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Gifted Gardener O C T O B E R

Nandina Berries Are Toxic to Birds

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Fall 2 Weed Control in the Home Lawn

Pumpkin Palooza

2 0 1 3


Fall Prun- 6 ing Practices

Spotted 6 Wing Drosohila

Beginning 8 Farmer Conference

Upcom11 ing Events

How many books, articles, and other materials have you read that says to plant Nandina, Heavenly Bamboo, or Sacred Bamboo (Nandina domestica) to attract and feed birds in the late winter? This plant is classified as a noxious weed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and many states list it as a noxiousinvasive weed because it escapes readily from the home landscape. It is used as an ornamental because of the dark glossy green leaves and bright red berries that persist throughout the winter. It is still used, in large numbers by the horticultural industry and landscapers and is a recommended landscape plant by University Extension pro1

grams across the country. Unfortunately this species, which has escaped from cultivation, is highly toxic to birds. The bright red berries contain cyanide and other alkaloids that produce highly toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN) which is extremely poisonous to all animals. Sudden death may be the only sign of cyanide poisoning and death usually comes in minutes to an hour. The deaths of cedar waxwings in Georgia that were necropsied at the Vet. school showed hemorrhaging in the heart, lungs, trachea, abdominal cavity and other organs. This is a horribly painful method of death for a bird or any other animal. Bird deaths in the Houston, TX area and other parts of the country have also documented the death of songbirds as a result of eating these berries.

LAWN CARE If you haven’t had a soil test done in a while, bring me a sample. We can test for the presence of calcium in your soil and make a recommendation as needed

Fall Weed Control in the Home Lawn by G.C. Munshaw et. al. The best defense against weed problems in home lawns is a healthy and dense lawn. In thick lawns, weed seeds may not germinate because light may never reach the soil surface. A thick lawn is competitive with weeds, keeping them from growing and reproducing. Developing a healthy and dense lawn comes from using cultural practices such as proper grass species and cultivar selection, proper mowing heights and fertilization, and other good management practices. The need for herbicides to control weeds in home lawns can be greatly reduced if the lawn is well maintained. There are instances, however, when weeds escape and more aggressive control tactics are necessary. Even in well-maintained lawns, weeds can become a problem. Some weeds adapt to lawn management practices, and diseased or drought-stressed lawns can result in thin turf and create openings for weed germination. Control tactics can include herbicide appli2

cations or physical removal of the weeds. In small areas, or if the weed infestation is not severe, physical removal is the control method of choice. However, an herbicide application can provide the lawn a better chance of successfully competing with weeds. The first step if you decide to use an herbicide is to know your weeds. What species are you trying to control, and what are their life cycles? For example, knowing you are trying to control smooth crabgrass and that it typically germinates in early to midApril in Kentucky gives you a target window to apply an herbicide that kills this grass as its seeds begin to germinate. Knowing the life cycle also allows for the best timing of herbicide applications on young weed seedlings. For all weeds, herbicide treatment when the weeds are young will result in the easiest and best opportunity for control using the least amount of herbicide. Some herbicides are packaged with a fertilizer as a “weed and feed” product.

These products should be avoided in the spring for cool-season lawns, which are composed of tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. In Kentucky it is recommended that fertilizer should not be applied to these lawns in the spring. Spring and summer fertilizer applications lead to increased lawn disease and weed infestations. The best time of year to fertilize coolseason lawns is in the fall. Types of weeds—know your enemy! The vast majority of home lawn weeds in Kentucky are either annuals or perennials. Annual weeds complete their life cycle—germinating, maturing, flowering, and setting new seeds—in one growing season. Annual weeds can be either winter annuals or summer annuals. Winter annual weeds typically germinate during the fall, mature over the winter and early spring, and then flower, set seed and die in late spring/ early summer. Summer annual weeds germinate in the spring, mature during the summer, then flower and set new seed before dying during the fall. Perennial weeds can live for multiple growing seasons. Some perennials are consid-

ered cool-season or warm-season plants due to the time of year when their growth is most prevalent. Most perennial plants can reproduce both by vegetative structures (e.g. roots and stolons) and by seed. Biennial weeds (completing their life cycle within two growing seasons) exist but rarely cause problems in Kentucky lawns. Weeds can be further separated or classified into different groups by their general growth habits. Grassy or grasslike weeds are monocots (one leaf emerges from the soil). Broadleaf weeds are dicots (two leaves emerge from the soil). Herbicides differ in spectrum and in the types of weeds that they control. Knowing whether you are dealing with a winter or summer annual or a perennial and whether the plant is a grassy or broadleaf weed is one of the first steps in choosing the proper herbicide control strategy. For more detailed information on this topic visit: pubs/AGR/AGR208/AGR208.pdf


Herbicide Common Name

Application Timing

Chickweed Dandelion Ground Ivy Henbit Thistles White Clover

2,4-D 2,4-D + dicamba 2,4-D + dichlorprop (2,4-DP) 2,4-D + mecoprop (MCPP) 2,4-D + dicamba + mecoprop quinclorac sulfentrazone triclopyr

Treatments may be made from March to May or from August to early November. Apply when weeds are small and actively growing.




