Tag Archive: Tips

Tick Tips

American Dog Tick. Photo: L. Buss, UF/IFAS

You’ve probably heard some tips to prevent picking up ticks in the past, but did you ever wonder why some work and others don’t? Understanding the life cycle and behavior of common ticks can help you succeed with your prevention measures.

Life Cycle of American Dog Tick. Credit: Centers for Disease Control

A general life cycle for ticks includes four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The egg hatches into larva which require a blood meal to molt into a nymph which again requires a blood meal before molting to an adult.
The adult female also requires blood feeding in order to produce eggs, which she lays in high numbers – some species lay up to 6,500 eggs!
Because blood is required for development, ticks have to be resourceful in finding hosts. Knowing this can help you understand why some tips work better than others.
Tick Tips
  • Wear clothing that covers skin and avoid sitting on the ground or logs in brushy areas. Adult ticks exhibit a behavior called “questing” where they climb to the top of grasses and vegetation with their forelegs extended and wait for a host to come by.  The American Dog Tick‘s primary host are dogs, but they will also target cattle, horses, and humans.
  • Apply repellents to exposed skin and clothing (different products are labeled for where they are applied, follow all directions). These chemicals repel ticks and can reduce likelihood of tick attachment, but ticks have been known to crawl over treated areas to access untreated body parts.
  • Keep grass and vegetation maintained and clean up debris that may harbor small mammals and rodents. Early in the tick life cycle it targets smaller animals for blood and they can
    hide or shelter in debris piles and vegetation.
  • Always shower and check yourself for ticks after being in areas where ticks may live, especially when temperatures are warm. Nymphs can be less than 1 mm long, so check carefully!
For instructions on how to properly remove a tick that has embedded, visit UF Health Tick Removal.

Female Lone Star tick that has not fed. Photo: L. Buss, UF/IFAS

Lone Star Tick female engorged on blood. Photo: L. Buss, UF/IFAS

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Author: Julie McConnell – juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Bay County Horticulture Extension Agent I

Julie McConnell

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/01/tick-tips/

Tips for Transplanting

Be careful planting cucurbit transplants, as they have sensitive roots. Photo by Molly Jameson.

When I think of the end of winter and the hot temperatures that will soon be here to stay in the Florida Panhandle, I often feel a little melancholy. But the one silver lining that always picks me back up is remembering what warmer temperatures will mean in the garden. This is the start to all the fun, colorful, fruiting crops. Think of the oranges, reds, yellows, and even purples that will soon fill their vines.

As an extension agent, one of the questions I am often asked is whether to start summer vegetables from seed directly in the garden, or to start seeds in pots and transplant them later. The answer is – as is often the case – it depends.

Are you planting tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant? Well, the beginning of April is too late to start from seeds with these crops in our neck of the woods. Buy transplants! Are you growing beans, okra, or root crops? Now that we are past the risk of frost, put those seeds directly into your garden. Are you growing cucurbits, like squash, cucumbers, or melons? You have a choice. You could seed them directly, or you could start seeds in pots. What is the advantage of starting in pots, you ask? Well – this will give you the chance to pick the strongest plants and will allow you to transplant them exactly where you want them. The disadvantage? Other than the extra work, cucurbits tend to be sensitive to disturbance. Be sure to handle with care and do not over water once your seedlings have sprouted.

Transplant into the garden when the plant is about the length of its pot. Photo by Molly Jameson.

Whether you grew the seeds in pots yourself or acquired transplants elsewhere, there are certain practices you can follow to ensure your plant babies have a good start. Here are a few tips when it comes to transplanting into the garden:

What should be considered when purchasing transplants? When purchasing transplants, it is important to make sure the plant is healthy. Look for plants with strong stems, green leaves, and no signs of pest or disease damage. Ideally, the plant should not be much taller than the length of its pot, and should be about as tall as it is wide. Also, avoid vegetable plants that are already producing fruit, this is an indication they have been in their pot too long, prompting them to become stressed. When stressed, annuals often feel they need to hurry and produce seeds to carry on the next generation.

When should transplants be planted into the garden? For spring gardens, plant transplants once danger of frost has passed (late March in the Panhandle), when the transplant has had time to develop a strong root system, and when the transplant is about the length of its pot. If you are growing your seeds indoors or in a greenhouse, allow the plant to “harden-off” by placing the plants outdoors in partial shade for a few hours a day for about a week before transplanting.

What is the transplanting process?

