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I quietly lurk on a garlic growers Facebook page. Nearly daily there are questions about soil fertility and fertilizers. Many of the answers that are given to “help” people with their issues range from just flat out wrong to possibly making problems worse. I occasionally wade in with a detai…

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I don’t like mosquitoes any more than anybody else, but I have nevertheless joined the ranks of insect-appreciators.

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There is a grassy weed that can occur in lawns and grassy areas anywhere that is becoming quite visible now. It is Little Barley and while little is part of it’s name it’s becoming a big problem, especially for pet owners. If left unmowed it may get twelve inches tall, but in most yards it’l…

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MANHATTAN — Each season of the year brings management considerations for the beef producer. For summer, two groups in the herd – first calf heifers and young calves – need special attention, according to experts at Kansas State University’s Beef Cattle Institute.

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Even well managed, regularly burned pastures, will have woody brush invasion. Then take a pasture that maybe gets pushed just a little too hard and you’ll have a whole lot of brush and quite a few weeds. The first thing I always point out to pasture managers is that excessive brush and weeds…

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As we work out way through and into late summer, I will start to receive questions on plants that have annoyingly painful seeds with sharp points or spines on them. They will collectively be called sandburs both correctly and incorrectly. While both are painfully annoying the control of the …

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Peonies are a long lived perennial flower with big showy blooms that usually occur in May. These popular flowers have been around since the 19th century and it seemed that every farmstead across the country had at least a few peony “bushes”. Many a country cemetery could be counted on to hav…

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If you’ve ever walked across your lawn, garden, flower bed, just anywhere and felt spongy soil beneath your feet and noticed slightly raised tunnels, then you are familiar with the activity of moles. Unfortunately, spring, especially a spring with regular and routine rains, is peak mole acti…

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I was on the phone recently helping someone with a tough to control perennial plant. They were hoping for an easy solution where there wasn’t one. I told them that it was going to come down to Roundup and patience. The immediate response was, “Is patience a restricted use product or can anyo…

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If it’s springtime that means that the annual myths and misinformation will be floating around on social media. Sadly, like many things on social media, the information sounds awesome, but really isn’t what it says it is. With anything from killing weeds to growing awesome tomatoes, the inte…

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I grew up the youngest of five children on a farm with a big orchard and garden. We planted a half acre of potatoes every year. When we harvested them we filled lot’s of gunny sacks that went into the root cellar. My mom canned hundreds of pints and quarts of fruits and vegetables and froze …

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I was recently talking with some folks about their roses. In the course of the conversation they commented that the roses just weren’t growing as well or blooming like they thought they should. I ran through the typical litany about sunlight, mulch, watering, etc. But when I asked about thei…

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My first name, Charles, is a family name. I was named for one my mother’s younger brothers, Charles Sandall. I never met my Uncle Charles. He died over six years before I was born from polio. My mother’s other brother, my Uncle Ralph also contracted polio but survived and amazingly will turn…

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This is the time of year that I start to receive phone calls and questions as to why a bird is attacking the window of someone’s home. Or it could be the mirror of a vehicle parked outside. In fact, it may be almost any object shiny enough that a bird can see it’s reflection. It may even be …

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Spring is officially here! We’ve had some very nice rains and slowly the weather and the soil are warming up. Lawns are greening up and will be exploding in growth before very much longer, assuming you have a cool season lawn like fescue or bluegrass. Which means that there are plenty of tas…

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Gardeners live for the growing season. Mid-November through early March can be a very difficult time for them. Some gardeners fret those winter months away pouring over seed catalogs, or now days seed company websites. They anxiously await the release of the new All-American Garden selection…

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As evidenced by smoke in the air on some recent evenings, we have started the six to eight week annual event known as pasture burning season. As evidenced by the number or rural fire trucks that have been rolling out of town in recent days it’s also the start of the wildfire season!

