Author Archives: warrencountyag

Soil Sampling

“Taking a Soil Sample for Horticulture Crops”

Compiled by: Mike Klahr, Boone County Extension Agent for Horticulture

When you take soil test samples, keep in mind that a few ounces of soil are being tested to determine lime and fertilizer needs for what may be several thousand pounds of soil in the lawn or garden area. It is absolutely necessary to take care to assure that the soil sample you send to the laboratory accurately represents the area sampled. Soil samples can be collected through much of the year, although fall (September to December) or spring (February to April) are the best times. Fall sampling will often result in a faster return of results and recommendations.


A soil probe, auger, garden trowel, or a spade and knife are all the tools you need to take the individual cores that will make up the “field” sample. You will also need a clean, dry bucket (preferably plastic) to collect and mix the sample cores. Soil sample boxes or bags and information forms for submitting samples are available at your local County Extension office.

The most representative sample can be obtained from a large area by sampling in smaller units on the basis of soil type, cropping history, erosion, or past management practices. More accurate results are obtained when problem areas are sampled separately, especially when “trouble-shooting” during the growing season. In such instances, take a sample both from the poor growing area and adjacent areas of good growth. Designate each sample area with a letter or numbers on an area map for record-keeping purposes.

Collect at least 5 to 10 soil cores for each lawn or garden area. Take the soil cores randomly throughout the area to be sampled and place in the bucket. From that mixture, you will BRING IN 2 CUPS (1 PINT) OF SOIL FROM EACH SAMPLE AREA.


All soil core samples should start at the soil surface and go down to the recommended depth given for each specific crop listed below:


■ For established lawns, sample the top 2 inches of soil only. Do not include grass, roots or thatch in the sample.

■ For areas to be tilled up for a new lawn, sample the top 4 inches of soil.

■ Sample problem areas and areas with shrubs or flower beds separate from other turf or lawn areas.

■ Sample front and back yards separately.

■ For lawn samples, do not sample under the drip line of trees.

■ Do not take samples close to driveways or streets, unless this is treated as a “problem area”, which would require a separate sample.

■ Fertilize lawns only at the proper time of year (primarily in the Fall).

See AGR-53, “Lawn Fertilization in KY”


Annual Flowers—Sample the top 6 to 8 inches of soil.

Perennial Flowers—Sample the top 6 to 12 inches of soil.

■ Don’t take samples too close to foundations, sidewalks, driveways or limestone graveled areas, unless these are treated as separate “problem areas”.

■ Granular dry fertilizer can be added to the flower garden when it is tilled in the spring.


■ Sample the top 8 to 12 inches of soil.

■ Take separate samples for each block or different flower variety.

■ For large fields, up to 30 soil core samples may be needed per sample.


■ Sample the top 6 to 12 inches of soil.

■ Take samples from under the drip line of established trees (under tips of the longest branches all the way around the tree), or just outside the root ball or planting area for newly planted trees.

■ Fertilize in late fall, early winter or early spring.

See ID-72, “Principles of Home Landscape Fertilization”


■ Sample the top 6 to 12 inches of soil, preferably in October or November.

■ Do not include compost or manure in the sample.

■ Fertilize in early spring before planting, and side-dress with more fertilizer later in the season as needed.

See HO-63, “Home Vegetable Gardening in KY”


■ Sample the top 8 to 12 inches of soil.

See ID-36, “Commercial Vegetable Crop Recommendations” for specific fertilizer and nutrient needs for each crop.


■ Sample the top 12 to 18 inches of soil.

■ Take samples from drip line area under branch tips (or closer to trunk for newly planted trees).

■ Fertilize in February, according to soil test results.

See HO-64, “Growing Fruit at Home in Kentucky”, or ID-92, “Commercial Tree Fruit Spray Guide” for nitrogen recommendations.


■ Sample the top 8 to 12 inches of soil.

■ Fertilize in February.

See HO-64, “Growing Fruit at Home in KY”, or ID-94, “Kentucky Commercial Small Fruit & Grape Spray Guide”.


