Replace or Rescue Winter Burned Plants in the Kentucky Landscape
Source: Rick Durham, UK extension horticulture specialist
The extreme cold spell at the end of December 2022 caused severe damage to many shrubs and bushes around Kentucky homes. With plants greening up this spring, you may be wondering what to remove and what to attempt to rescue in your landscape.
The cold is just one part of the puzzle when shrub health declines. Other factors include soil pH, soil volume, too much or too little water and light availability.
Some shrubs may just need a good pruning and time to recover from the winter stress. If you want to try to revive the shrub through pruning, you’ll need to trim it down with sturdy pruning shears. Don’t remove more than one-third of the plant in a season. If the plant is healthy, it will soon produce new green shoots. If your shrub has more brown branches than green at the core, it may be time for you to remove it. When shrubs become too woody in the middle, start over with another plant.
Well-established shrubs may have large, complex root structures. Make sure to completely remove them before planting something new. Use the transition time to do a soil test so you know what amendments it will need before you bring home new plants.
If you must replace landscape shrubs and plants, Kentucky has more than 1,200 nurseries and retailers selling hundreds of types of trees, shrubs, groundcovers and perennials. With 120 counties of resources, you can buy locally without driving very far. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Proud program allows individuals locate local retail garden centers that market Kentucky-grown trees and shrubs. Search the garden center database at https://www.kyagr.com/agbus/products.aspx?group=19&category=112.
Retailers looking to stock their garden centers with Kentucky-grown trees and shrubs may use the Landscape Plant Availability Guide https://www.kyagr.com/marketing/plant/common-name-search.aspx.
Kentucky also has many qualified nursery growers, retailers, landscapers and arborists. The Cooperative Extension Service offers many green-industry classes throughout the year. Kentucky nursery growers and retailers are a very well-trained group of horticulturists. They are familiar with Kentucky soil types, weather and other factors playing a role in plant performance.
When you visit a local nursery to choose new plants, make sure and read the tags and note the light, water and soil requirements. Ensure the new plants fit your landscape.
To learn more about transplanting container plants, check out the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension publication Planting Container-Grown Trees and Shrubs in Your Landscape, HO-114. You can find it online here: https://tinyurl.com/24fx9j9p.
For more information about horticultural topics or classes near you, contact the Warren County Cooperative Extension Service.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.
Potential Effect of Weekend Freezes on Corn and Soybean
Chad Lee, Conner Raymond, and Carrie Knott; University of Kentucky
Freezing temperatures were recorded across Kentucky Monday morning, April 24, 2023. The coldest temperatures were mostly in central and eastern Kentucky, but freezing temperatures were as far west as Trigg and Webster counties. Temperatures fell to or slightly below freezing in the following counties from Sunday to Monday: Butler, Caldwell, Carroll, Christian, Crittenden, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Logan, Meade, Ohio, Taylor, and Webster counties (Table 1, at the end of this article). Webster and McLean County were the coldest at 30°F. Frosts likely occurred west of these counties. The good news is that soil surface temperatures likely stayed in the low 50’s to mid-40’s. This is based on soil surface temperatures measured at UKREC in Princeton, KY.
About 36% of corn acres and 20% of soybean acres were planted as of April 23, 2023, according to the USDA-NASS.
Corn and Soybeans at Risk
Corn and soybeans are at more risk to death from the freeze events at specific growth stages and in certain conditions. The following scenarios go from greatest risk to least risk of plant death from the freeze events.
Soybeans at the “crook” stage where the stem is emerged and bent over like a shepherd’s crook were the most susceptible to the freeze (Figure 1). These plants were most likely to be killed by the freeze or frost. At crook stage, typical damage is along the stem with some yellowing of the cotyledon. This will be followed by plants snapping off where damage was observed (Figures 2 and 3).
Corn and soybean seeds and seedlings in furrows that were not fully closed are at risk of being killed by the freeze.
Corn or soybean seeds that were planted shallow had a slight risk of freeze damage, although plant death from the freeze is unlikely.