  • First, prepare your garden site with compost and other soil amendments.
  • Water your plants very thoroughly just before planting to decrease transplant shock. The entire root system should be completely wet.
  • Dig a hole that is at least double the width of the plant’s root ball.

    Add fresh compost or worm castings to each planting hole to give your plants an extra nutrient boost. Photo by Molly Jameson.

  • Add one to two handfuls of fresh compost or worm castings to each hole. These soil amendments will improve soil health, introduce beneficial microbes, and provide a slow- release nutrient source for your growing seedlings.
  • Avoid covering any leaves or stems under the soil surface. Remove these lower leaves and stems with sharp garden clippers to minimize the size of the wound.
  • Avoid touching the stem and avoid disturbing the root ball when removing the transplant from its pot. Gently squeeze the pot to loosen the potting soil and turn the transplant sideways or upside down with the palm of your hand to gently “catch” the transplant.
  • Unless the transplant is a tomato, plant it so that the soil level is about the soil level of the transplant, making sure the plant has good structure to decrease susceptibility of falling over as it grows.
  • If transplanting a tomato, plant deeper than the soil level of the transplant, as tomatoes can grow what are called “adventitious” roots – roots that grow from their stem – that will improve overall root development.
  • Make sure to cover up all roots, and water the soil around the plant thoroughly. Continue to water deeply, keeping the soil moist but not soggy, for the next three to four days while the plant becomes established. You can then begin to switch to a normal watering pattern.
  • Always water the soil around the plant, not the plant leaves, throughout the season to decrease susceptibility to disease.

Remember: gardening is a science and an art! And just like art, there are many aspects that are open to interpretation. Have fun gardening – experiment and try new techniques. Keep a journal tracking all your gardening adventures. With time, this can become your road map to the sweetest of summer fruit.

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Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/04/08/tips-for-transplanting/

Large Limb Removal Tips

There are a number of reasons to remove large limbs from mature trees. The three most common reasons are to either remove dead wood, to keep limbs from interfering with one another and rubbing or growing together, or to keep the tree from having narrow crotch angles. (“Narrow crotch angle” is not a very charming phrase, but it simply refers to branches that grow at angles less than 45° relevant to the trunk.)

Photo Credit: Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Removing tree limbs larger than four inches in diameter should be done with care. Three cuts per limb are often needed to avoid tearing the bark down the side of the tree’s trunk.

  1. Make the first cut on the underside of the branch about 18 inches from the trunk. Undercut one-third to one-half way through the branch.

    First Cut. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS Extension.

     

  2. Make the second cut on the topside of the branch an inch further out on the branch; cut until the branch breaks free.

    Second Cut. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS Extension.

     

  3. Before making the final cut, identify the branch collar. The branch collar grows from the stem tissue around the base of the branch. Make pruning cuts so that only branch tissue (wood on the branch side of the collar) is removed. Be careful to prune just beyond the branch collar, but don’t leave a stub.

    Final Cut. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS Extension.

     

It is important to take your time whenever working with power equipment and trees in your landscape. You usually only have one chance to get the cut right and you don’t want to injure yourself or ruin your tree.

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/02/11/large-limb-removal-tips/

Tips for Christmas Tree Care

Tips for Christmas Tree Care

Although there are many types of artificial Christmas trees these days, live or cut trees are still very popular. Given the proper care, your natural tree can maintain its festive look throughout the holidays, keeping your safety in mind as well.

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Image credit: UF/IFAS Communications.

 

By now many of you have already bought and displayed your trees. However, it’s not a bad idea to discuss tree selection for next year. Tree selection is important to maintain tree health and for decorating as branch sturdiness differs among varieties. White pine and red cedar are great choices for the panhandle climate, but have weak branches for hanging ornaments. Firs and spruces are better choices for this, except for our native species that require closer management.

Of course, the most important management measure to keep in mind is moisture level. A hydrated tree will reduce needle drop and keep the tree vibrant green. Don’t forget about the fire hazard a dry tree can cause. Use water holding stands and replenish often, maintaining the water level above the base of the cut tree. Clean water is the best, no additives are needed. It will surprise you how quickly and how much a cut tree will absorb. A good rule of thumb is to have a water basin that will hold approximately 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. The proper size stand is important. Make sure it is proportional to your tree size. A potted tree will require approximately a gallon of water a couple of times a week, depending on size. Feel the needles and check the soil for dryness, and add water when needed.