After all cores from one crop area are collected and placed in the bucket, crush the materials and mix the sample thoroughly. ALLOW THE SAMPLE TO AIR DRY in an open space free from contamination. Spread the soil out to dry on newspapers. DO NOT dry the sample in an oven or at an abnormally high temperature.

WHEN DRY, CRUMBLE THE SOIL AND FILL A  2 CUP SAMPLE container with soil. Separate information is needed for:

➤ Agricultural Soils

➤ Home Gardens

➤ Lawns and Turfgrasses

➤ Commercial Horticulture Crops


1) Never apply lime to horticultural crops unless a soil test indicates the need. Many soils are ruined by annual applications of lime. Most horticultural crops prefer acid soils, around pH 6.3 to 6.4, with some needing pH 4.5 to 5.5. It is easier to raise soil pH above 7.0 (with lime) than it is to bring it back down (with sulfur).

2) When you get back your soil test results, realize that the University of Kentucky did NOT do a test to determine the level of nitrogen in your soil. Nitrogen is leached out and used up regularly by all crops, so a basic, generic nitrogen recommendation is given (the same for everyone…for that specific crop), based simply on the known nitrogen requirements of the crop indicated. Therefore, if you have just applied nitrogen fertilizer before you sent in your soil sample, do not apply more just because the soil test says you need nitrogen. Remember, they did not actually test the level of nitrogen in your soil.

3) All Kentucky soils benefit from added organic matter such as peat moss, compost or well-aged manure. These improve the drainage and water and nutrient-holding capacity of soils.

Wildfire Preparedness

By Simone Lewis – National Weather Service Charleston, WV

When the word wildfire comes to mind, images of burning forests in the western United States usually enter the thoughts of most.  But did you know that Kentucky is also prone to wildfires? In fact, the state averages 1,447 wildfires a year!  The following article will discuss what weather conditions are favorable for wildfire development, the weather alerts that are issued during periods of favorable fire weather, and what you can do to prepare for and prevent wildfires.

Photo Credit: Kentucky Emergency Management

The first question on your mind is probably “What is Fire Weather”?  Essentially, fire weather is any sort of weather that can ignite or lead to rapid spread of fires.  This includes thunderstorms (which contain strong gusty winds and lightning that can lead to rapid spread or ignition of a fire), days when the relative humidity is low (often in the early spring and fall seasons), and windy days (which acts to not only spread wildfires but also leads to the drying of vegetation, making it more susceptible to burning).

Wildfire Prevention

Most wildfires in the state of Kentucky are caused from arson or from uncontrolled debris burning. In fact, 90% of all wildfires in Kentucky are caused by humans. Unlike many fires in the western United States, most of the fires in Kentucky are fought by firefighters on the ground (Source: Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet).  They are putting their lives in danger to control the spread of these fires. It is therefore important to always be fire aware, and heed any Fire Weather Watches or Red Flag Warnings issued by the NWS.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when the following products are issued:

Fire Weather Watch = BE PREPARED! Dangerous fire weather conditions are possible in the next few days but are not occurring yet.

Red Flag Warning = TAKE ACTION! Dangerous fire weather conditions are ongoing or expected to occur shortly. During a Red Flag Warning, you should avoid or use extreme caution when dealing with anything that could pose a fire hazard.

  • Do not start a campfire or ignite a burn pile.
  • Do not burn trash.
  • Avoid using a lawnmower, chainsaw, or any other equipment that may emit sparks.
  • Do not dispose of cigarette butts on the ground or outside of your car.
  • If using an outdoor grill, make sure to have a water source nearby and do not dispose of the ashes until the Red Flag Warning has expired or been canceled AND the ashes are fully extinguished!
  • Watch for smoke nearby. If you spot an unattended fire, call 911 and report it immediately!

What do I do to prepare?

Take personal responsibility by preparing long before the threat of a fire, so your home and family are ready.

  • If there are concerns of fire potential, create a defensible space by clearing brush that is easier to ignite away from your home.
  • Put together a basic emergency supply kit. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights and generators.
  • Plan escape routes and make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
  • Sit down with your family and close friends, and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency kit, or another safe place where it can be accessed in the event of an emergency.
  • Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property in the event of fire.
  • Follow the latest NWS forecasts and listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for the latest updates.

Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service

What are Kentucky’s Fire Laws?

Lastly, it’s important to know and heed the fire laws and seasons for the state of Kentucky. During the following periods, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Spring Forest Fire Hazard Season: February 15 – April 30
  • Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season: October 1 – December 15

Also, burn bans can be issued at any time of the year if conditions warrant, particularly during periods of drought, and should always be followed.

Summer Garden Pie


· 1 tablespoon butter

· 1 (14.5 ounce) can yellow corn, drained or 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels

· ½ onion, diced

· 2 medium zucchinis, ends removed and thinly sliced

· 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

· 1 tablespoon dried basil or two tablespoons fresh, chopped basil

· 1 teaspoon dried oregano

· ½ teaspoon salt

· 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

· 4 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. Sauté until vegetables are tender, approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While vegetables are cooking, line an 11×7 baking dish with nonstick spray. Remove vegetables from heat. Drain vegetables.

Transfer vegetables to the baking pan. In a medium bowl, stir together the basil, oregano, salt, cheese, and eggs.

Pour egg mixture over the vegetables.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil. Bake an additional 5 minutes to brown. Let cool and then slice.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional Analysis: 210 calories; 12g total fat; 6g saturated fat; 0g trans fat;

130mg cholesterol; 570mg sodium; 11g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 6g sugar;

0g added sugar; 14g protein.

Watch Kristi Shive and Kristin Hildabrand demonstrate how to make summer garden pie!

Eating Over the Rainbow Challenge

JOIN us in our Eating over the Rainbow Challenge! Pick up your FREE items today at the Warren County Cooperative Extension Office!

We are challenging families to eat at least one fruit and vegetable each day, for at least one week during the month of August.

The Eating over the Rainbow Challenge helps make food fun and encourages children and their families to try new foods with our fun and FREE resources!

Pick up your FREE resources TODAY at 5162 Russellville Road Bowling Green, KY.

Complete and return the included evaluation at the beginning of September to receive a FREE LUNCHBOX and incentive items!

Call 270-842-1681 for more information.

Buy Kentucky Fresh

Fruits and vegetables grown locally and sold at the farmers’ market spend more time maturing in the field, and less time on the road. They aren’t picked green and sprayed with hormones to ripen. They are naturally at their peak flavor and nutrition, and ready for your family to enjoy.

When your family has fun selecting fresh and delicious local foods, you help your neighbors on small farms and keep more money in your community. Take time to talk to the farmers and learn about their farms and fresh foods in your area.

Tips for shopping at the Farmers’ Market

· Mind your budget. Before you go, decide how much you have to spend. Bring along a calculator or paper and pencil to track spending. Don’t buy more than you can store safely and eat or preserve before it spoils.

· Bring the kids and let them help pick out some of the fruit and vegetables. They will learn how to shop wisely and might even get excited about trying new foods.

· Arrive early for best selection. Popular items may sell out fast.

· Shop late for best prices. Some farmers will sell items at a lower price, rather than taking them home. Don’t be afraid to bargain.

· Make a lap around the market before making purchases. This will allow you to see which booths have the best quality food for the lowest prices, which vendors accept EBT or nutrition program benefits, or offer promotions such as Double Dollars.

· Keep an open mind. Produce sold at the farmers’ market is usually grown for taste, not appearance. It may look imperfect, but taste great.

· Ask for seconds. Sometimes farmers have good produce that didn’t look good enough to display. Ask if they have seconds that will sell at a reduced rate.

· Buy fruit and vegetables in season. That’s when they’re at the height of quality and lowest price.

· Ask questions. Farmers are usually happy to answer questions about their produce, and they often have good cooking and serving suggestions.

· Buy now, enjoy later. If possible, buy large amounts of produce in season and freeze, can or dry it for winter. Contact the local Extension Office for information on food preservation.  

