Monday, December 21, 2009

Opportunities for Learning

Just wanted to let you know that there are a couple of opportunities coming up that should warrant your attention.  First the Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show will take place on January 4-5, 2010.  The meeting will be held in Lexington Ky at the Embassy suites on Newtown Pike.  Click on Vegetable Conference for more detailed information.

Next, shortly after this conference the Kentucky Landscape Industries eduacational conference will be held on January 11th, 2010 in Louisville Ky.  The Mid-States Horticultural Expo will follow on January the 12th and 13th. 

Finally, wrapping up the winter conference season for Kentucky is the Turf and Landscape Management Short Course being held on February 15-19, 2010 at the Crown Plaza in Louisville. 

Please take a look at all of these conferences they are excellent and reasonable.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mistletoe: Tree Thief, Holiday Tradition

Mistletoe: Tree Thief, Holiday Tradition
John Hartman, Plant Pathology Professor Universtiy of Kentucky

Once autumn leaves have fallen, mistletoe becomes highly visible on large trees throughout Kentucky. Phoradendron, the scientific name for this parasitic plant, means tree thief. You can commonly find these small leafy plants on twigs and branches of many hardwood species in the southern two-thirds of the United States. Mistletoes extract water, mineral elements and food from their host tree by way of a parasite nutrient-uptake organ; hence the name, tree thief.

Mistletoes’ use in holiday traditions has roots in pagan times. Its parasitic nature and the fact that it appears to be alive while the host tree appears dead, led some to believe mistletoe mysteriously held the life of the tree during winter. Druids harvested mistletoe in a special rite, never letting the plant touch the ground, then hung it in their homes for good luck.

Our modern-day mistletoe holiday tradition likely originates with a mythological Norse goddess of love and beauty. Frigga, whose son was restored from possible death by mistletoe, was thought to bestow a kiss on anyone walking beneath one. Today, when two people meet under the mistletoe, tradition suggests they must exchange a kiss for good luck.

Phoradendron, the most common mistletoe growing in Kentucky, resembles another species that grows in Europe. It has simple, fleshy green leaves arranged oppositely on the stem. Stems are short and more branched than the host tree, so mistletoe often appears as a spherical bunch of dense vegetation. These bunches may be a foot or two in diameter and are located high in the tree for better sunlight exposure. Mistletoe berries range from white to straw-colored to light red. Birds eat the fruits, reportedly toxic to human and animals, then deposit the seeds onto branches where they germinate and penetrate the host tree.

Since birds tend to roost in open-grown trees, mistletoes do not appear as frequently in forest trees. Generally, they do not cause much damage, although they can be harmful to a tree already under stress. If mistletoe appears on landscape trees or other trees in the urban forest, you can control it through pruning.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fresh Christmas Tree care

It's that time of year again when christmas decorations begin going up and the decision of when to put up the real tree has to be made.  Always choose the freshest tree possible from a lot you trust.  The needles should bend and not snap.  Also when the tree is thumped against the ground green needles should not dislodge.  Once you have gotten the tree home remove another 1 to 2 inches of the base of the trunk and place the tree in a bucket of warm water.  For a longer lasting tree place the tree out of the direct flow of air and away from direct sunlight.  Once inside and in the stand fill the resevoir with a solution of 1cup of corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of liquid bleach in one gallon of water. Keep the resevoir full with this solution as long as the tree is in the house.

For more specific information go to Christmas tree care.
And for a list of Christmas tree growers in Kentucky visit

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blooming Early or Blooming Late

You may have noticed, like many folks, that spring flowering plants haven't given up yet.  Plants like forsythia, lilacs and even iris are blooming this fall.  We can normally blame premature flowering on low rain fall summers followed by wet falls. However that is not the case in this year.  My theory was confirmed after talking to Dr. Rick Durham (our ornament plant specialist at UK) that this premature or late blooming is a result of a wetter and cooler October followed by a warmer and dryer November.  October set the stage for a light dormancy period which was easily broken by our beautiful November weather.  The take home message is we can't really do anything about the situation.  We should hope to see temperatures moderate back to seasonal without any sudden moves down in temperature.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On our Extension Today radio show, airing on WBRT 1320 AM there were several questions asked regarding invasive species.  I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss in more detail some identification and options.  The three that were mentioned on air (purple wintercreeper, burning bush, and japanese honeysuckle) are particulary  problematic when established in a forest setting.  They will simply take over and root out the natives.  There are many other species that are problematic and you can research on your own at Bernheim or our UK Invasive species working group's page.  Control is a difficult task with these plants because they are so efficient at propagating themselves persistence is the answer.  If you want to study further control methods try our Weed Science Page.  Looking into alternatives is an important first step.  This Landscaping with Natives pub will provide you with some direction.

Bush Honeysuckle (above)                                                           

Purple Wintercreeper (Below)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

YouTube - UKAgriculture's Channel

Also Check out the Ag colleges you tube channel the link is below. There are several "how to" and "whats going on in KY" videos uploaded with more on the way. YouTube - UKAgriculture's Channel: "UK College of AgricultureUKAgriculture's Channel"

See Blue Go Green

See Blue Go Green is a compilation web site that is designed to be a one stop shop for all things green. We are in the process of updating, adding, and increasing the impact of the site. Our goal is to make this a go to site for eduactors and homeowners wanting to use good research based information to make their curricullums and their lives more green. So check out the link below and let me know what you think.
See Blue. Go Green. Ag. & Natural Resources

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall Leaves are Falling

It is a beautiful time of year however most don't realize that it is also a great time to hoard those falling resources. Leaves are a resource for nutrients that most of you simple kick to the curb and hope the truck picks them up. Consider this:

Does anyone Fertilize our forests?
When nutrients are removed from the soil by the plants where do they end up?
Why buy fertilize when you can simply recycle your own resources?

The nutrients that are removed from the soil for plant growth are used to expand the plant tissue. What is not used for this purpose is not thrown away by the plant but simply deposited in the leaves to be returned to the ground for redeposit. Nutrients are returned to the soil through decomposition(composting)and again become vailable to the plants for next seasons growth cycle. Forests fertilize themselves in this manner. By simply mulching with your mower you will redeposit the nutrients and encourage an explosion of soil flora and fauna that will only strengthen the planting. You may simply compost them on site but whatever way you decide don't waste your own resource.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This will be a big weekend for some of you as Randy said just breath in a bag and don't be intimidated. I will post the video that was in the class the other night for you to refer.

I was in some boxes today and have a few observations to post. Make sure you have ten (10) frames in your deep brood boxes. This is important because you can get a real mess forming with any less than ten frames. They tend to fill every nook and cranny and if you have the right amount of frames they tend to keep a nice neat house. Also the straighter the wax is installed the neater they will build upon it. Remember it is called foundation.