roadways to help you find the property.

Registration will begin at noon followed by the welcome ceremonies and the tour wagons will depart at 1:30pm.

Registration is $10.00 per person, which will help cover the cost of serving a meal. Please pre-register by Friday, October 20 so we can have a delicious meal ready for you. We will have several exhibitors this year and there will be plenty of opportunities to visit with them, to see and learn about their products or services. If you have any questions, please call 334-270-4133.

See Attached Form

Continue reading “2017 Montgomery County Natural Resources Tour”

Upcoming Workshops

Critter Control

“Wildlife and Insect Control in and out of the Home”
Monday, September 18th 2017
Montgomery County Extension Office
5340 Atlanta Highway
Montgomery, AL
               9:00-2:00 p.m.

Chris Jaworowski, Chip East & Mallory Kelley will teach Best Management Strategies for:
Termites, Roaches, Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes, Fire Ants, Deer, Squirrel, Bats, Snakes, Voles, Moles and More!

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Farmers Marketing Workshop

Get ready for the 2018 growing season

Learn to market your farm with tips from Alabama Extension, the Farmers Market Authority, and USDA SNAP.
Friday, October 13, 2017
 Montgomery County Extension Office
5340 Atlanta Hwy.
Montgomery AL 36109
334-270-4133

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Fruit Workshop

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Founders Station in Pike Road
4902 Pike Road
Pike Road, Alabama
9:00 a.m. until 12 noon

The topics discussed at this meeting include site selection, variety selection, proper planting, mulching, irrigation, pruning, fertilization, and pest management. Crops: apples, pears, peaches, persimmons, muscadines, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Continue reading “Upcoming Workshops”

Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden

Fall Garden

If your summer vegetable garden was a bust, you are not alone. The cool late spring weather was wonderful and all this rain after the drought in the fall was much needed, but the problems they caused on our summer vegetables has been severe. If your tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash did not survive, don’t give up, you must try again and why not with a fall garden? Fall vegetables are really my favorite to grow and I have just about decided I will leave the peppers and tomatoes to my grandfather and avoid the summer heat, afternoon rain showers and weeding all together and take my turn providing for the family in the fall. We are blessed by our warm Alabama climate that we can grow vegetables year round.

Many cool-season vegetables, such as carrots, broc­coli, cauliflower, collards, lettuce and brussels sprouts, produce their best flavor and quality when they are maturing during cool weather. In Alabama, the spring temperatures often heat up quickly causing vegetables such as lettuce and spinach to bolt (flower) or develop a bitter flavor. This is why planting these veggies late in the summer or early fall when we are transitioning to cooler temps is more ideal than in the spring.

Growing a productive fall vegetable garden requires thoughtful planning and good cultural practices. In Alabama, August and September are the ideal months for planting a fall garden. For a more accurate planting schedule, determine the average date of the first killing frost in the fall, and then count backward from the frost date, using the number of days to maturity to determine the best time to plant in your area.

Alabama in August and September is usually hot and dry. If you choose to plant your fall veggies from seed during these months, you must be careful to keep the soil moist. Incorporating organic matter into the soil will help add nutrients and increase water-holding capacity. Lettuce and spinach seeds will not germinate if the soil temperature exceeds 85 degrees F so for these you may need to wait a bit longer before sowing or plant from transplants. Also, remember to mulch the garden to moderate moisture levels as September and October are our driest months with very little rainfall.

You can extend your summer vegetable crop and your semi-hardy vegetables on into the fall and winter easily by protecting them from frost. In Alabama, we often enjoy several weeks of good growing conditions after the first frost. Cover growing beds, rows or individual plants with burlap or a floating row cover supported by stakes or wire to keep the material from directly touching the plants.

Most hardy vegetables require little or no frost protection, but semi-hardy vegetables should be protected or harvested before a heavy freeze. Root crops such as carrots and radishes should be harvested or mulched heavily before a hard freeze. Mulched root crops can often be harvested well into the winter, and during mild winters, harvest may continue until spring.

So, if your summer garden was a flop or you want to continue your progress of home vegetables into this fall and winter, it is not too late. There is still time to plant, especially the HARDY vegetables that can withstand a light frost such as: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Onions, Radishes, Spinach and Turnips.

