Summer 2017 Ag Events

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources calendar printed in the Summer 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

All activities are held at the Oldham County Extension office unless otherwise noted. Please call to RSVP for classes held at extension offices.

June Ag Calendar

1 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m.
8 County Extension Council, 9:00 a.m.
8 Extension District Board, 10:00 a.m.
8 Equine Farm & Facilities Expo, Lexington, University of Kentucky Extension Forages
9 Oldham County Beekeepers, 7:30 p.m.
12 Green Thumbs, contact office for details
15 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m.
20 Ag Development Council, 7:00 p.m.
24 Master Gardener Association Meeting and Rain Garden Work Day, 9:00 a.m., Oldham County Extension Pavilion

July Ag Calendar

4 Office closed for Independence Day
6 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m., Henry County Extension
6 I Love Roses, 6:30 p.m., Oldham County Public Library, La Grange. Guest speaker Janet Miller of the Louisville Rose Society. Sponsored by Oldham County Master Gardener Association.
10 Green Thumbs, Contact office for details
14 Oldham County Beekeepers, 7:30 p.m.
17 How Flowers Flirt and Flourish, 6:30 p.m., Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, Goshen. Guest speaker Tavia Cathcart Brown, Wildflower Expert and Author. Sponsored by Oldham County Master Gardener Association.
18 Oldham County Cattlemen, 6:00 p.m.
20 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m., Shelby County Extension
31 Ag Exhibits Entry for County Fair, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., (NEW LOCATION: Oldham County Extension office)

August Ag Calendar

3 Late Summer/Early Fall Gardening, 10:00 a.m. Guest speaker Jeff Wallitsch, Wallitsch Nursery and Garden Center. Sponsored by Oldham County Master Gardener Association.
3 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m.
8 Extension Foundation, 9:00 a.m.
10 Rinse & Return for Pesticide Containers, 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon
11 Oldham County Beekeepers, 7:30 p.m.
16 Master Gardener/Green Thumbs Outing, Streamcliff Farms

2017 Master Gardener Classes

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources article printed in the Summer 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Master Gardener Classes Begin in September

Master Gardener classes will be offered Fridays, beginning September 1 through November 17. Classes will meet from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the extension office. The cost for this program is $100 to cover class materials. Registration forms are available in our office as well as online at oldham.ca.uky.edu/OC-Master-Gardeners.

oldham county master gardeners

What is a Master Gardener? A Master Gardener is someone who has successfully completed Master Gardener classes offered by an extension office. Classes provide research-based information on core subjects ranging from botany to soils to plant pests. Trees, turf, and landscape plant growing principles are also covered. Master Gardener volunteers take the knowledge learned through these classes and put it to use in their communities – sharing knowledge informally with others, teaching, and doing various gardening-related work in public areas.

How do I become a Master Gardener? Complete classes offered at the extension office and complete 40 hours of volunteer service within one year of course completion. Volunteers complete 20 service hours annually in subsequent years to maintain active Master Gardener status.

oldham county master gardeners

Where can I volunteer? There are several ongoing volunteer opportunities at Yew Dell Gardens and Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, plus one-time opportunities that are announced throughout the year. Participants may help with an existing project or begin their own. A project can be as simple as helping plant or maintain your church’s landscape or providing plant recommendations for a neighborhood association common area. The possibilities are endless.

Landscape Help Publications Available

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources and Horticulture articles printed in the Summer 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

New/Updated Landscape Publications Available

New and updated publications covering landscape topics are now available. These Kentucky Extension publications and others covering lawn care, flower gardens, vegetables, and fruit are accessible online at www.uky.edu/hort/home-horticulture and at the extension office.

kentucky landscape help

Soil Percolation, A Key to Survival of Landscape Plants’ details the effect of soil quality on the success of your landscape planting, covering ways to evaluate and improve your soil as well as the importance of selecting of the right plant to fit your soil type.

Planting Container Grown Trees and Shrubs’ covers information about handling containers grown plants and proper planting technique to insure the success of your landscape.