Place your tree in the coolest area of the room. Keep the tree away from air ducts, fireplaces and direct sunlight. However, a tree left in a darkened room will also promote needle drop. A space with indirect sun is best. Any heat from these factors can deteriorate the moisture level needed for a healthy tree.

This is also a popular time of year to travel. Busy with holiday plans, it’s easy to forget about caring for your tree while you are gone. If you are going to travel more than a few days, ask a friend or neighbor to water your tree, but give specific instructions. Remember, moisture is the key. The last thing to do before embarking on your holiday travel is to give your tree water. Be sure the lights are unplugged too.

Safety is the number one priority and should always be on your mind. Start by keeping any open flames or candles far away from the tree. Be careful with strands of lights and inspect before placing on the tree. If the wiring is showing age with cracks in the rubber insulation or the plug is worn, please dispose of them. Be careful not to overload circuit breakers as well. Always turn lights off before you retire for bed.

Take time to properly care for your tree. Your efforts will reward you with a beautiful, festive tree throughout the holiday season. For more information, please contact your local county extension office. Happy Holidays!

Supporting information can be found at the UF/IFAS Family & Consumer Science website: http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/families_and_consumers/christmas_trees.shtml

 

 

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Author: Ray Bodrey – rbodrey@ufl.edu

Gulf County Extension Director, Agent II Agriculture, Natural Resource & Community Development

Ray Bodrey

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/12/23/tips-for-christmas-tree-care/

10 Tips to Prepare your Pig for Show

This is Peyton's first year in the swine project. He is a Jackson County 4-Her. "I practice with my pig everyday!"

This is Peyton’s first year in the swine project. He is a Jackson County 4-Her. “I practice with my pig everyday!”

In the Florida Panhandle, it’s Fair Season!  Whether you are an exhibitor or a spectator, we are sharing some tips for you related to the Swine Project.  For spectators, it is important to understand the risks associated with disease and animals.  Though rare, influenza can spread from pigs to people.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that anyone who is at high risk of serious flu complications should avoid pigs and pig barns.  For everyone else, just use good sense- don’t take food or drinks into the barn area.  If you have young children, avoid taking toys or pacifiers into the barn area and make sure everyone washes their hands afterwards; most fairs provide handwashing stations just outside the barns.  The CDC has some great tips for parents planning on attending livestock exhibits on their website.

For exhibitors, one component of your project will be learning to show your animal.   Showmanship is judged on your ability to exhibit an animal to its best advantage. These skills take a lot of time and practice to gain, but having a well-trained animal will make it easier.  Participating in a swine showmanship workshop is a great way to prepare.  Contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office to find out when the next clinic will be held in your area.

Top 10 Tips for Preparing for a Swine Show:

  1. Make sure you have the proper tools and supplies and gather them in one place. A show box that can be locked is best, but anything you can use to keep everything together will work.  Your show box should include items such as:
  • Brush
  • Mild soap
  • Water hose
  • Work clothes and boots for use when washing your pig
  • Crop or cane
  • Wash cloths and towels
  • Rubber feed trough
  • Shovel
  • Water bucket
  • Feed
  • Bedding (if not provided by the show)
  • Oil or powder if coat dressing is allowed (some shows will not allow coat dressing)
  1. Practice driving your pig as often as possible. Driving means guiding your animal from one place to another with a cane or crop.  When using a cane, you will be using the curved end to touch the animal.  To move you pig you lightly tap it either on the rear or on the shoulder.

    Proper placement of your crop or cane is very important. NEVER beat your pig with it!

    Proper placement of your crop or cane is very important. NEVER beat your pig with it!

  2. Brush your pig daily for at least two months before the show. Brush the hair in the direction it lays naturally.  Pigs “love” to be rubbed and brushed and they will look forward to it.
  3. Make sure to wash your pig one or two times before the show. You will need to wash them the day before the show or at the show.  Use a stiff brush and a mild detergent.  Make sure to never get water in your pig’s ears as it will affect its equilibrium.
  4. When working your pig, pay attention to how he walks. If the hooves are too long, you may need to trim them.  Do this two to three weeks before the show and ask an experienced person to help you.  Trimming too close will cause them to be lame.
  5. When trimming hair, make sure to clip off all the long hair from under the ear a few days ahead of the show. For a winter show, if your pig has long hair, you can clip the underline to make the pig appear trim in the middle.
  6. Gather your show clothes. Clean pressed jeans or slacks and a neat button-down or sport shirt, not a T-shirt. 4-H attire is always nice! Tuck in your shirt, and wear a belt for added neatness. It is best not to wear a cap since it may take the judge’s concentration away from the animal. Wear leather shoes or boots for safety and appearance. If the animal steps on your foot, it is much easier for the foot to slip off a leather boot than a tennis shoe and leather shoes are thicker.
  7. Make sure you have all the proper registration and health forms. Place them in a folder or plastic sleeve to keep them clean and protected.
  8. Have a plan for transporting your pig. Transporting at night or early in the morning during hot weather is best.
  9. A good showman knows about their project animal. Sometimes the judge will ask questions to make a final decision on the top showman, so be prepared! Questions may include the weight, gender, breed, age, or parts of the animal. They may also include carcass composition, swine management practices, feeding and nutrition, or marketing systems.