Winter squash and pumpkin should be heavy for their size with a hard, tough rind free of blemishes and soft


spots. Pumpkin should be brightly colored. Store in a cool, dry place and use within a month.

Calories 49 Protein 2 grams Carbohydrate 12 grams Dietary Fiber 3 grams Calcium 37 mg Iron 1.4 mg Magnesium 22 mg Potassium 564 mg


The pumpkin is a member of the squash family, and, though it is treated like a vegetable, it is technically a fruit.

Squash and pumpkin originated in America. The name squash is derived from the American Indian word askutasquash. Squash is classified as either winter or summer. Summer varieties such as zucchini and crookneck are eaten while soft and immature. Winter varieties such as acorn, buttercup, butternut, Hubbard, and spaghetti are allowed to mature into hard, starchy fruits that keep well for months. Pumpkin is probably the most idely known of the winter squash varieties.




The greatest selection of fresh winter squash is available in late summer through fall. Winter squash has a mild flavor 4

that combines well with more flavorful fruits and vegetables such as apples, tomatoes, green beans, and corn. Herbs, spices, and seasonings such as allspice, basil, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, mace, nutmeg, onion, and savory bring out its sweet, nutty flavor. Pumpkin and other winter squash can be pureed, made into soup, roasted, fried, or baked. They can also be incorporated into baked goods or main dish entrees. Small varieties may also be stuffed, boiled, or mashed. All varieties of winter squash are low in fat and sodium; plus, they are excellent sources of dietary fiber and vitamin A. One-half cup of cooked, cubed winter squash without any added seasoning has approximately 40 calories and can add flavor, color, and texture to any meal. SELECTING STORING



To prepare winter squash and pumpkin, rinse in cold water, lightly scrubbing with a vegetable brush, cut into halves or quarters, and remove seeds and stringy portions. Use only a small amount of water during cooking to prevent loss of flavor and water-soluble vitamins. If you add butter or margarine, do S so only after cooking to prevent the loss of fat-soluble vitamin A.

Zinc 1 mg Selenium .50 mg Vitamin C 12 mg Niacin 1 mg Folate 21 mcg Vitamin A 2650 IU Vitamin E 3 mg




Fall Pruning Practices

Pruning is

an art form that you only get better at the more you practice

Fall is a very good time of year to begin pruning trees and shrubs. With leaf drop comes the ability to see the structure of plants and a better ability to decide what limbs may need to be removed. Below see the rules of pruning as they pertain to trees: If the plant blooms in the spring (before June) prune after blooming If the plant blooms in the summer (after June) prune in the fall Start by removing all

dead wood. Then remove limbs that cross one another or may rub. Now remove those limbs that bother you (i.e. the mowing smacker, the view blocker etc.) Next remove limbs that help structure by creating more space for limbs to grow. Always prune to a node ( where a leaf is attached or a limb is attached to another limb). Failure to


Spotted Wing Drosophila

“Game changer for fruit growers” Dr. Ric Bessin

As many small fruits begin to ripen, home gardeners need to be on the lookout for a new insect pest, said Ric Bessin, extension entomologist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Spotted wing drosophila was detected for the first time in two UK integrated pest management traps in 2012. This year, the fruit fly first appeared in the state at the end of June and was causing problems for berry producers by the middle of July. Bessin said he’s received reports of the 6

insect from all over the state. While the fruit fly’s primary target is small fruits, including berries and grapes, it is also known to attack cherries, tomatoes and peaches in other states. “Fortunately, all of the state’s strawberries and most of the blueberry crop were already harvested before it appeared this year,” Bessin said. “Later season berries, including blackberries and raspberries, are going to be extremely susceptible.” The spotted wing drosophila differs from other fruit flies

do this will increase decay issues. Now looking at shrubs (multiple stem plants) there is a bit of a difference in the steps. Everything that pertains to trees will pertain to shrubs but additional points are as follows: When dealing with a multiple stem shrub and the desire is to keep the plant in a certain size range you will need to follow all the steps previously laid out and then look at removing the largest and oldest

in that the females will slice into nearly ripe, healthy fruit and lay their eggs just below the fruit skin. Other fruit flies are typically attracted to rotting or overripe fruits or vegetables. A spotted wing drosophila can complete a generation in as little as a week and is so tiny that growers may not notice they have a problem until the fruit starts to soften or maggots emerge. Spotted wing drosophilas are most active when temperatures are between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Gardeners, who want to maintain yields in their small crops, have a couple of insecticides available to them. However, they need to make sure they carefully read the product’s label and follow the pre-harvest intervals, which is the time between insec-

shoots or stems at the ground level. This not only brings the scale of the plant down but also reinvigorates the plant. Pruning is an art form that you only get better at the more you practice. As I prune a plant I find it very helpful to prune awhile then step back, walk around or walk away. This practice makes it easier to see what needs to be done next to accomplish your goal. Also, remember you can prune plants anytime of the year but the fall and winter is the best.