Planting Bareroot Trees in Your Landscape.’ Planting bareroot trees has always been a technique used to move young trees in landscapes and fruit orchards. This publication covers the proper handling and planting methods of bareroot plants for success.

‘After Your Ash Tree Dies, Making an Informed Decision on What to Replant’ will give you resources to decide what tree varieties mature similar in size to the ash and provide diversity to your landscape.

kentucky landscape help

‘What is Your Tree Worth?’ Landscape trees can add to the value of your property if undamaged, healthy, and planted in an appropriate location. This publication describes how to have your trees evaluated to determine their value in your landscape.

Get Help With Pond Weeds

A common problem for pond owners is control of weedy plants. Correctly identifying the plant is the first step in managing it. Scoop up problem weeds in a bucket and bring to our office for identification and control tips. Keeping pond weeds in water helps preserve them for accurate identification. An open container is best because it keeps the sample fresher. A closed container can be used for same day delivery to our office, but plants will begin decaying if kept enclosed multiple days, especially in a hot environment.

Ag Clubs Update: Cattlemen, Green Thumbs, Master Gardeners

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources articles printed in the Summer 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Oldham County Cattlemen’s Association News

The Oldham County Cattlemen’s Association will meet on July 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the extension office. The meeting will feature guest speaker Jim Akers of Blue Grass Stockyards. The association welcomes new members – pick up an application at our office or join online at www.kycattle.org. Annual $35 membership dues cover membership to both Oldham County and Kentucky Cattlemen’s Associations, a subscription to Cow Country News, and meals at county meetings.

oc cattlemen's association

Charlie McDonner of Whayne Supply was a guest speaker and sponsor of the Oldham County Cattlemen’s Association March meeting. Members elected officers for the current year: Maynard Stetten as president, Paul Bradshaw as vice president, and Jerry Bennett as secretary/treasurer.

Plant Sale & Auction Benefits 4-H

For the second year in a row, the Green Thumbs Garden Club held a spring plant sale and auction to benefit Oldham County 4-H. Green Thumbs and Oldham County Master Gardeners collected plants, containers, garden sculptures, and other garden decor for the event. This year, the clubs raised a total of $1,284, roughly a hundred dollars more than last year! This generous donation will be used as scholarships to send Oldham County children to 4-H camp in the summer.

Thank you Green Thumbs and Master Gardeners for your continued support!

4-H Summer Programs

The following 4-H Youth Development articles printed in the Summer 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Solar Eclipse Camp

total solar eclipse

Solar Eclipse Camp will be August 18-21 at the West Kentucky 4-H Camp in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. A premiere viewing location, the camp sits directly in the path of the TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE!

Ages 9 through 18 are eligible to attend. The $250 camp fee includes all activities, lodging, meals, snacks, t-shirt, and special solar eclipse viewing glasses. Participants experience a space-themed camp with class options that include:

  • Weather
  • Rockets
  • Drones
  • Astronomy
  • Space exploration
  • And more!
  • Special guests from NASA, TV meteorologists, and astronomers are scheduled.

    For more information contact Shane Browning, West Kentucky Camp Director, via (270) 797-8758 or shanebrowning@uky.edu.

    Kentucky Forestry, Entomology, and Wildlife Leadership Program

    Interested in the environment? Want to know more about forests, trees, insects, water, and wildlife? If yes, then the Forestry, Entomology, and Wildlife Leadership Program is for you!

    Students who have completed their sophomore or junior year of high school are eligible to participate. The program will be held from June 4 through 9 at Lake Cumberland Education Center in Jabez, Kentucky. More information is available online at kflp.ca.uky.edu.

    Summer Project Days

    Join 4-H during the summer for Project Days where we build and create interesting, creative projects that can be entered in the fair to win ribbons and premiums! View the Fair Catalog online at oldham.ca.uky.edu/4h-fair or at the extension office during fair season. Registration for fair entries should be submitted to the Oldham County Extension office by July 5.