Corn plants emerged may have tissue above the soil surface die off from the freeze, but the growing points should have been insulated beneath the soil surface. Those corn plants should recover well. No yield loss is expected.
Soybean plants that have FULLY emerged and are at the VE growth stage (emergence) should survive the freeze event, based on observations during freeze events in late April 2021 and early May 2020. If the soybean cotyledons survive, the soybean plants will survive, and no yield loss will occur. If the cotyledons do not survive, the plant will not survive, either.
Corn and soybean seeds at proper planting depths are at very little risk from the freeze. Corn and soybean radicles (the shoots emerging from the seeds) that are still below the soil surface likely were insulated and will survive.
We need about 5 days of warm weather before symptoms are easy to see. Based on current forecasts, it may take six or seven actual days to get the 5 days of good growing conditions. Plants or plant parts that have turned black or brown and have lost turgor pressure are easy to identify.
Corn plants need to be examined from the seed upward. We are assuming that the roots are deep enough to not be a concern. Dig up some corn plants and look for any signs of brown/black areas from the seeds upward. If plants are white to yellow beneath the soil and turgor pressure is good, then the seedlings are likely to survive.
Maybe Just a Chill
Corn and soybean seeds that are in the process of germinating during the freeze are at risk of taking in cold water (imbibitional chilling) within the first 24 to 48 hours after planting. If the soil temperatures were below 50F for an extended period during those 24 to 48 hours, then the seeds are more likely to be damaged. There is some debate about how long the soils need to stay below 50F before severe damage is done from the imbibitional chilling. We can say those seeds are at risk. At this point, either the seeds were damaged, or they were not from imbibitional chilling. Emergence will be slower in these fields. The fields can be scouted in about five days or so to determine the health of germinating seeds and/or emerged plants.
Table 1: Low temperatures recorded across the state from 4/21/23 through 4/24/23. Freezing temperatures are highlighted in light blue. Weather data from the Kentucky Mesonet.
|Low Temperature °F||3 Day|
|KY Mesonet Site||4/21-22||4/22-23||4/23-24||Average Low|
Coulter, Jeff. 2021. Spring Freeze Injury in Corn. University of Minnesota Extension. https://extension.umn.edu/growing-corn/spring-freeze-injury-corn
KY Climate Center. 2023. Kentucky Mesonet. https://www.kymesonet.org/ accessed April 24, 2023.
Lee, C.D. Evaluating early season frost damage to corn. AGR-192. Univ. of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/agr/agr192/agr192.pdf
Nielsen, R.L. 2020. Assessing Frost/Cold Temperature Injury to Young Corn. Corny News Network. http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/FrostedCorn.html
Nielsen, R.L. 2020. Cold Soils & Risk of Imbibitional Chilling Injury in Corn. Corny News Network. Purdue Univ. https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/ImbibitionalChilling.html
Staton, Michael. 2021. Assessing frost/freeze damage to emerged soybeans. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/assessing-low-temperature-injury-to-soybeans
Taylor, M., A. Nygren, J. Rees., J. Specht and A. Timmerman. 2020. Evaluating freeze and chilling injury in corn and soybeans. Nebraska Cropwatch. https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2020/evaluating-freeze-and-chilling-injury-corn-and-soybeans
USDA-NASS. 2023. USDA-NASS. Crop Progress and Condition. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Kentucky/Publications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/cw23/CW042423.pdf
Important Time to Sample for Alfalfa Weevil
Ric Bessin, UK Extension Entomologist
The UK Ag Weather Center’s degree day model for alfalfa weevil indicates that many counties in Kentucky have exceed 190 DD used as a starting point to begin scouting by the third week of March. In fact alfalfa weevil damage has appeared in some fields. Once temperature accumulations reach 190 DD, growers are advised to look at their alfalfa fields and conduct weekly alfalfa weevil larval counts and compare those to the economic thresholds listed below.
Figure 1. When degree-day totals reach 190 Degree Days, it is time to begin scouting for alfalfa weevil larvae. Scouting continues on at least on at least a weekly schedule until regrowth after the first cutting. Treat the DD totals for the counties as estimates.