ticide application and when the fruit can safely be harvested, Bessin said. Gardeners should remove overripe and damaged berries from around their plants at least every other day, as they could be infested with the insect. Burying infested fruit is not helpful, as the insect has been known to emerge from the soil after very deep burials. To kill spotted wing drosophila, place infested fruit in clear plastic bags and leave the bags in the sun. The insect appears to overwinter very well in the United States and will develop on wild host plants including wild brambles, pokeweed and honeysuckle. Removing these plants from the landscape should help home gardeners keep pest popula(Continued on page 10)


Beginning Farmer Conference LEARNING

By Aimee Nielson

“The conference will be a great opportunity for beginning farmers to network with experienced farmers and others just getting started,” said Lee Meyer, UK agricultural economist.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is partnering with KyFarmStart and the Community Farm Alliance to offer the inaugural Kentucky Beginning Farmers Conference Oct. 5. The event will offer information on topics like land access, legal issues, grants and loans, retail versus wholesale, proper record keeping and a “meet the buyers” panel. “The conference will be a great opportunity for beginning farmers to network with experienced farmers and others just getting started,” said Lee Meyer, UK agricultural economist. “Presenters will be farmers, legal professionals, grant and loan experts and business owners who buy from Kentucky farmers. The farmers who attend will be able to gather a lot of new information and ideas that will help them expand their business.”

for 15 years at the Field Day Family Farm. Most recently, he partnered with three others to open Harvest Restaurant in NuLu, the East Market District of Louisville, where 80 percent of their menu comes from local food. "Here in Kentucky, we have an incredible amount of energy focused around local farms and food,” said Carolyn Gahn, Community Farm Alliance fellow. “Our job as a community is to support these new food-based businesses and provide them with the resources they need to be successful. The age of the average American farmer has been going up every year since 1978—with this group of new farmers and entrepreneurs, we can reverse that trend.”

Registration will begin at 7 a.m. with the program starting at 7:30 a.m. Registration is $15 and includes a light breakfast and lunch. The program ends at 4 p.m. For more information or to register for Louisville-area farmer Ivor the conference, visit http:// Chodkowski will kick off www.communityfarmalliance. the festivities at the Kenorg. The conference is also tucky State University Cen- sponsored by Good Foods ter for Sustainability in Market and Café, Seed CapiFrankfort. Chodkowski has tal KY and Iroquois Valley been farming in Kentucky Farms LLC. 8

The KSU Center for Sustainability farm is located five miles south of Interstate 64 at 1525 Mills Lane in Frankfort. Community Farm Alliance is a grassroots, member-based organization whose mission is to organize and encourage cooperation among rural and urban citizens, through leadership development and grassroots democratic processes, to ensure an essential, prosperous place for family-scale agriculture.

and classroom-based learning tool to provide beginning farmers, defined as those who have worked as a primary farmer for 10 years or less, with a variety of resources including access to publications and links, as well as lessons designed specifically for beginning farmers. In addition to the online program, the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offers a series of face-to-face educational programs and on-farm demonstrations geared specifically to the needs of beginning and transitioning farmers.

KyFarmStart is designed as an online 9

What is the Master Gardener Program:

Horticulture Education Program Leadership development Volunteer Based Organization What to Expect: Topics will include botany, soil science, entomology, plant pathology, Fruit and Vegetable growing, Tree care, plus several other topics.

Seasonal Reminders Cost of the class is $60 and will include a very detailed Classes will usually last between 2 and 3 hours.

manual and many other reference materials. We are not sure exactly when this class will take place. That will be determined based on the majority of the applications

(Continued from page 7)


Now taking applications for the 2013 and 2014 Master Gardener Classes. For more information and an application call the Nelson County Extension office.

sure to visit before the season gets

September 24th: Raising Hops as a Cash Crop. 6:30 pm @ the Nelson County Extension Office

away. Plan now for Spotted Wing Drosophila (a new type fruit fly) is going to be a bad insect for kentucky small fruit growers. Turf fertilization should begin in late October. Seasonal invaders like the Lady Bug will be entering homes soon.

September 24th: Putting the gardens to bed for the fall and

fall bulb planting

winter. Learn about the things to do to ensure a beautiful 2014 garden. 4:00 pm @ the Bloomfield Library

Always get rid of weeds in the garden or landscape before they

October 16th: Nut Tree Production. 6:30 pm @ the Nelson County Extension Office

go to seed We test your soil and its free.

October 22nd: Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Learn the best plants for Kentucky landscapes and how to properly care for them. 4:30 pm @ the Bloomfield Library

Fall is the time of year to knock our many lawn broadleaf weeds. Locate and


mark perennials for

Market is full of good local

spring division.

Robbie Smith County Extension Agent for Horticulture Phone: 502-348-9204 Fax: 502-348-9270

foods make

email: Website:

tions to a minimum, Bessin said. The UK Cooperative Extension Service has two publications related to spotted wing drosophila biology, identification, monitoring and management. They are available at http:// and and local extension offices. 10

@hortagentrob NelsonCounty Extension




University of Kentucky Nelson County 317 South Third Street Bardstown, KY 40004

Cooperative Extension Service


Gifted Gardner  

This publication is produced from the Nelson County Extension Office by Robbie Smith, Agent for Horticulture.

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