    Registration information for Summer Project Days is available online: oldham.ca.uky.edu/4h-project-days

    oc 4-h project days

    Discover Two-Point Perspective Drawing! Learn to write your name using two-point perspective, and make a beautiful piece of art that you can enter in the fair and then hang in your room. This class takes place from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6. The supply fee is $5.

    Learn about Kentucky trees in Leaf Printing! Participants will identify 10 leaves and their primary uses, then make a notebook of leaf prints displaying their new knowledge. Leaf Printing is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. with a supply fee of $5.

    Making an Electromagnet will be the subject of the class on Friday, June 9, between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. Learn about electricity using Snap Circuits, then mount your own electromagnet. $10 covers all necessary supplies.

    The last 4-H Project Day of the summer will be from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, June 16. In 4-H Clover Photography, you will express your unique style by designing your own 3D 4-H Clover and photographing it! This class has a $5 supply fee.

    Vegetable Garden Preparation

    The following Horticulture article printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

    Looking Forward to the Vegetable Garden

    Spring is almost here. Take advantage of the last few days of winter to plan your garden. After exploring the seed catalogs and deciding what you want to grow, map out your garden on paper. This is a good way to determine how much seed to order for the vegetables you want to produce. Whether you are growing a new garden or one you have been using for several years, planning will help improve the quality of your harvest this year and future years.

    • Plan your garden on paper before you begin. A map showing where each vegetable is grown allows you to space your plants for good growth. This plan will help determine your crop rotation for following seasons to reduce the carryover of vegetable disease and insect pests in the soil.
    • A good gardening site has full sun for at least eight hours each day and is relatively level, well-drained, and close to a water source. Watch for possible shading as landscape trees mature.
    • Test your soil every two to three years. Prepare the soil properly and add fertilizer and lime or sulfur according to soil test recommendations.

    carrot vegetable garden

    • Plan only as large a garden as you can easily maintain. It is easy to overplant and then fail because it is hard to keep up with the tasks required.
    • Grow vegetables that will produce the maximum amount of food in the space available. The bush varieties are best for small spaces and generally yield a lot of vegetables.
    • Plant during the correct season for the crop. Crops are either cool season or warm season types. Choose varieties recommended for your area. Controlling weeds and watering when needed will keep the plants less stressed and improve your production.
    • Harvest vegetables at their proper stage of maturity. Store them promptly and properly if you do not use them immediately.

    A well-planned and properly kept garden should produce 600 to 700 pounds of produce per 1,000 square feet and may include many different crops.

    ky strawberries

    Finally, the closer the vegetable garden is to your back door, the more you will use it. You can see when your crops are at their peaks and can take maximum advantage of their freshness. In addition, keeping up with the planting, weeding, watering, and pest control will be easier.

    The 2017 Vegetable Gardening Guides are now available. Contact the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service office or download the publication “Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky” online.

    vegetable gardening

    Based on article by Richard Durham, Extension Horticulture Specialist, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Edited by Oldham County Horticulture Assistant Michael Boice and Oldham County Staff Assistant Lauren State.

    Farmer Resources

    The following Agriculture and Natural Resources article printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

    beginning farmer resources

    Resources for Beginning and Experienced Farmers

    Winter is a time when many farmers make business decisions as well as planting decisions – sometimes that means a call to the extension office. An extension agriculture agent’s main job is to give advice on production practices that have been proven through repeated research trials. Our goal is to give farmers the best chance for success no matter what agriculture enterprise they are engaged in.

    All agriculture agents have areas of farming expertise we want to share. Plus, we have access to specialists at University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University to help with questions we cannot answer. It may surprise you that many questions directed to ag agents are not about production practices at all. And often there are other agencies best suited to answer those questions. Below are some of the most common.


    Q: How do I get a farm tax I.D. number and/or a farm sales tax exemption?
    A: Kentucky Department of Revenue: 502-564-5170 or revenue.ky.gov


    Q: Where can I find federal tax information for farms?
    A: Internal Revenue Service Farm Tax Guide: www.irs.gov/publications/p225/index.html


    Q: How do I get/find out if I already have a farm serial number (FSN)?
    A: Farm Service Agency: 502-845-2820 or find your county office: offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator

    water conservation

    Q: Where can I find technical advice on pond construction/repair, sinkholes, or other conservation practices?
    A: Contact the following conservation agencies.