Fall laid alfalfa weevil eggs are the first to hatch in the spring. These eggs hatch earlier than those laid in the spring and 190 DD approximate when first leaf feeding damage becomes noticeable. Temperatures extremes during the winter help to limit the survival of alfalfa weevil eggs that were laid in stems in the fall. Damage by the young larvae will first appear as tiny pin holes in the leaves.
To scout for alfalfa weevil, we use the stem sampling method. While walking in a “U” or “Z” pattern through a field, collect 30 alfalfa stems, carefully cup the top of each stem in one hand and break it off the crown with your other hand and place it bud end downward in a plastic bucket. Be sure your samples are at least 20 feet from the edge of a field so that they are representative of the entire interior of a field. Knock the stems groups of 4 or 5 stems at a time against the inside of the bucket to dislodge the larvae. Count the number of larvae. Measure the length of 10 random alfalfa stems. If the field is close to harvest, harvest can be an alternative to spraying, but producers need to watch for damage to the regrowth, there are similar scouting tables for regrowth after the first cutting.
Alfalfa Weevil Larvae Thresholds for Spraying 190 to 225 Degree Days (Check your degree days)
|Average stem height (inches)||Number of alfalfa weevil larvae on 30 stems|
- Apply a long residual insecticide if the number of larvae is greater than the number in the table for the average height of alfalfa sampled.
- Sample again in 2 days if the number is above 15 but less than the number in the table.
- Sample in 7 days if the number is less than 15 in your sample of 30 stems.
Alfalfa Weevil Larvae Thresholds for Spraying 226 to 275 Degree Days
|Average stem height (inches)||Number of alfalfa weevil larvae on 30 stems|
- Apply a long residual insecticide if the larval number per 30 stems is greater than the number in the table above for the height of alfalfa sampled.
- Sample again in 7 days if you find less than the number of larvae for the appropriate alfalfa height.
For degree day accumulations above 275, use the economic threshold tables in ENTFACT 127 or ENT-17 to determine the need to spray the field for alfalfa weevil.
If you de need to treat for alfalfa weevil larvae, keep in mind that insecticide resistance has been an issue in some areas. The best strategy to manage resistance is to use an insecticide only when necessary and to rotate modes of action each year. For many other pests we would rotate more often, but alfalfa weevil has only one generation per years. To rotate modes of action, select insecticides that have a different IRAC group number on the label.
Use Winter to for Preventive Maintenance
on Your Sprayers
Ric Bessin, UK Extension Entomologist
As winter begins to wind down, we need to get our equipment ready for the coming growing season. When it is time to begin spraying and planting, we don’t want to spend precious time to fix and repair equipment. It is during this down time when we should do some routine maintenance on our sprayers. Spray equipment in poor repair can lead to poor application which will cost you money.
Look for Leaks
Before your start, put on a pair of gloves to protect yourself from pesticide residues. Begin by filling your sprayer with clean water, but before you engage the pump, look for leaks from around the pump, hoses, strainers, and nozzles. Pay particular attention to the hoses, as these often show signs of wear sooner than other more durable parts. Besides obvious leaks from hoses, inspect hoses for cracking and signs of dry rot as these can burst when pressurized. Places where hoses might crimp with folding booms are prone to cracking as hoses age. Engage the pump and look again for leaks. Check the pressure gauge and test the cutoff valves to be sure they are working.
The job of strainers is to keep gunk from reaching and plugging nozzles. With just routine use there can be significant debris buildup with the inline strainer from the tank or the individual strainers in front of each nozzle. Sometimes these can be cleaned with a soft brush, other times they need to be replaced.