The UF Animal Sciences Department is offering a Swine Field Day and Sale October 22nd.  The field day will include instruction on showmanship, feeding and fitting youth hog. These fact sheets offer even more information to help you successfully raise and show your hog:

Once you have mastered how to show a pig, you may want to consider enrolling in the 4-H Hog and Ham Project, a statewide 4-H program which takes the participant through the total process of pork production from beginning to end. Youth select a feeder pig and grow it to harvesting weight, all the while keeping records of feed amounts and costs, health care, expenses and weights. After harvesting and processing the the hog, 4-H’ers cure the hams and prepare bacon and sausage for smoking. The project concludes by participating in a retail comparison project, completing a record book, and presenting a demonstration or illustrated talk to the other participants.

Do you have a passion for pigs?  If so, consider serving as a volunteer to help the next generation gain life skills through the swine project.  We need your knowledge and experience to mentor youth enrolled in the swine project.  For more information, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

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Author: amgranger – amgranger@ufl.edu

amgranger

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/20/10-tips-to-prepare-your-pig-for-show/

Post-Harvest Tips for Palmer Pigweed Control

Post-Harvest Tips for Palmer Pigweed Control

Palmer amaranth that emerged after harvest and survived into December. Photo credit: Jay Ferrell

Palmer amaranth that emerged after harvest and survived into December. Photo credit: Jay Ferrell

Many Florida cotton and peanut farmers have been fighting Palmer amaranth (pigweed) all season.  With harvest is just around the corner, many farmers begin to relax their weed control efforts.  Regrettably, you can’t give up on this horrible weed yet.  With daytime temperatures still reaching the high 80’s or low 90’s with 12 hours of sunlight, Palmer amaranth will still germinate and produce seed.  Therefore, giving up on Palmer right now can undo all the hard work that has been expended by allowing a late seed crop to develop.

After peanuts or cotton have been completely harvested, you can use 2,4-D or Weedmaster without as much concern for sensitive crops.  These herbicides are inexpensive and highly effective on Palmer amaranth, even those that are resistant to glyphosate, Cadre, or both.  One application of 2,4-D or Weedmaster will likely provide enough control that a later Palmer amaranth crop will not have time to develop before cool weather brings seed germination to an end.

Palmer amaranth is a serious problem for crop production, but seed longevity for this plant is actually quite short.  A few years of proactive management at the end of the growing season can greatly reduce the impact of this weed.  But, allowing multiple seed crops, especially those that develop late in the season when crop competition has been removed, can be particularly devastating the following season.

For more information on controlling Palmer amaranth use the following links:

Control of Palmer Amaranth in Agronomic Crops

Amaranthus palmeri Palmer Amaranth

Weed Management in Cotton

Weed Management in Peanuts

 

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Author: jferrell – jferrell@ufl.edu

jferrell

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/09/03/post-harvest-tips-for-palmer-pigweed-control/

Tips for a Successful School Year

1182266_studentsWhere did the summer go?  It’s hard to believe that in many counties, school starts next week!  I wanted to share a few things that will help make this school year successful for your family.  It’s no surprise that success — or failure — at school starts at home. Studies have linked poor academic performance to factors such as a lack of sleep, poor nutrition, obesity, and a lack of parental support.

The good news is that those same studies also show higher test scores for students who live in homes with healthy habits, regular routines, and good communication. What does this mean?  Let’s brainstorm on ways you can ensure your child heads off to school this fall with the best possible foundation.

Organization is definitely a key factor to help your child. A student agenda notebook or planner is a great tool, or if they are able to use electronic devices have them use a planning program/calendar. Encourage them to review their assignments before leaving school to make sure they bring home the appropriate books and materials.