    Q: Where can I find information on EQIP, WHIP, and other conservation cost-share programs?
    A: Contact the following conservation agencies.

    KY Trees

    Q: Is there an agency that provides low-cost tree seedlings for residents?
    A: Kentucky Division of Forestry: 502-564-4496 or forestry.ky.gov


    Q: Is there an agency that gives away trees on Earth day or Arbor Day?
    A: Sometimes, Oldham County Conservation District: 502-222-5123


    Q: Who can evaluate a timber stand for desired species, management, and/or harvest?
    A: Kentucky Division of Forestry: 502-564-4496 or forestry.ky.gov

    ky trees

    Q: Where can I find trapping and hunting season information?
    A: Kentucky Fish and Wildlife: 800-858-1549 or fw.ky.gov


    Q: Are there trappers who will trap nuisance wildlife for me?
    A: There are several entities that offer this service.

    • Kentucky Fish and Wildlife: 800-858-1549 or fw.ky.gov
    • Local Pest Control businesses


    Q: Is there a tire amnesty/recycling program in my county?
    A: Solid Waste & Recycling: 502-565-1007 or www.oldhamcounty.net


    Q: Where can I find a list of farmers markets, CSA’s, and Kentucky Proud products?
    A: Kentucky Department of Agriculture: www.kyagr.com and click ‘Promotional Programs’


    Q: Where can I find information on product-specific regulations for farmers markets?
    A: Kentucky Department of Agriculture: www.kyagr.com/marketing/farmers-market.html and local farmers market guidelines.


    Q: Is my property zoned for agriculture use?
    A: Property Valuation Administration: 502-222-9320 or oldhampva.com

    oldham county agriculture

    Q: How do I apply for CAIP cost-share programs?
    A: Contact your county extension office. Each county has a council that decides when applications for cost-share will be taken and awarded. Oldham County’s application period has not yet been set. General information on CAIP and other KY Ag Development Fund cost-share is available at agpolicy.ky.gov.


    Q: I’ve heard there are grants for…?
    A: There are several agencies that may offer cost-share or grant funding related to agriculture.


    Q: Are there agencies that provide low-interest farm loans?
    A: There are several entities that may provide low-interest farm loans


    Q: How can I find county ordinances relating to chickens, livestock, leash laws, etc.?
    A: Oldham County Fiscal Court: 502-222-9357 or www.oldhamcounty.net


    And sometimes, there are questions we just can’t help with. A guy called here one time asking to reserve a tee time and seemed a little confused that I couldn’t help. As it turns out, “Oldham County Cooperative Extension” is listed in the phone book right above “Oldham County Country Club.”

    Written by Traci Missun, Oldham County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

    January 2017 Agriculture News/Events

    kentucky extension

    It is shaping up to be a busy winter season. We’ve added an event – on Friday, March 3, an inspector from the KY Department of Agriculture will be here to check your scales and certify them for farmers market sales. If you haven’t been through this process before, make sure you take a look at the Farmers Market manual to understand what constitutes a ‘legal’ scale.

    EXTENSION CLASSES

    Reserve your space by calling 222-9453 unless otherwise noted.

    • Industrial Hemp Seminar, February 9, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Shelby Co. Extension (includes lunch). Call 633-4593 to reserve space for this meeting. Agenda and presenter information available online.
    • Farmers Market Scale Certification, March 3, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Oldham Co. Extension. No registration required. Scale regulations are available in the farmers market manual.
    • Adapting Your Garden as You Age, February 13, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m., Oldham County Extension. Sponsored by Green Thumbs Garden Club and presented by Oldham County Horticulture Assistant Michael Boice.