Next, the Nozzles All nozzles wear over time. This leads to increasing and irregular flow rate from nozzles and poor spray patterns. In place of uniform applications across a field, there may be streaks due to places of over and under applications. While some nozzles materials, such as ceramics and stainless steel, may be more resistant to wear, all nozzles will show signs of wear eventually. Sprays containing abrasive materials such as wettable powders and flowables cause more wear to nozzles. Before conducting a catch test, be sure each of the nozzles are of the exact same type and are not mismatched. Start your sprayer with the clean water and observe the pattern from each of the nozzles, look for streaks and clogs. The pattern from each nozzle should be the same. Run a 30-second or 1-minute catch test for each nozzle, output from each nozzle should be within 5% of the average output from all nozzles. Nozzles that are worn or cannot be unclogged need to be replaced and the catch test repeated.
Now that your sprayer is working properly, it needs to be recalibrated. As new strainers and nozzles can change the spray output. Calibration should be done at a minimum once a year, but for those that use a sprayer more frequent or after changing to different nozzles (going from flat fan to hollow cone for example) recalibration must be done more often. For instructions for calibrating a sprayer are in the Recordkeeping Manual for Private Pesticide Applicators.
Combating the Spread of Fire Ants
Source: Joe Collins, Kentucky Deputy State Entomologist
We know that fire ants have been in the state since 2000. They have typically been an invasive species only in Western Kentucky; however, earlier this year, Kentuckians discovered them in the eastern part of the state. These ants can pose a risk to human, animal and crop health. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t currently list Kentucky as an “invaded” state, you should still know how to prevent, spot, report and treat fire ants in case you do encounter them.
So far fire ants have been confirmed in southeastern counties like McCreary and Whitley counties along the Tennessee border, but the survey is ongoing to determine the boundaries of the infested area. If you are in or around an area where fire ants have been reported, it is important to report suspected fire ant mounds. Fire ants can spread to new areas of the state through the movement of certain agricultural products. For example, fire ants can infest round bales stored in the field or on the ground, so be wary in purchasing these types of bales.
Fire ants are known for their mound-like nests. These nests vary in size but can be as large as 18 to 24 inches tall, and the mound has a fluffy soil appearance. You’ll typically find these mounds in open sunny areas on level ground or on a southern facing slope, and you won’t usually find them in wooded areas.
If you suspect fire ants on your property, do not approach the mound as fire ants are very aggressive and may sting if you disturb the mound. To report a mound, contact your local extension agent or submit a report to ReportAPest@uky.edu including a photo or video and address or GPS coordinates of the mound.
If fire ants are identified on your property, you may use fire ant baits such as Advion, Amdro and Extinguish to eliminate the ants. Read and follow the directions on the product label. Do not use gasoline, diesel or other flammable products as a control tactic.
For more information about fire ants, contact the Warren County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.
Some Early Thoughts On This Fall’s Soil Fertility Management
UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment Corn & Soybean News (August 2022)Dr. John Grove, Professor of Agronomy/Soils Research & Extension
SOIL TESTING for the next crop is important this fall. The summer season’s drought, after spring wetness (with compaction issues), is causing lower, more variable, corn and soybean yields. Lower grain yield means lower nutrient removal, but this is not perfectly predictable from a yield monitor. Drought affected grain is usually nutrient rich compared to rainy season grain. More corn acres will be harvested for silage rather than grain and nutrient removal is greater with silage. Soil test ‘problem’ fields/areas identified earlier this season. If you don’t do your own soil sampling, you might want to book sampling services early – this year there are more questions that need samples to inform deci-sion-making.
SOIL ACIDITY hurts root activity – a bigger problem in droughty seasons. Once soil test results are in, take a close look at soil pH. If needed, and if weather permits, lime should always be applied in the fall. Good quality lime takes time to dissolve and cause the carbonates to neutralize soil acidity.
DECIDING WHETHER TO APPLY fall nutrients, especially for corn and soybean, is more difficult this year. The decision generally depends on the target crop (wheat/forages vs. corn/soy); economics/value of fertilizer, time, and equipment; and the soil test value (low values mean higher recommended rates – better nutrient use efficiency when needy soils are fertilized to better match crop demand = spring for summer crops like corn and soybean). Fertilizer prices are lower (except for potash) now, but still high relative to prior years.
