Sweet Apple Time
Apples are the most prevalent tree fruit in the state despite our less-than-ideal hot, humid summers. The one-two punch of two spring freezes and a summer drought didn‘t make 2012 an easy growing year. The freezes substantially reduced the crop size and affected fruit appearance, particularly in Central and Eastern Kentucky, says John Strang, horticulture extension professor. Freezes affected Western Kentucky orchards less, but the drought hit the area hard. Lack of water reduces fruit size and the high temperatures delay color development. There’s a bright side; drought enhances fruit sugar content and reduces the need for pesticides.
A Tree for All Seasons
Choosing a native tree for the landscape can be a positive step toward reducing pest and disease problems for the homeowner. One to consider for a smaller yard is the medium-sized Kentucky yellowwood, whose dangling panicles of fragrant white flowers in the spring and golden orange leaves in the fall make it one of our showiest native trees.
NICKEL AND DIME IT
Are you trying to establish an emergency fund or start a savings account, but are finding it difficult to save? Jennifer Hunter, extension specialist in family financial management, recommends thinking twice about any purchase that costs less than $5. Eliminating small purchases or incidental expenses can add up to big savings over time. Bringing your lunch to work can save you $25 per week and more than $100 a month. Skipping the morning coffee or afternoon soda can save nearly $10 a week or $40 a month.
If the sight of a snake shivers your spine and puts leap in your feet, think what it does to a field mouse. Helpful to us, snakes are not so beneficial to rodents, feasting as they do on mice, rats, slugs, and insects. Of Kentucky’s 32 types of snakes, which range from 7” worm snakes to black rat snakes that can grow to be 6’ long, only four are venomous. So the next time you find one in your garden, take a breath, plant those feet, and enjoy nature’s own wave machine as it slithers to cover.
Kentucky's Least Wanted
Love the intense fragrance of sweet autumn clematis, Clematis terniflora? Well, put your hands in the air and step back from planting this exotic invasive vine. It spreads faster than an oil spill and is almost as much of a headache. That’s the reason the Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council named sweet autumn clematis as Kentucky’s Least Wanted Plant for 2012. Still considering it, despite being warned? Horticulture Professor Robert Geneve suggests Clematis Virginiana, a native late-blooming clematis, instead.