    OC Gardening Classes

    • Grain Crop – Weed Control, February 21, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Henry Co. Extension (includes lunch). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Dr. J.D. Green.
    • Grain Crop – Economics & Marketing, February 28, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Shelby Co. Extension (includes lunch). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Dr. Greg Halich.
    • Grain Crop – 2016 Season Review & Production Fundamentals, March 14, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Oldham County Extension (includes lunch). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Carrie Knott
    • Managing Nuisance Wildlife – Gardens & Farms, March 6, 6:00 – 8:15 p.m., John Black Community Center (includes dinner). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Dr. Matt Springer. He will discuss control measures for deer, raccoons, other small mammals, plus coyotes and black headed vultures.

    kentucky water

    • Living Along a KY Stream, March 16 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Oldham County Extension. Registered participants will receive a tree seedling. Presented by Curry’s Fork Watershed Director Jen Shean and Oldham County Agriculture Agent Traci Missun.
    • Good Ag Practices Training, March 20, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Oldham County Extension (Sampling Certificate Info Available on Request)

    ATTENTION, DOG OWNERS!

    If you own dogs, please make sure you keep them properly restrained on your property. This is for the safety of the dogs as well as for neighbors’ livestock. There have been three incidents this month of dogs killing livestock and poultry on farms. Even the most docile and gentle dog is capable of chasing and/or killing livestock.

    Under Kentucky Revised Statutes 258.235, “Any livestock owner or his agent, without liability, may kill any dog trespassing on that owner’s property and observed in the act of pursuing or wounding his livestock.” Help prevent these problems by keeping your dogs confined to your property. Problems with dogs running loose may be reported to Oldham County Animal Control, 222-7387.

    KY Forests

    CONSERVATION DISTRICT TREE GIVEAWAY

    Oldham County Conservation District will host their Arbor Day Tree Giveaway for Oldham County residents on March 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (or when all are trees are gone). The event will be held at their office, 700 West Jefferson Street in La Grange. These are the trees they plan to have available: Cypress, Eastern Redbud, Yellow Poplar, Wild Plum, White Oak, Pin Oak, KY Coffeetree, White Pine, Northern Red Oak, Pawpaw, Hazelnut, Chestnut Oak. Any questions should be directed to Andrea at 222-5123 or oldhamswcd@gmail.com.

    WHAT DO EXTENSION AGENTS DO IN WINTER?

    • Like many producers, agriculture agents attend classes and conferences to learn new practices to improve production. We also host and teach quite a few programs.
    • Agents still make farm visits in the winter. So far this month I’ve looked at property with new landowners to help them decide potential uses based on their interests. I’ve also visited several farms to pull hay samples for testing.
    • Agents often take leadership roles with different commodity groups, and winter is always a busy meeting season. I have the honor of serving as the Kentucky Forage & Grassland Council president this year. KFGC works closely with UK Extension to offer field days, grazing workshops, and conferences that will benefit producers. There are several coming up that will be of interest. If you would like to join or want to talk more about benefits of membership, just give me a call.
    • Agents like me often eat too much fattening food with the advent of hibernating weather. If you fall in that category, check out some healthy recipe ideas from my co-worker Chris Duncan.

    FRUIT PRODUCTION INFO

    growing apples

    SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

    • Oldham Co. Conservation District is accepting applications for the H. Glenn Watson scholarship – applications must be postmarked by February 1. Contact Andrea at 222-5123 or oldhamswcd@gmail.com to get an application. (For Oldham County high school seniors only)
    • Louisville Agricultural Club is offering scholarships – see their web page for details, guidelines and applications.
    • Kentucky Ag in the Classroom offers a list of several other ag scholarships.

    Written by Traci Missun, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent at Oldham County Cooperative Extension. Traci addresses a variety of topics including farming, crops, pastures, and natural resources such as water and forestry.

    Kentucky Native Fruit Trees

    Fruit Trees Native to Kentucky

    Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, peaches, and grapes ─ we eat these common fruits every day. Local sources for these fruits, however, can be difficult to find due to their preference for a longer, warmer growing season. Kentucky native fruit trees are adapted to grow in our varying soil types and withstand our unpredictable weather.