Celebrate Tree Check Month

By Jonathan L. Larson, Entomology Extension Specialist, Kentucky Pest News

In the spirit of invasive species awareness, the USDA has declared August as “Tree Check Month.” Specifically, the hope is that people will serve their community by checking for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive longhorn beetle pest that could be devastating to Kentucky forests and landscapes. While this pest is not known to currently live in the Bluegrass State, there are active infestations in Ohio, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and New York as of 2023. August is the peak season for finding adult beetles, and you are asked to contribute 10 minutes of your time by participating in Tree Check Month to help make sure that ALB hasn’t snuck into Kentucky.

Asian Longhorned Beetle Basics

Asian longhorned beetle is a pest that was first accidentally imported to the U.S. in 1996. This initial find was in Brooklyn, NY and was eventually eradicated. Unfortunately, other populations popped up in other parts of New York State, as well as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Ohio in the U.S., and Ontario in Canada.

Adult beetles are 1 to 1.5 inches long with antennae that are longer than the rest of the body. They are black with white splotches on the back, and the antennae are black and white. The legs and feet can have a bluish color. Larvae are cylindrical; they are a type of “roundheaded borer,” and can be up to 2 inches long. Larvae are more cryptic, as they live under the bark of the tree but can be discovered when trees are taken down.

Figure 1: Adult Asian longhorned beetles are distinctive black longhorn beetles. They have white splotches on their back and antennae that are longer than the rest of their body (Photo: M. O’Donnell and A. Cline, Wood Boring Beetle Families, USDA APHIS PPQ,
Figure 2: Asian longhorned beetle larvae are roundheaded borers, cylindrical larvae that dwell beneath the bark of the tree. They will bore into the heartwood of the tree and can cause mortality of the plant (Steven Katovich,

Most of our native longhorn beetles aren’t considered primary pests of trees as they tend to opportunistically feed on dead and dying trees. ALB can infest healthy trees, and over time, the larvae inside will kill the tree. They can be found in 13 different host trees: ash, birch, elm, golden raintree, horse chestnut, Katsura, maple, mimosa, apple, mountain ash, London planetree, poplar, and willow. Larvae will feed down into the heartwood of the tree. When infested trees are cut, the inside often looks like Swiss cheese. Once a tree is infested, there is no way to save it. Areas where this is pest is discovered are quarantined, and infested trees are destroyed. There have already been thousands of trees removed in the United States.

What Should You Do?

To participate in Tree Check Month, go out into your landscape and see if you have any of the hosts listed above. If you do, then inspect your tree for symptoms such as:

Figure 3: Asian longhorned beetle  creates distinctive symptoms such as large exit holes that adults emerge from (top image) and egg laying pits that females chew into the bark (bottom image). (Photos: Joe Boggs, Ohio State University,
  • Large exit holes.
  • Pits chewed into the bark.
  • Sawdust-like material at the base of the tree.
  • Dead branches in the upper canopy.

Adult beetles can also be spotted; they are large and in charge, so they can be obvious. They may be on trees themselves or they can be discovered on cars, outdoor furniture, sidewalks, and walls. The latest infestation (in South Carolina) was discovered due to the observations of a citizen in the infested neighborhood. Without their attention, state and national officials would not have known the pest was there. By participating in Tree Check Month, you can help protect the trees of Kentucky and ensure we haven’t been invaded. You can report suspect beetles or symptoms to the UK Department of Entomology through our Facebook page (Kentucky Bugs) or through the Office of the State Entomologist (

More Information

If you want to learn more about Tree Check Month or the Asian longhorned beetle, you can find info at the following USDA sites:

  • USDA Asks Public to Help Check Trees for Asian Longhorned Beetle (link)
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle (link)

Stockpiling Forages to Extend Grazing Season

Article Source: Ray Smith, UK plant and soil sciences professor

Good pasture management can help extend the grazing season further into the fall and early winter. Take advantage of good growing conditions to obtain high-quality pasture for late fall and early winter grazing. Stockpiling helps broaden the pasture season for the cow herd, reduces feed and labor costs by lowering the amount of hay needed and provides an ideal location for the beef cow herd to winter and calve.