WHEAT follows corn in many areas. This year, most wheat will not need fall nitrogen (N). Lower corn yield causes less N removal. Tissue N will be higher in corn residues, giving greater N availability as residues decompose. Many grain producers have fields in forage production. Likely under fertilized this year, these crops/fields may really need some fall fertility to improve stand health, winterhardi-ness, and both forage quality and stand competitiveness with weeds next spring.
A WINTER COVER CROP can contribute. In addition to protecting against soil erosion (especially with less full-season soy residues this year), cover crops cause greater nutrient retention against fall-winter losses. One ton of rye dry matter (good stand, 12 to 18 inches tall) contains about 35 lb N, 45 lb K2O, and 10 lb P2O5. These nutrients won’t all be immediately available with rye termination next spring, but $32(N) + $33(K2O) + $7(P2O5) = $72 worth of nutrients, considering the most recent aver-age retail fertilizer price levels (https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/crops/article/2022/08/02/summer-slump-retail-fertilizer), are retained.
FALL NUTRIENT SOURCE DECISIONS might also be difficult. This fall, the need for fertilizer N will be significantly lower. Fall application of N, regardless the nutrient source, will be less economical and losses are more likely, given likely greater fall background soil N levels. Nutrient sources containing N and other important nutrients (DAP, 18-46-0; MAP, 11-52-0; poultry litter) are usually priced consid-ering their N content, making them less desirable for fall application to wheat, corn, and soy acres this fall. DAP, 18-46-0, is a popular fertilizer P source and the most recent DTN survey average retail price (the URL just above) was $1005/ton. Urea, 46-0-0, was $836/ton ($0.909/lb N). This means that the 360 lb N in one ton of DAP was worth about $327, and the phosphate value was $678/ton DAP ($0.737/lb P2O5). About a third of the price of DAP is in the value of N it contains – N that is less likely to be needed this fall. You might ask your fertilizer retailer to bring in triple super phosphate (0-46-0) so that you can meet your fall phosphate needs without losing money on unnecessary N.
FERTILIZER PLACEMENT (banding) improves fertilizer P and K use efficiency, relative to broadcast fertilizer. AGR 1 (http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/agr/agr1/agr1.pdf) indicates that in spring, if soil test P and/or K are very low or low, one-third to one-half the recommended rates of P2O5 and/or K2O for corn can be used if it is banded 2 to 4 inches from the row. Relevant research for Kentucky soils is not available, but I’d estimate that precision (GPS guided) banding fall applied P and K would similarly improve their use efficiency relative to fall broadcast P and K. Precision fall banding would likely be superior to spring broadcasting, though not as good as spring banding, as long as corn is planted 2 to 4 inches from the banded P and K. Precision fall placement anticipates precision spring planting.
Feeding of Japanese Beetles on Soybean also Cause Injuries to Blooms
UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment Corn & Soybean News (August 2022)
Dr. Raul Villanueva, Extension Entomologist
Japanese beetles, Popillia japonica (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) are native to Asia. This species was first detected in the early 1900s in New Jersey, but now occurs throughout many areas of the United States. This is a well-established pest in Kentucky.
Japanese beetles have only one generation per year. Its larval stage lives underground feeding on roots, with adults emerging in early-July through mid-September. The larval form of this carabid is called white grub.
Adult beetles are considered destructive pests of many ornamentals, turf, and landscape plants. In soy-bean fields, it has been observed feeding on leaf tissue between leaf veins; in many cases this feeding leaves a lace-like, skeletonized appearance. Figures 1A and 1B show initial feeding and advanced skele-tonized leaf, respectively. Leaf damage in soybeans can appear severe as leaves can be completely skel-etonized, and many beetles may be found aggregating on plants in a patchy distribution of the field. However, this injury seldom requires control measures.
At this time, I am reporting a not as well-known feeding habit of Japanese beetles in soybeans. I had heard that this insect was causing some damage to soybean blooms in the North Central region of the U.S. While conducting tallies for insects in soybeans, I observed that a couple of beetles were aggregat-ed under the foliage, and they were feeding on the blooms (Figure 2). Injury to soybean blooms may reduce pod development; however, studies to evaluate the impact of this feeding behavior have not yet been conducted. Feeding on flowers or fruit by Japanese beetles is typical for fruits or ornamental plants.