    KY Native Fruit Trees

    KY native plum

    American Plum (Prunus americana)

    The winter-hardy American Plum is a small tree, reaching a mature height of only fifteen feet. It grows wild across the eastern two-thirds of North America, forming thorny thickets that provide habitats for birds and other wildlife. The red to yellow fruit is popular with deer as well as humans. Kentucky plums can be eaten fresh or using in baking and canning. Due to unreliability of fruit production in Kentucky, plums are usually only commercially grown as a secondary crop.

    Other names for the American Plum include American wild plum, Osage plum, river plum, thorn plum, wild yellow plum, red plum, August plum, and goose plum.

    KY black cherry tree

    Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

    The Black Cherry Tree produces Kentucky’s largest cherries which ripen in August and September. The bitter-sweet fruit is popular for jelly and wine making. Birds help spread Black Cherry seeds, but it also readily self-seeds. It can tolerant a wide variety of soils and conditions, the exception being full shade. Mature trees often reach a height of fifty to sixty feet. Black Cherry wood is hard, close-grained, and strong, making it popular in woodworking.

    Farmers should note that this tree’s bark, leaves, and twigs are poisonous to livestock. Deer, however, can eat the leaves without problem.

    KY native pawpaw fruit

    Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

    Found in wooded areas, the Kentucky native Pawpaw is the largest native fruit in North America. Pawpaws are commonly described as tasting like a mix of banana and mango or pineapple. The fruit has high nutritional value, being an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein. Pawpaw fruit surpass apples, grapes, and peaches in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur. Wildlife such as birds, raccoons, and opossums enjoy the fruit, and zebra swallowtail butterfly larva feed on young pawpaw foliage. With some effort, you can grow pawpaws from seed.

    Most pawpaw trees grow fifteen to twenty feet in height but can reach up to forty feet if conditions are optimal. The champion Kentucky pawpaw is in Letcher County.

    Kentucky State University, one of Kentucky’s land-grant universities, is home to the world’s only full-time pawpaw research program. In 2009, the horticulture program released ‘KSU-Atwood,’ a new pawpaw variety named after Rufus B. Atwood who served as college presdent from 1929 to 1962. This variety is a heavy producer ─ more than 150 fruits from a single tree!

    KY native persimmon

    Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

    Native Persimmon trees grow in Kentucky’s woodlands. Tolerating a range of pH levels, persimmons prefer moist, well-drained soil but can flourish in dry areas as well. Its interesting bark is thick, grey to black in color, and broken up in scaly, square blocks. The wood is very hard and has found use as golf clubs and flooring. When the berry ripens in the fall, the skin turns wrinkly, and persimmons become edible to humans. Persimmons taste similar to dates and can be used in breads, cakes, puddings, and beverages. You can also eat persimmons fresh or dried.

    Cooking oil can be extracted from persimmon seeds. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers boiled the seeds in substitution for coffee.

    Winter-hardy and adaptable, Kentucky persimmon trees suffer few pests and diseases. Some trees further south may be susceptible to vascular wilt. It can develop black leaf spot, and tent caterpillars can be problematic.

    KY native sassafras

    Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

    Common across Kentucky, Native Sassafras is readily seeded by birds which love its fruit. The dark blue berries contrast beautifully to the bright red stems on which they grow. Sassafras trees thrive in moist, well-drained, acidic soil with full sun to partial shade but can also tolerate drier, rockier soil. Filé, a Creole spice used in gumbo, is made by grinding dried sassafras leaves. The fragrant bark and roots have been used to make tea and root beer but contain an oil called safrole, a proven carcinogen in mice and rats. In 1960, the Food and Drug Administration banned direct use of safrole in food although spices are still permissible.

    Most sassafras trees mature to a height of thirty to sixty feet with a spread of twenty-five to forty feet. The national champion sassafras ─ located in Owensboro, Kentucky ─ is seventy-eight feet tall with a sixty-nine-foot spread.