     It’s easy to begin to stockpile. Simply take cattle off pastures in late summer, apply nitrogen fertilizer and allow grass to accumulate growth through late fall.  Then, put cattle on the pasture one section at a time until they’ve finished grazing the whole field.

     Take soil samples for analyses to determine pasture requirements for phosphorus, potassium and lime. You’ll need this information to renovate with clover in the spring.

     Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass are the best grasses to stockpile in Kentucky. Both retain green color and forage quality late into winter, are somewhat resistant to low temperatures and form a good sod. Tall fescue produces more fall and winter growth than Kentucky bluegrass.

     Nitrogen and moisture are critical to successfully stockpiling grasses.

     Apply nitrogen in mid-August. Topdress at the rate of 40 to 60 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre for Kentucky bluegrass. Use 40 to 100 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre on tall fescue.

     Numerous studies show wise fertilizer use and timing results in high yields during fall and early winter. Tall fescue crude protein and digestibility are better during fall and early winter than at any other time of the year.

     Yields can be very good when water is available during the stockpiling period. Tall fescue can produce two tons of dry matter up to late November. With adequate water, producers can achieve 25 pounds of dry matter for each pound of nitrogen used.

     After frost, let cattle graze grass-legume fields quickly before plants deteriorate. Then, put animals on the stockpiled grass fields. For the most efficient use of stockpiled fields, establish a strip grazing system by using a temporary electric fence to section off areas of the field. The first grazing area should have water and mineral sources. When animals have grazed this area, move the fence to open a new strip. Repeat this process until the entire field has been grazed.

     Stockpiled grass is an excellent choice for fall-calving cows because it can be used to meet high nutritional needs after calving and during the breeding season. Grazing stockpiled grasses may offer the most benefit to spring-calving cows in thin body condition during the fall.  Growing, weaned cattle can be grazed on stockpiled fescue. Using stockpiled grasses helps lower feed costs when backgrounding cattle.

For more information about pasture management and other topics, contact the (COUNTY NAME) Cooperative Extension Service.


The Risk of Lightning and How to Stay Safe                  

By Scherri Evans in association with National Weather Service Paducah, KY

While fascinating to watch, lightning poses a threat to societies whether it be fires or getting struck. There are millions of lightning flashes each year in the United States alone and in the last 30 years, lightning strikes have caused numerous fatalities as well as life-long injuries.  Understanding the dangers of lightning is essential to safeguarding yourself against the potential threat.

How do storms develop and produce lightning?

All storms go through differing stages of growth and development, but mainly form in the early parts of the day when the Sun heats the surface and pockets of air start rising. When they reach a certain point in the atmosphere, cumulus clouds begin to develop. As condensation takes place, ice crystals begin to form and drop in the layers of the atmosphere as they get heavier. The movement of these ice crystals allows them to develop electrification and as the heavier crystals drop, they become negatively charged in the middle and lower part of the clouds. Beneath the clouds, a positive charge develops on the ground creating a connection to the negative charges. Lightning forms as the electrification of the negative and positive charges becomes greater, causing a large spark of electricity to be released that is as hot as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do I stay safe during a thunderstorm? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

If you hear thunder, you are likely in an area that will allow you to be struck by lightning. The saying, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors” applies to all situations. The delayed reaction of not reaching cover is a catalyst for injuries and even fatalities. If you somehow find yourself in a situation where you cannot reach cover in a vehicle or covered shelter, the following tips apply:

  1. Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  2. Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
  3. If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.
  4. If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting.
  5. Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning, but they are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.

Make sure to follow your daily forecasts so you know what to expect for the weather each day. Whether you are working, playing sports, or having fun with family outside, be sure to take precautions and take action as soon as possible to avoid being struck by lightning.

