Conservation day was big success

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 11, 2009

Let me begin this week by thanking all the fifth-grade teachers and students at Cathedral, Trinity, Morgantown and ACCS that came out and participated in our annual Conservation Field Day at the Extension Office.

All the students were able to participate in the Watershed Harmony puppet show that taught them how they could play a part in conserving our community. Then they rotated through stations to learn about topics including; alligators, litter control, recycling, tree identification, and how stream and river are formed over centuries through the MSU stream trailer.

The event was hosted by the Adams County Soil & Water Conservation Office and the MSU Extension Service in partnership with the Mississippi Forestry Commission, MDOT, Wildlife & Fisheries and DEQ.

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Over the last two years a very dedicated group of our Adams County Master Gardeners have begun working at local schools with youth in our Junior Master Gardener program. This program uses basic science lessons to teach horticultural skills and increase the appearance of the school and its surroundings. This year we have three different educational institutions participating from kindergarten up to the sixth grade. We look forward to working with these youth and hopefully they will come home and help out around the house with some gardening tips they learned at school.

Q: When is the time to plant fruit trees?

A: If you have been thinking of planting fruit trees around the house, late October thru early December is the prime time to plant. This gives you a few weeks to start thinking about what trees you may want. You can start ye either visiting local garden centers of look through mail order catalogs which are becoming popular.

Fruit trees perform best in full sun and well-drained soil. When planting them try to incorporate some organic matter into the hole to help give the plant a little boost.

When digging the hole it is important that the hole be about three times larger than the root ball of the new tree. Plant the tree at the depth that it was originally grown at the nursery which is where the top of the root ball is about level with the ground, not three inches below or above the surface level.

Q: Can I still prune the trees and shrubs in my yard?

A: I have addressed pruning several times this year already but we have had several recent calls about pruning this time of the year, specifically for crape myrtles. First of all let me repeat the basics.

Yes, you can prune any time of the year if you desire, especially if limbs are touching the house, wood is diseased or dead, or if growth is obstructing views or pathways. However, pruning does play a significant part in the growth and production of the trees. Benefits include increased fruit and flower production, beauty enhancement, disease control, and many more.

However, keep in mind pruning enhance and stimulates growth. One thing we try to avoid is enhancing too much growth right before winter, because the cold temperatures in the coming months will freeze and kill new buds and growth. Therefore, if I had crape myrtles or another late summer blooming shrub that needed some pruning I may consider waiting until late winter or early spring to take on that task.

David Carter is the director of the Adams County Extension Service. He can be reached at 601-445-8201.