    KY Native Berry Fruits

    KY native elderberry

    American Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

    Only four to twelve feet in height, the American Black Elderberry forms thickets that provide habitat to more than fifty species of birds and small mammals. White-tailed deer feed on the twigs, foliage, and fruit. Purple-black American elderberries taste slightly bitter and make a crimson juice, finding use in wine, jellies, and pies. The shrub grows best in full sun but can also be found along streams and on forest floors. Its hard wood can be crafted into combs, spindles, and pegs. The twigs can fruit are also used as dyes in basket-making.

    Elderberry trees grow best from seed which must be scarified prior to planting due to the hard seed coat. Without scarification, the seed may not germinate for two to five years after planting. The hard coat protects the seed when wildlife ingest the fruit. If properly stored, elderberry seeds may remain viable for up to sixteen years.

    KY native mulberry tree

    Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

    Hardy Red Mulberry trees prefer full sun but will tolerate shade as well as a variety of soil and weather conditions. They thrive in moist, deep, rich soil. Birds love the sweet fruit which resemble thin blackberries. Red mulberries can be eaten fresh or used in jellies, wines, and desserts. These native trees can grow over sixty feet tall and require heavy pruning to maintain a suitable height for fruit harvest, so red mulberry trees are not commercially grown for fruit production. Some varieties, however, are grown for their ornamental value.

    The mulberry, once known as the “King of the Tree Crops,” is now considered a messy, weedy tree unsuitable for the well-manicured landscape.

    KY Native Serviceberry

    Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

    Of the three Kentucky native serviceberries, Downy Serviceberry is mainly planted as an ornamental. Its wood is both heavy (the heaviest in the U.S.) and hard, making excellent tool handles. Serviceberry trees grow in full sun or partial shade and prefer moist but well-drained soil. The red-purple fruit tastes somewhat like blueberries. Serviceberries can be eaten fresh, baked in pies, or dried like raisins. Forty or more bird species favor serviceberries as well as mammals big and small. It is a common understory tree.

    The serviceberry gets its name from funeral/memorial services. Kentucky serviceberries flower in early spring (two weeks before the dogwood) and has been used as an indicator, legend has it, that it is warm enough outside to dig a grave for a funeral service. The nickname “sarvisberry” comes from the Appalachian pronunciation of the word “service” as “sarvis.”

    Photographs used under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Photographers: Julie Makin, Homer Edward Price, Rasbak, Phyzome, Scott Bauer, MONGO, Asit K. Ghosh, VasiDgallery, sbmdstock, Franz Eugen Köhler, James Steakley, H. Zell, and Аимаина хикари.

    Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Master Gardener. Reviewed by Michael Boice, Oldham County Horticulture Assistant.

    Oldham Farms Host Events

    The following Agriculture and Natural Resources articles printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

    Recent Events on Oldham County Farms

    oldham county land judging

    Oldham County Hosts 4-H Land Judging

    The State 4-H Land Judging Contest was held in Oldham County on August 19 at Jim Pearce’s farm. Around 100 students from all across Kentucky participated in the contest. Land judging is a way of appraising the physical nature and capability of soils. Skills learned in land judging transfer into careers for many students; the knowledge learned is used everyday by farmers, home builders, road builders, and conservationists. Thank you to the Pearce family for hosting this fun, educational event for Kentucky’s youth.

    oldham ky land judging

    2016 Regional Beef Field Day

    On September 27, Oldham County Cattlemen’s President Maynard Stetten hosted UK Extension’s Regional Beef Field Day at his farm. 250 producers from the Louisville area attended and learned about Heavy Use Feeding Areas and Other Conservation Practices; Handling Facilities and Working Cattle in Reduced Stress Environments; and Antibiotics Regulation Changes (Veterinary Feed Directive). District Conservationist Kurt Mason, UK Extension Veterinarian Michelle Arnold, and UK Beef Specialist Darrh Bullock educated farmers about these practices, and Dr. Stetten told participants about his registered Angus cattle operation during a tour of the farm.

    2016 regional beef field day

    This annual field day is a cooperative effort of Extension agents and beef producers in the Louisville area and is supported by local Cattlemen’s Associations. Thanks to the Stettens for hosting this event.

    regional beef field day