Start looking now for Perilla Mint

Start Looking Now for Perilla Mint

Dr. Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), JD Green, PhD (Extension Professor [Weed Scientist], UK Plant and Soil Sciences Department), Megan Romano, DVM (Clinical Veterinary Toxicologist, UKVDL)

Poisonous plants can be responsible for considerable losses in livestock although many cases go unrecognized and undiagnosed due to a lack of knowledge of which plants are dangerous and the wide range of signs that may be observed after consumption. The risk posed to animals by a particular plant depends on a variety of factors, including how much of the plant is consumed and over what time period; the stage or maturity of plant growth; which parts of the plant are eaten; whether the plant is green or dried; and the animal’s age, species, and in some cases breed. Most weeds are tough and unpalatable, and cattle will not consume them unless baled in hay or the pasture is limited due to drought or overgrazing and there is little else to consume.

If cattle on pasture suddenly develop symptoms such as diarrhea, salivation or slobbering, muscle weakness, trembling, incoordination, staggering, collapse, difficulty breathing, or rapid death, then poisoning due to plants or any number of other toxicants should be high on the list of possible causes.

Oftentimes poisonous plants affect just a few cattle in the herd. Cases occur more often shortly after animals are moved to a new field. The severity of signs primarily depends on how much of the plant or other toxicant is consumed over what time period (the rate of consumption). If plant poisoning in livestock is suspected, the first thing to do is call a veterinarian, since prompt treatment is critical to the animal’s chances of survival. Until the veterinarian arrives, keep the affected animal quiet and confined where a physical examination can be performed, and treatment given. Other animals should be moved as carefully as possible from the pasture where the suspected poisoning occurred until the cause of illness has been determined. Prevention involves learning to recognize poisonous plants, implementing effective weed control and pasture improvement, and offering supplemental forage or feed when pasture is limited so cattle are not forced to graze toxic weeds. A common summer weed in Kentucky that can cause problems in livestock is perilla mint (Perilla frutescens), also known as perilla, purple mint, mint weed, beefsteak plant, and wild coleus. Severe lung damage can result from ingestion of the leaves and seeds, resulting in “atypical interstitial pneumonia” or AIP. Perilla is a summer annual that thrives in late summer when pastures are frequently dry and dormant. The opposite ovate leaves attached to square stems can be dark green to purple with toothed leaf margins.

Perilla mint has a distinctive mint aroma, with opposite dark green to purplish leaves that have serrated leaf margins attached to square stems.  Mature plants reach 2-3 feet tall and produce small, white to purple flowers with abundant seeds.  Pictures courtesy JD Green

Perilla reaches 20 to 30 inches in height at maturity with opposite leaves. The white to whitish-purple flowers and subsequent seed which occur in late summer are attached to terminal spikes. The plant also has a distinct, minty odor, especially as it becomes more mature. The weed prefers shaded areas along creeks, in fence rows, and the edges of the woods and partially shaded pastures. Once it becomes established, perilla produces many seeds and large colonies can develop in succeeding years. The early pre-seed stage of the weed is of relatively low toxicity while the flowering and green seed stage plant is most toxic, especially the seeds themselves. The time of year when perilla reaches the seed stage often corresponds to periods when desirable pasture grasses are scarce and the weather is hot, enticing cattle to consume plants they normally avoid, especially those in shady areas. The flowering or seed parts of perilla mint contain the highest concentration of toxic agents, perilla ketones. Perilla ketones are toxic in both fresh plants and in hay. Once ingested, they are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the lungs. Within the lungs, perilla ketones and other similar compounds are then activated, damaging the cells lining the air sacs and severely impairing gas exchange and lung function. This lung damage causes the animal to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a sudden and dramatic onset of severe breathing difficulty. Treatment is of limited value and severe cases seldom survive. 

Photo used with permission from Dr. Alan Doster, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The clinical signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome include a sudden onset of open-mouth breathing with the head and neck extended, nostrils dilated, a sway-back appearance, tongue protruding with foam coming from the mouth, an open-shouldered stance, and sometimes aggression. Breathing is shallow and rapid (35-75 breaths per minute) and may have a loud expiratory grunt.  Temperature is typically normal but may be mildly elevated due to the severity of the condition. In extreme cases, air under the skin (subcutaneous crepitation) may be felt over the upper portions of the neck, shoulders and back. Mild exercise may cause the animal to collapse and die. Generally, there is an absence of coughing and no signs of infection such as fever or depression unless a secondary bacterial pneumonia develops. Severely affected animals usually die within 1-2 days but animals that survive may develop chronic lung damage or heart failure. The stress of handling can cause prompt death so treatment must be approached with caution. A dart gun may be necessary to avoid moving the animal to a treatment facility. Treatments administered or prescribed by a veterinarian may include diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids used in an extra-label manner.

