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

KY Native Plants in Bloom

Home to over twenty-five hundred plant species, Kentucky is a veritable wildflower garden. Kentucky native fall flowers include aster, goldenrod, and ironweed.

KY native aster

Aster

Fall Kentucky Native Flower

Several species of aster grow in Kentucky, including smooth blue aster, aromatic aster, New England aster, and white panicle aster.

Kentucky asters bloom from summer to fall in multiple colors: violet, white, blue, and pink. Depending on species and variety, they can grow from eighteen inches to five feet tall. Height can be controlled by pruning during summer, before buds develop. Be careful to remove no more than one-fourth of the total height at a time so as not to overstress the plants.

Asters are prone to powdery mildew and verticillium wilt, especially when overcrowded. Prevent these diseases by providing the plants with good air movement. Asters grow best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.

KY native goldenrod

Goldenrod (Solidago)

Kentucky Native Flower in Bloom

Goldenrod, Kentucky’s state flower, blooms in the late summer and early fall. Thirty-one species of goldenrod are native to Kentucky, including two endangered species: White-Haired Goldenrod and Short’s Goldenrod.

It is a common misconception that goldenrod is responsible for fall allergies. In truth, it is the inconspicuous ragweed, blooming at the same time, that causes hay fever. Green and weedy in appearance, ragweed blends right into its surroundings. Its tiny, green flowers release waves of pollen into the air, contributing largely to fall allergies. Goldenrod, on the other hand, is insect-pollinated and therefore not the culprit of your allergic reaction.

Goldenrod blooms in full sun from late summer to early fall. Species vary from two to five feet in height. Some varieties will aggressively take over a garden, so goldenrod is not a common landscape plant. They are susceptible to several diseases, but most are easily avoidable if proper air circulation is provided and good watering practices are used.

KY native ironweed

Ironweed (Vernonia)

Kentucky Native Wildflower

From late summer through early fall, ironweed blooms in fields and along roads all across Kentucky. The most common species in the state is Tall Ironweed, but Missouri Ironweed and New York Ironweed also grow in some regions.

Ironweed can grow between four and six feet tall, but pruning in June can help keep the size manageable. It prefers growing in full sun and well-drained, moist soil. Few pests and diseases affect this Kentucky native wildflower. With an aggressively spreading root system, ironweed is perhaps the most troublesome pasture weed in Kentucky. Livestock avoid it due to its bitter taste.

Kentucky Wildflowers

Native Plants Attract Butterflies and Bees

Interested in planting wildflowers for pollinators? Aster, goldenrod, and ironweed all attract butterflies and bees.

For more information on using native plants to attract butterflies, check out the following resources:

Photographs by Greg Hume and SteampunkGypsy. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Master Gardener. Reviewed by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.

83rd Oldham County Fair

2016 Oldham County Fair

Congratulations 4-H Fair Winners

oc 4-h fair

4-H members entered 619 projects in the Oldham County Fair, demonstrating many talents and lots of hard work. We would like to congratulate all the 4-H members who created the 75 projects from Oldham County that advanced to the State Fair:

*Hannah Anderson *Noah Anderson *Rebekah Anderson
*Lilly Crook *Rebekah Degnan *Sarah Griffin
Ryan Hawkins Abby Hutchens *Ethan Jasinski
*Katelynn Jasinski *Lindsay Jasinski *Zach Jasinski
*Keirstin Kennedy *Emmett King *Drew Laverty
*Molly Logsdon *Ruby Mason *Adelle Minor
*Olivia Minor *Caroline Olds *Ella Olds
*Izzy Perez Coral Schulte Karmen Woods

Congratulations to the 4-H members denoted above who received one or more blue ribbons for their awesome work at the Kentucky State Fair. Special congratulations to Emmett King and Ruby Mason whose projects won State Fair Class Champion in their categories.

oc 4-h fair

2016 Oldham County Fair

Agriculture Department

Thanks to everyone who brought agriculture entries to the Oldham County Fair! In the Agriculture Department, Melody Hardin was the Youth Division Champion, and Bob Fishback was the Adult Division Champion. Bob Fishback’s jalapeno peppers also won Best in Show in the Adult Division. Sarah Hardin’s sweet bell peppers won Best of Show: Youth.

oc fair ag

2016 Oldham County Fair

Home & Family Arts Department

This year, the Home & Family Arts Department had over 140 entries in competition. A big thank you goes to the more than twenty wonderful volunteers who helped with the judging and displays.

oldham county fair

Left, Kathy Cursh-Gray won a blue ribbon for her homemade wine. Middle, John Black entered a cherry pie. Right, Youth Division Champion Mary Elizabeth Broecker.

Congratulations to our 2016 Division Champions! Congrats also to Ronnie Meier whose quilt won Best of Show, an award sponsored by the Log Cabin Quilters.

oldham county fair winners

Left, Open Division Champion Elizabeth Rosenberg. Right, Senior Division Champion Barb Lynch.