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One of the many things that K-State Research and Extension is responsible for in Kansas is some of the wildlife damage control. In many other states it is a state agency. One of the differences in how Kansas has approached it is that we try to use it as an opportunity to teach why the proble…

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You can go into any grocery store, pick up any food product and you will find a nutrition label on it. It’ll tell you how many calories, grams of fat, protein, just more things than you want to know. Doesn’t matter if it’s a can of tomato sauce or a Twinkie or HoHo. It’s got the information …

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When Denzel Washington is in a movie, he either plays a character that’s likeable, or intimidating. Sometimes, both. Whatever Washington manages to do on screen, he strikes me as an actor who takes his craft seriously, and puts in a lot of effort even down to the small details. He can make a…

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The last two weeks were cold. Brutally cold. Coldest weather we’ve seen in over 30 years. Thankfully not the coldest ever. That record belongs to December 1989. But we went over 40 hours where it didn’t get out of the negative digits of the thermometer. But while we were inconvenienced and a…

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When many people hear the word wheat, they probably think of some food item in conjunction with that. What many people don’t realize though is that wheat isn’t just wheat. There are several different classes of wheat and they have very different uses. The United States Department of Agricult…

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As a child growing up in the 1960s, I saw and heard plenty of “only you can prevent forest fires” from Smokey the Bear. We all learned the lessons well and an all-out campaign of nearly 30 years was very effective at getting lots of forest fires extinguished before they could burn very many …

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In last weeks column I alluded to the fact that you should be planting tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass if you are planting a lawn in our region. But still I receive many questions about why not some other species of grass seed or maybe even buffalograss or something like that so we probabl…

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It doesn’t matter if you call them carpenter bees, wood bees or whatever, if you have structures, including decks, around your property that have unpainted and untreated wood, you will have these bumblebee look alikes hanging around your property at least part of the summer. Even though they…

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As you can imagine, my job allows me to look at a lot of plant growth issues either from plants brought into my office or onsite in yards, gardens, fields or pastures. There are many things that will cause plants to not grow normally. Some of these issues are caused by insects or diseases, b…

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The internet is potentially an amazing resource. So many information portals. Literally a vast amount of the knowledge of the world lies at your fingertips for amazingly rapid retrieval. The internet has allowed us to stay sane during the quarantine. It allows us to step into the cartoon wor…

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I was about town last week looking at a diseased tree when I heard a couple of adult cardinals just having a fit. I turned around and saw a young cardinal that had obviously done an early launch out of the nest that was probably about 2 or 3 days away from being able to really fly well. It w…

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Some days I read something in the news and I just shake my head and quietly hope it goes away quickly. That was the case several weeks ago when I saw the headlines flashing “Murder Hornets...” I felt like Charlie Brown in every TV special. “Oh good grief!” Let’s just set the record straight.…

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Last week started off with several rounds of intense thunderstorms moving through the area. Thunderstorms this time of year can cause major damage to plants, or virtually no damage. By their very nature thunderstorms will have lightning, wind, rain, and sometimes hail. We experienced all fou…

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Many serious gardeners have had seeds in the ground for over a month. But for a lot of people the gardening season doesn´t really start until they can plant their tomatoes. More on that later, but we are just barely on the cusp of tomato planting time.

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In the current era of stay at home orders, only go out for essential services, avoid crowds, etc. many homeowners are in a quandary, given they have more time around home, of what they should or shouldn´t be doing for their lawns. “Do I go to the hardware store to buy fertilizer, crabgrass c…

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I see a lot of yards around town, including my own, that has a lot of really

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About this time of year I start to receive phone calls of birds attacking windows. This is different than birds flying into windows. We see that all winter long. Birds are startled and don´t realize that the reflection of the outdoors in the window is not really a continuation of outdoors. T…

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Kansas, specifically Kansas weather, does not like evergreen trees. Or to put it more correctly, most evergreen trees don’t like Kansas weather/climate. When we talk about evergreen trees we are talking about pine, spruce, fir, arborvitae and cedar (junipers). To put it in perspective, Kansa…

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I find strange ways to pass the time. I read the ads in Sunday papers looking for those outrageous claims of the latest amazing fast growing tree, or the instant deep green lawn grass, or the new miracle way to grow tomatoes. I spend time looking for these products in self defense because so…

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