At necropsy, atypical interstitial pneumonia (AIP) is recognized when the chest cavity is opened, because the lungs remain fully expanded, sometimes with rib indentations on them, rather than collapsed as with a normal lung. AIP-affected lungs are heavy with a firm, rubbery texture instead of the expected light and spongy lung tissue. These necropsy findings are confirmed microscopically as a very distinct pattern of damage to the lung cells. In addition, the leaves and distinct square stems are sometimes identifiable in rumen contents.

The best time of the year to begin scouting for perilla mint is late spring (May and June). During the late summer months when plants are flowering and producing new seed, grazing infested fields should be limited. Mowing can be used for control but must be timely to reduce new seed production. Unfortunately, mowing or clipping fields may not be feasible in some areas since many plants grow near trees and in fence lines. Chemical control options include herbicides labeled for use in pastures and hay fields that consist of single or premixed active ingredients of 2,4-D, dicamba (e.g., Weedmaster®, Rifle-D®, Brash®, etc.), triclopyr (eg. Crossbow®, etc.) or aminopyralid (e.g., DuraCor®, GrazonNext®).  For best results, herbicide applications should be made to smaller, actively growing plants. Control is likely to be less effective when applied to taller, flowering plants. Grazing animals should be removed for a while after herbicide treatment since they may be more attracted to dying perilla mint plants. Furthermore, use good stewardship and observe label precautions when applying herbicides. 

Prevention begins with learning to recognize poisonous plants, where they grow, and when they cause problems. Toxic weeds may be found in fence rows, along creek or stream banks, near ponds and in the woods although some (such as cocklebur, horsenettle and pigweed) are found in pastures and hayfields. Scout summer pastures and offer supplemental forage or feed when pasture is limited so cattle are not forced to graze toxic weeds. Do not harvest toxic weeds in hay or silage since cattle do not sort through these feedstuffs and will readily ingest the weeds. Most importantly, implement effective weed control at the right time and use management practices to thicken the stand and improve the growth of desirable forages which can compete with the emergence and growth of annual weeds.

A newly revised UK Extension publication entitled “Guide to Plants of Kentucky Potentially Poisonous to Livestock” is available at the UK Extension Website or ask the county ag and natural resources (ANR) extension agent how to access this information. Pictures of many of the weeds and control options available for pasture weed control can be found at the following websites:

AGR-172:Weed Management in Grass Pastures, Hayfields, and Other Farmstead Sites, 2021

AGR-207:Broadleaf Weeds of Kentucky Pastures, 2021 

Control efforts for Poison Hemlock and Buttercups Begin in Late Winter | Kentucky Forage News

For further help identifying weeds, individuals can submit unknown weed samples through the local county extension office. When sampling plants, collect as much of the plant as possible (roots, leaves, stems, flowers, etc.) for submission to the county extension office. State the general structure or size of the plant and provide details about the specific site where it was collected, and other characteristics, such as color of flowers, that can be useful for proper identification. Pictures of the whole plant and close-up photos of distinctive features can also be helpful with identification. If plants cannot be sent in fresh condition, they should be pressed out flat and packaged between pieces of cardboard or paper before sending.

Green Goddess Dressing


1 teaspoon dried sweet basil        

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 scallions, roots trimmed off, green and white parts chopped

2 tablespoons  white wine vinegar or lemon juice

1 garlic clove, peeled, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup  fresh parsley or basil leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 1teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon salt


Put the avocado, yogurt, scallions, vinegar or lemon juice, and garlic in the blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade. Put the top on and process until smooth.

Add the olive oil, parsley or basil, tarragon, and salt and process until completely blended.

Taste the dressing on a piece of lettuce. Does it need more vinegar? A pinch of salt? If so, add it, then blend again.