Flies and Pink Eye a Problem Again This Summer
By Ric Bessin and Jonathan L. Larson; UK Entomology Extension Specialists
Face flies are annoying pests for cattle that can impact the animal’s welfare by just constantly molesting the eyes of our animals. These flies are looking to feed on tears but will also feed on saliva, blood, and nasal discharges. They do this by using their unique mouthparts, which resemble sponges and help them consume their liquid foods. Recently, county Extension agents informed us that they have received a large influx of questions regarding the connection between these pests and their transmission of pink eye.
Identification & Life cycle
Face flies look very similar to house flies in shape and coloration but are slightly larger than their close relative. They are dark grey with four black stripes that run down their back. As with a lot of flies, the maggots develop in fecal material. Specifically, face fly maggots develop in freshly deposited cattle manure. The maggots will hatch from eggs and then go through four stages of development over 15 to 25 days, depending on the weather. During the summer, face flies are not often found in structures, but the adults do overwinter in barns or attics and will become active again in the spring to start the next generation of flies.
Pink Eye Transmission
High numbers of face flies are associated with higher rates of pink eye issues. The feeding style of the flies causes more avenues of introduction by scratching the eyes, and the flies have been demonstrated to carry the causative agent of pink eye as well. Some estimates put the cost of pink eye in cattle at about $150 million annually.
Management Must Be Multifaceted
Fly control is essential, but can be difficult as face flies are only on the animal for a small percentage of the time. Therefore, addressing the egg and larval stages of the fly, as well as the adults, is most effective. A moderate to heavy fly infestation is when there are 10 to 20 flies per animal during the middle of the day. A single fly-control program will not work on every farm, so it often takes multiple tactics of control to achieve good results.
Fly tags (mid- to late May, through mid-September-October)(one ear tag or session or two sessions; be sure to use the number of tags required by the manufacturer), insecticide pour-ons, back rubbers (no 2 diesel), dust bags and knock-down sprays (Bachpack or ATV) are helpful in reducing the number of adult face flies on your animals. Fly traps in barns can also be helpful in reducing the number of flies. Feed additives with insect growth regulators are available that target the maggots that are laid in the manure. Encouraging dung beetles, which break down the manure pat, will also decrease egg survival.
Face flies can develop resistance to pesticides over time, so switching the drug mode of action of pesticides used every year is important. For example, if pyrethrins are used one year, then organophosphates should be used the following year. Waiting until the start of fly season to apply fly tags and removing the old fly tags in the fall also decreases the development of resistance. It is also extremely important to follow the safety precautions recommended by the manufacturer, as these insecticides can be toxic to people if handled improperly.
Appropriate grazing, along with clipping pastures will prevent seed-head development, reducing the irritation to the eyes of cattle, as well as reducing the resting areas for the flies. Clipping pastures to a low stubble height in May just after the seed heads emerge and again in mid-summer when weeds appear is recommended. Shaded areas need to be available to decrease the ultraviolet (UV) exposure and, in Herefords, breeding for pigmented eyelids has been successful, as this is a heritable trait. A good management program, including an appropriate vaccination program [especially infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine viral diarrhea (BVD)] and having good quality nutrition and minerals available at all times, will improve the overall condition of the cattle and decrease the incidence of this disease. Overhead hay feeders should be lowered and round bales should be rolled out. Ensuring adequate bunk space will decrease direct contact between the animals. Animals that develop pinkeye should be isolated if possible.
Fresh Cut Flower Arranging with KY Cuts
Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County Horticulture Agent visits with grower Jean Bowles of Kentucky Cuts to discuss her flower farm.