Written by Kelly Woods, OC 4-H Agent; Traci Missun, OC Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent; and Chris Duncan, OC Family & Consumer Science Agent. Edited by Lauren State, OC Extension Staff Assistant.

Top 5 Landscaping Mistakes

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

ky landscaping

Common Landscaping Mistakes

Horticulturist Michael Boice Shares His Expertise

Planting and managing a landscape incorrectly can lead to plant loss or excessive maintenance. Often we plan a landscape without thinking about the needs of plants or how they grow. Five of the most common mistakes I have found include locating a plant in a space that is too small for it, planting in poor soil types, overplanting, improper mulching, and failing to consider the environmental requirements of the plant.

Trees are often planted in locations they will rapidly outgrow. Even small trees grow 15 to 25 feet tall and 10 feet wide and can interfere with buildings and walkway. Heavy pruning to control the size will eventually stress the tree, making it susceptible to disease and insect pests.

Some locations have poor soil that will not support the plants we choose. Note that water-retaining soils are the most common type in our area, and too much water can drown a root system. Root health is very important to the growth of a plant. Some sites may require total removal of poor soil and replacement with a good quality topsoil to insure proper drainage.

ky landscaping

Overplanting is a common error. It may be desirable for a new planting to look full, so small plants are planted for the immediate aesthetics without considering how big they will grow in a couple years. Overplanting requires a lot of trimming to maintain plant size because crowded plants will grow taller. Crowding also reduces air movement, increasing the opportunity for disease and insects to attack. Plants often have to be removed to reduce the overcrowded look or even to uncover a blocked window. Reduce the maintenance and improve the health of your landscape by considering how much space a plant will require once it is mature.

Proper mulching is good for the landscape. Mulch improves the appearance, conserves moisture, and reduces the number of weeds. Mulch can also cause problems if applied incorrectly. Mulch should be applied a uniform two to three inches deep around the planting. It should not be excessively deep or piled up on plant stems or trunks. Deep mulch can shed water, limit air reaching the roots, and create homes for rodents and insects that can damage the plants. Mulch piled up around tree trunks creates an area where roots will grow in the mulch and wrap around the tree. Over the years, the roots grow toward the trunk and girdle the tree, killing it. Maple trees are especially prone to girdling roots.

Plants used in landscaping come from many different growing environments. Plants chosen to add color or texture are often placed in locations that are too sunny or too shady for them. The plants become stressed, making them more susceptible to pests. Some plant foliage, such as that of the variegated hosta, will burn in sunny locations. Most flowering plants will not flower in heavy shade. The amount of light and water available, soil type, and growing temperature are important for the health of the planting.

ky landscaping

Learning about the plants in your landscape will improve your chance for success and reduce the maintenance required to keep it looking good.

Written by Michael Boice, Oldham County Horticulture Assistant. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

2016 Oldham County Fair Winners

The following article printed in the August 18 edition of the Oldham Era.

Agriculture Department

The following received one or more blue ribbons in the Youth Division of the Agriculture Department:

Zac Clute Andrew Fraim Gillian Gattenby
Sarah Griffin Melody Hardin Sarah Hardin
Ashley Potts Lauren Potts Porter Salisbury

The following received one or more blue ribbons in the Adult Division of the Agriculture Department:

Buck Ashlock Andy Brooking Nanette Dietmeyer
Bob Fishback Elizabeth Griffin Ashley Haselton
David Ragsdale LeAnne Smith

In the Agriculture Department, Melody Hardin was the Youth Division Champion, and Bob Fishback was the Adult Division Champion. Bob Fishback’s jalapeno peppers also won Best in Show in the Adult Division. Sarah Hardin’s sweet bell peppers won Best of Show: Youth.

4-H Department

The following received one or more blue ribbons in the 4-H department:

Samantha Aguilar Hannah Anderson Maggie Anderson
Noah Anderson Rebekah Anderson Peyton Ash
Will Barber Charlie Beckmann Ryan Bivens
Reagan Cheatham Camille Clickner Jack Coleman
Lilly Crook Rebekah Degnan Heather Denny
Alex Dunkle Kailey Greenwell Gage Griffin
Sarah Griffin Ryan Hawkins Katelyn Head
Isabelle Heady Benny Hernandez Beth Huffman
Abigail Hutchens Ethan Jasinski Katelynn Jasinski
Lindsay Jasinski Zach Jasinski Carmen Kelly
Rylee Kelly Keirsten Kennedy Emmett King
Anna Laverty Drew Laverty Molly Logsdon
Connor Mackenzie Ruby Mason Adelle Minor
Olivia Minor Taylor Morrison Adam Mouchrani
Carrie Olds Ella Olds Carter Onan
Izzy Perez Keira Puckett Audrey Roberts
Brianna Ross Savannah Satterly Cameron Schulte
Coral Schulte Isabella Timmons Cortney Wells
Hannah Wilkins Jessica Wilkins Zach Wilkins
Lexie Willett Ryleyann Willett Karmen Woods
Joey Woosley April York

The following were division champions and will proceed to the Kentucky State Fair:

Hannah Anderson Noah Anderson Rebekah Anderson
Will Barber Rebekah Degnan Lilly Crook
Kailey Greenwell Sarah Griffin Ryan Hawkins
Beth Huffman Abby Hutchens Ethan Jasinski
Katelynn Jasinski Lindsay Jasinski Zach Jasinski
Keirsten Kennedy Emmett King Anna Laverty
Drew Laverty Molly Logsdon Ruby Mason
Adelle Minor Olivia Minor Carrie Olds
Ella Olds Izzy Perez Keira Puckett
Audrey Roberts Brianna Ross Cameron Schulte
Coral Schulte Karmen Woods

Home & Family Arts Department

The following received one or more blue ribbons in the Junior Division of the Home & Family Arts Department:

Gage Birchmeier Weslee Bodenheimer Mary Elizabeth Broecker
Breann Crouch-Edgar Sarah Griffin Emily Holliday
Ethan Jasinski Lucy Pike Eliza Stewart

The following received one or more blue ribbons in the Open Division of the Home & Family Arts Department:

Karen Bergstrom John Black Kathleen Cursh-Gray
Emily Diamond Jolene Griffin Traci Jones
Susan Lancaster Rebecca Mings Tara Paine
Deborah Patton David Ragsdale Elizabeth Rosenberg
LeAnne Smith Lauren State

The following received one or more blue ribbons in the Senior Division of the Home & Family Arts Department:

Mary Broecker Betty Doggendorf Chris Duncan
Larry Duncan Judie Faltz Joanne Ferguson
Jolene Griffin Susan Lancaster Barbara Lynch
Ronnie Meier Angela Morris Carolyn Nowatka
Carol Orlove Dorothy Servino Diane “Candy” Thompson

In the Home & Family Arts Department, Ronnie Meier’s quilt won Best of Show, an award sponsored by the Oldham County Log Cabin Quilters, for the second year in a row. Mary Elizabeth Broecker is the Junior Division Champion with five blue ribbons and $30 in premiums. Elizabeth Rosenberg is the Open Division Champion. Her thirteen entries totaled $72 in premiums. Barbara Lynch is the Senior Division Champion with seven entries and $34 premium money.

OC Growers

Planting Summer Annual Forage Crops: Grower Talk

There’s still time to plant summer annual forages for pasture and hay this season. Forages like sorghum-sudangrass, millet and teff are typically planted in May through July. The earlier these are planted during this time window, the higher the yield opportunities. Summer annuals make their best growth when cool season grasses have gone semi-dormant during hot, dry months. Read on to learn from two producers about their experiences with these forage crops.

Wes Husband, on growing German Millet (also called Foxtail Millet):

“I have grown German/Foxtail millet for hay and have always been lucky enough to have a good crop. One year we had it tested, and it was 14% crude protein. That year I cut it right when it was in the boot.” (before seed heads form)

“I started using millet frequently for two reasons. I plant/reseed hay fields in the fall because there are less weed problems then. I use the millet during the summer growing season to prep the ground for working in the fall and suppression of weeds during the growing season. Millet seems to have the same effect on ground as soybeans. After I harvest the millet the ground really works up well.”

“I have been double-cropping the millet behind wheat. Once the wheat is harvested, I plant millet to make sure I have enough hay. Last year it rained so much, and it became so late with the wheat harvest that I didn’t plant millet until the third week in July and still had a harvestable crop.”

“Advantages include low seed cost, minimal rainfall requirements, high yields, and minimal fertilizer needs. It is excellent for an emergency late planted hay crop and has a short growing season. If there is a disadvantage I guess it would be that it’s an annual.”

Caldwell Willig, on growing Sorghum-Sudangrass and Teff:

“We had a river bottom that wasn’t fenced and couldn’t be grazed. It was cropped for years (grain) but we still had to buy hay to supplement what we cut on the rest of the farm. So the economics of leasing the bottom and turning around and buying hay just didn’t make sense. We already had the investment in the hay equipment so we decided to convert the bottom to hay ground.”

“The advantage of using sorghum-sudangrass and teff was the increased tonnage/acre yields. As far as disadvantages – like all hay, timing is everything. Teff was very prone to lodging, particularly right before cutting. A sudden shower with some wind meant disaster when we grew it.” (Especially prone to lodging after stem elongation/seed formation).

sorghum-sudangrass

“Excessive rainfall right before harvest of sorghum-sudangrass results in the plants over-maturing very quickly and producing thick, unpalatable stems. Also, the sorghum-sudangrass is very difficult to dry down sufficiently to make good quality hay. It makes better baleage.” This year, Caldwell planted sorghum-sudangrass on a different part of the farm, where it could be grazed by cattle.

Note that horses should not be allowed to graze sorghum-sudangrass or millet pastures because of serious health disorders associated with these. When in doubt about suitable forages for grazing animals, check with the Extension Office and/or your veterinarian.

For seeding rates and depths and more forage information, see the Grain and Forage Crop Guide online.