If you have questions about any of these vegetables or others please call our Master Gardener Helpline!

March through August the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers a Gardening Helpline for the public each Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. This helpline is operated by Master Gardener Volunteers who use research-based information to best answer all of your gardening questions.

If you’ve got home garden questions, we’ve got answers!

Call 1-877-252-GROW (4769)

Please join us for the FREE Master Gardener Lunch and Learn Program in your area

EVERY MONTH from 12:00-1:00, Bring a Sack Lunch, Drinks Provided.

For more information, call your local county extension office.

Mallory Kelley
Regional Extension Agent/Home Grounds, Gardens, Home Pests

 

 

 

www.aces.edu

 

Pecan Problems

We get many questions at the Extension office all year long about pecan trees. Leaves having bumps on them, limbs falling, pre-mature nut drop, leaves and shuck turning black, etc. I will try to describe a few of the pests associated with pecans and maybe this will help you understand what is happening to your trees.

One of the first pecan calls I get in the spring is pecan phylloxera. This is a tiny insect that feeds on the young new growth including shoots, shucks, and leaves. As the leaves and new growth mature you will notice many knot like structures. There are different species of pecan phylloxera; some will only feed on the leaflet which is not a major problem. The ones that feed on the shuck and leaf petiole are the bad ones. When they feed, the plant forms a gall in reaction to the feeding of the insect. The insect continues to feed and lays eggs when they are mature. If galls are on the petiole the leaf may drop, if galls are on nutlets, they may not mature.

Fall webworm builds the web structures on ends of pecan branches as well as other trees. These insects are not a major pest that is hurting your pecan production. It is possible for high numbers to decrease pecan production, but it is not a pest a home pecan grower would be able to manage. A pecan farmer who maintains a spray program may not have this problem, but it is not something that should concern a home producer. Please do not try to burn these out of trees. They look bad, but management is not recommended to a small grower.

Twig girdlers are a very interesting pest. These insects will lay eggs on a branch about pencil size or a little larger, and then girdle the branch. The branch will eventually break off during a wind and fall to the ground. Other insects can girdle the branch, but the twig girdler makes a clean beveled edge and is very common. A good management practice would be to pick up the fallen branches and destroy them.

Other insects that damage the shuck or nut include hickory shuckworm, stink bug, nut curculio, pecan nut casebearer, and pecan weevil. Black and yellow pecan aphids can be found feeding on the foliage along with several other insects that I can provide information about if anyone is interested.

Pecan scab is the biggest pest of pecan trees in the southeast. This is a fungal problem that causes spots on the leaf, leaf petiole, and pecan shuck that causes early nut and leaf drop. A pecan farmer would have a spray program designed to manage this pest, but I do not recommend a home gardener try to spray. The pecan farmer has an air blast sprayer capable of reaching the top of the tree and will spray multiple times each year. If you are planting new trees, I can recommend some trees that are showing resistance to scab. For older plantings, I would suggest using cultural practices to make the tree as healthy as possible. Pecan trees can have other disease problems, but scab is the most common. Scab will be worse during rainy seasons compared to drought years. Although difficult to accomplish, it will help if all the leaves, stems, and undeveloped nuts that fall from the tree were hauled off site and destroyed.

Since I do not recommend a home gardener spray a pecan tree, what could a small home gardener do to increase production? The answer is maintain healthy foliage to increase carbohydrate reserves. What that means is keeping the leaves as healthy as possible will increase production. Pecan trees that consistently drops their leaves early in the fall would not be as productive as other pecan trees that hold leaves until much later in the season. The best ways to maintain healthy foliage include weed control, mulch, irrigation, and proper fertilization. I would start a pecan fertilization program in April, and the Extension System can provide information on fertilizer.

The weed control, mulch, and irrigation should be done at any time of year that it is needed. Irrigation may be needed many times of year when the tree is actively growing; however, it is most important during the months of August and September. If you are planning to plant pecan trees in the future, I would plant them no closer than 60 feet apart and I prefer 70 or 80 feet for good sunlight and air circulation when they become mature trees.

If you have any questions about pecan trees or most anything else, give us a call at your local County Extension Office.