Jean is a cut flower grower who specializes in growing sunflowers, zinnias, and lisianthus during the summer season. In the Kentucky Farms Kentucky Flavor segment, she explains to Kristin the process she takes in growing cut flowers on the farm from seed to harvest. Jean shared that she got into farming because she enjoyed being outside and first started farming flowers, when her kids were young. She quickly figured out that it was going to take much more time than she could devote, so she left farming flowers for several years. Now that she is retired and her kids are grown, Jean is back to flower farming again! Her goal for the farm is to make it more self-sustaining! In the future, she hopes to try growing different flower varieties that most people don’t grow.
Kristin shows us how to make a fresh flower arrangement using seasonal flowers grown on the farm from Kentucky Cuts.
Before starting the arrangement process, gather a few items from around the house: a sharp pair of scissors, container or vase for the flowers, fresh water, and freshly harvested flowers. To begin making the arrangement, make sure that the container or vase is clean. Next, add fresh room temperature water to the vase. Now, the flower arranging process can begin! Use the thriller, spiller, and filler method, when arranging flowers. The thriller flower provides the height in the arrangement, the spiller plant cascades down and softens the sides, and the filler flower fills in the dead space. Place the thriller plant in the vase first. The thriller flower should only be about 1.5 to 2 times the height of the container. Make stem cuts at a diagonal to allow water to easily transport through the stem. Add the spiller plant next followed by the filler flowers. For more information about flower arranging, please contact the local Extension Office in your area.
Make Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Seed Tape
Do you have trouble starting small seeded crops like lettuce, turnips, or cabbage in the garden? Does the seed end up blowing away in the wind or washing away after watering? Do you dread going back to thin out plants later?
If you answered “yes” to several of those questions, don’t worry, there is an easier solution called seed tape! Seed tape makes it easy for gardeners to grow crops from tiny seeds. With seed tape, gardeners apply seed to tape and then plant the entire seed tape outdoors in the garden. Gardeners don’t have to worry about seeds floating away and there is no need to thin out plants. An added bonus is the seed tape disintegrates overtime and returns nutrients to the soil.
Seed tape is available commercially through garden supply companies, however avid gardeners can make their own seed tape at home inexpensively! Making seed tape at home requires a few basic items and materials collected from around the home. Read here to find out how to make do-it-yourself (DIY) seed tape at home using this easy step- by- step photo guide.
Step 1: Gather up all supplies needed to make the seed tape. Grab a roll of toilet paper, make glue or use all-purpose glue, toothpick, garden seed packets, clear ruler, and a black permanent marker.
Step 2: Next, unroll the toilet paper from the roll and lay out on a flat even surface. Cut the toilet paper in half using a pair of scissors. The toilet paper serves as the “tape” portion of the seed tape project.
Step 3: Lay the seed tape on a flat surface and mark the correct plant spacing according to the crop being grown. Refer to the back of the seed packet to see how far apart to space between the seeds. Measure the plant distance using a ruler and mark the spot on the seed tape with the black permanent marker. If making multiple seed tapes for different crops, it is a good idea to label the seed tape with the crop name and the variety in the top right hand corner using an ink pen.
Step 4: Make the glue to adhere the seed to the tape. Mix 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of water together in a small mixing bowl until a thick paste forms. If needed, add additional water to make a glue type consistency. All-purpose glue also works good for seed tape.
Step 5: Before starting this step, empty the contents of the seed packet on a white plate or white piece of paper. This step makes it easy for gardeners to see the seed and pick it up to go on the seed tape.
Dip the end of a toothpick into the glue and place a small dot on the seed tape. Then, take the toothpick and pick up a seed to place on top of the freshly applied glue. Continue this process until all the seed tape is filled. Allow the glue to dry and roll the tape on the toilet paper roll. Store it in the refrigerator until environmental conditions are ready for planting.
Step 6: When conditions are favorable, make a seed bed for planting. Place the seed tape in the planting row making sure to plant at the correct depth. Refer to the back of the seed packet for the correct planting depth. Lightly cover the seed tape with soil and water it in. Wait and watch for the seeds to germinate and come up in a perfectly straight row!
To watch this process from start to finish, click on the picture above or Click Here to view this how to video for making DIY seed tape from our Warren County Agriculture YouTube channel.
Kristin G. Hildabrand, Horticulture Extension Agent for Warren County