Plant a Native Pollinator Garden

Interested in learning more about how to design and attract butterflies/pollinators to your garden? In this article, we have provided the following checklist to assist you in helping to explore the habitat requirements needed to create the perfect butterfly/pollinator habitat for Kentucky.


¨ Research butterfly field guides, to determine which types  of butterfly species are needed. Also, take notes on which types of plants they are visiting. This will help in deciding which plants to purchase.

¨ Evaluate your site and choose a location with at least six hours of sunlight. Select native plants (check light, soil,   pH and moisture conditions) and add to an existing garden or remove a section of the lawn.

¨ Select native plant species of varied heights that bloom at different times throughout the year such as Spring, Summer, and Fall. These will provide nectar for adult butterflies throughout the season. Enhance your garden with at least two different types of milkweed for monarchs and possibly a puddling spot.

¨ After planting, water regularly, remove weeds and keep mulched until the garden is established. Be pesticide free. Milkweed can be cut back in late June or July to force new leaves for monarch caterpillars. Later in the Fall Season (August-September), leave some dead leaves and stalks to provide overwintering sites for pollinators.

¨ Keep records of monarchs and pollinators observed. Each week or two, keep track of your observation such as which plants are preferred butterflies and other pollinators as host plants and nectar or pollen sources. Take photos of the garden throughout the season.

¨ Share seeds or plant divisions to help start another butterfly garden in the area. Invite others to visit your garden or come visit the Waystation to enjoy the beauty of the butterflies in the natural landscape you have created.

Why Native Plants…

Butterflies and pollinators depend predominantly on native plants as their larval host plants. In the case of Monarchs, milkweed species are critical for their survival.

Whenever possible, grow local genotype native plants that have co-evolved in their native habitats with other plants and wildlife. Local genotype native plants are vigorous and hardy. These plants have adapted to their region and can survive winter cold and summer heat. The deep roots of native plants, especially those of prairie plants, trees and shrubs, old soil, control erosion and withstand droughts.

Once established, native plants require little watering and tolerate native pests.

Make sure to purchase native plants from a reputable nursery. For more information on native plant nurseries in the area, make sure to contact your local extension office.

Host plants for Monarchs…

Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweeds. Plant at least ten individual milkweed plants in your butterfly garden. If possible, choose at least two different species.

Nectar Plants for Monarchs

Nectar plants provide food for adult Monarchs and other   pollinators through-out the season. Pick from early, mid-and late-flowering species and have at least three different kinds of plants in bloom at any time. You will have visual interest all year long.

Early Nectar Plants


Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea, A. laevis, A. interior)

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

Pussy willow (Salix discolor)

Wild blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum, V. angustifolium)

Perennial Wildflowers:

Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)

Wild strawberry (Fragraria virginiana)

Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Wild phlox (Phlox divaracata)

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

Common blue violet (Viola sororia, Viola spp

Mid-Season Nectar Plants

Shrubs and Vines:

Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus)

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa)

Sumac (Rhus typhina, Rhus glabra, Rhus spp.)

White meadowsweet (Spirea alba)

Perennial Wildflowers:

Nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum)

Dogbane (Apocynum cannabium, A. androsaemifolium)

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Wild blue indigo (Baptisia australis)

Partridge pea (Cassia fasciculta)

Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum)

Swamp thistle (Cirsium altissimum)

Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolate, C. tripteris, C. spp.)

Pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida)

Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum. E. purpureum)

False sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)

Roundheaded bushclover (Lespedeza capitata)

Blazingstar (Liatris spicata, Liatris spp.)

Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

Dotted horsemint (Monarda punctata)

Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)

Yellow prairie coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

Late Season Nectar Plants

Shrub: Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Perennial Wildflowers:

False Aster (Boltonia asteroides)

Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)

Calico aster (Symphiotrychum laterifolius)

Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida)

Showy goldenrod (Solidago speciose)

Heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)

Smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laevis)

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea, V. missurica)

For More Information

Contact the Warren County Extension Master Gardener Page on Facebook or visit the Warren County Extension office website at to view our photo journal for the Certified Monarch Waystation area.