Dr. Chip East
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

 

GMO Fact or Fiction?

Genetically modified organisms concept with an organic pears and a genetically modified pear.

Fact or Fiction?

The truth behind GMO’s and other food myths

GMO, Genetically Engineered, Bio Technology-What Does It All Mean?

Come join Alabama Extension professionals, researchers, and specialists from Auburn University and Alabama A&M University as we uncover the truth with non-based & research-based information.

When:
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
 Time:
9:00am – until
Where:
Montgomery County Extension Office
Eastmont Shopping Plaza
5340 Atlanta Hwy.
Montgomery AL 36109

This is a free program, but you have to register by May 15th

Contact 334-270-4133 for more information

Continue reading “GMO Fact or Fiction?”

The Master Gardener Helpline IS OPEN!

If you have questions on a garden related topic, the Master Gardener Helpline is open!

Call 1-877-ALA (252)-GROW (4769)

March through August the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers a Gardening Helpline for the public each Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. This helpline is operated by Master Gardener Volunteers who use research-based information to best answer all of your gardening questions.

Controlling Weeds in your Lawn

A weed can have many definitions, but its true definition is “a plant out of place” and in the case of your lawn, those plants can be hard to control and definitely an eye sore.  Some even can be out right painful in the case of the lawn burweed.

When looking for control, the product label is the best source of information as to which lawn grasses can be treated with a particular product. Read the label carefully before purchase and use the information to ensure safety to the applicator as well as the home lawn setting.

Quickly, let’s review a few terms that will help you when trying to control weeds in your turfgrass: Preemergence herbicide: A herbicide that is applied to the lawn grass surface before problem weed seeds germinate and emerge from the ground. These herbicides must be applied before a weed problem is even noticed. Postemergence herbicide: A herbicide that is applied after weeds have emerged, but while they are small and actively growing. This type of herbicide is applied to the leaf and stem tissue of the problem weeds. Generally, postemergence herbicides will not control weeds that germinate and emerge after the application.  Non-selective herbicide: A herbicide that kills all vegetation treated. Typically, these products are applied to the foliage of the weeds. This type herbicide will also severely injure or kill desirable plants. “Green-up” period (transition period): A short period of time in the spring when desirable lawn grass is emerging from its dormant state. It is during this time that grasses are most sensitive to herbicides and, in many cases, the herbicide labels prohibit their use.

This year is going to be tricky when it comes to weed control in the lawn due to the crazy fluctuations of temperatures and the fact that we have barely experienced winter.  Our turf grasses went dormant, but many of them have been trying to come out of dormancy or “green-up” for weeks now.  Generally, I would say February is the time to put out your pre-emergence products to control your spring weeds, but with the February we had, that would not have been a good idea and now March is upon us.

So this year I say skip your winter pre-emergence application and if you currently have weeds popping up you, could spot spray with a non-selective herbicide if you are extremely careful or use a labeled post-emergence product so you do not damage your turf.  Then once your grass has fully emerged from dormancy apply a pre-emergence that will then help control your summer weed seeds that are sitting there waiting for the right temperatures to germinate.

Knowing what type of turfgrass you have is especially important when it comes to weed control.  If you are not sure, you can always contact your local county extension office.  Below is a link to the Homeowner Lawn Weed Control Manual that will be extremely helpful in choosing what product is right for you.

http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/I/IPM-0590/IPM-0590.pdf

When using Herbicides-Always read and follow label directions.

If you have questions on a garden related topic, the Master Gardener Helpline is open!

Call 1-877-ALA (252)-GROW (4769)

March through August the Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers a Gardening Helpline for the public each Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  This helpline is operated by Master Gardener Volunteers who use research-based information to best answer all of your gardening questions.

Join us for a Gardening Lunch and Learn!

Interested in learning more about seasonal gardening topics?  Please join us for the FREE Master Gardener Lunch and Learn Program in your area EVERY MONTH from 12:00-1:00, Bring a Sack Lunch, Drinks Provided.  Call your local county office for topics, dates and locations for Elmore, Autauga and Montgomery Counties.

Mallory Kelley
Regional Extension Agent
Home Grounds, Gardens, Home Pests