At home, remind them to look at the planner instead of trying to work from memory. Establish a place where your child can study daily and do their homework. Be sure it is free from distractions and have school supplies easily accessible. Make it your children’s responsibility to let you know when they run low on supplies. As much as possible, be available during this time in case your child needs help. Assist your child on making a list of all the things going on weekly and break down big assignments into smaller chunks they can do daily.

Have family meetings to be sure everyone knows what is happening for the week. My family usually meets on Sundays. It is a time when we work out transportation, meal plans, extracurricular activities and homework times.

Look for ways to teach your child throughout the day. For example, cooking combines elements of math and science. Use the time when you make dinner as an opportunity to read and follow directions, to discuss fractions, to make hypotheses and to examine results.

Choosing to make schoolwork a priority over socializing with friends is one of the biggest challenges facing school children. Institute a work first/play later policy. With “work first/play later,” kids are expected to get all of their work done before visiting friends, chatting online or playing games. Explain that there will be consequences if this policy isn’t met, and be prepared to follow through. Offer praise for a job well done. Though they may not act like your approval matters, it is still very important and it does motivate them. All children need down time, and playing both alone and with other children is good for both their intellectual and social skills. Eventually a well-developed work ethic will result in a big pay-off. Celebrate their successes. A family dinner out to celebrate a solid mid-year report can boost their spirits and encourage them to keep putting in the effort.

Model good learning behavior in the way you deal with your job and household responsibilities and let your children know that you are still learning. Be sure that you show your child – through your own action – that good educational habits yield great rewards.

Related articles:

For more information go to http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topics/families/children.html or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

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Author: pmdavis – pmdavis@ufl.edu

4-H Youth Development Faculty Bay County Extension
http://bay.ifas.ufl.edu/4-h/

pmdavis

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/08/05/tips-for-a-successful-school-year/

Five Tips to Reduce Pesticide Spray Drift

Five Tips to Reduce Pesticide Spray Drift

Sprayer for WebErdal Ozkan, Agricultural Engineering, Ohio State University

Due to concerns for production costs, safety, and the environment, it is important to maximize the pesticide deposit on the target. One of the major problems challenging pesticide applicators is spray drift, which is defined as movement of pesticides by wind from the application site to an off-target site. Spray drift accounts for about half of all non-compliance cases investigated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Spray drift not only results in wasting expensive pesticides and pollution of the environment, it may damage non-target crops nearby, and poses a serious health risk to people living in areas where drift is occurring.

Although complete elimination of spray drift is impossible, problems can be reduced significantly if you are aware of major factors which influence drift, and take precautions to minimize their influence on off-target movement of droplets. The factors that play a role in either the creation or reduction of spray drift are: a) Spray characteristics, such as volatility and viscosity of pesticide formulation; b) Equipment and application techniques used for spraying pesticides; c) Weather conditions at the time of application (wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity and stability of air around the application site); and most importantly, d) Operator care, attitude, and skill.

Five cost-effective tips to minimize spray drift.

  1. If you can, keep your nozzles as close to the target as possible while still producing a uniform distribution of spray on the target. This doesn’t cost any money as long as it is practical to make it happen.
  2. When you’re ready to change nozzles, consider selecting nozzles that produce much fewer of the extremely small droplets that are most likely to drift away. Low-drift nozzles are in the market and do a tremendous job of eliminating extremely small, drift-prone droplets from the droplet spectrum.
  3. There are chemicals sold in the market that are designed to increase the droplet size, and reduce the number of very small droplets when added into the spray mixture. Most of them are some sort of polymer that tends to increase the viscosity and density of the spray mixture which leads to larger droplets. This, however, should be the last defense against drift. First consider the other option such as better targeting of the spray and switching to low-drift nozzles.
  4. Use shields that cover partially or fully the distance between the target and the nozzles. There are companies manufacturing and selling such attachments to the boom. Shields prevent small droplets from moving away from the immediate application area. This, however may not be practical for sprayers with extremely large booms.
  5. If there is any doubts about a spraying job that might result in drift, wait until there is no longer that element of doubt. Always pay attention to wind direction and magnitude. The best investment you can make is to buy a wind meter that tells you how high the wind velocity is at any given time. Having a wind meter handy will help you avoid a costly problem associated with spray drift.
Source:  C.O.R.N Newsletter

 

More detailed discussion on these tips and other drift reduction strategies are outlined in following fact sheets:

OSU Effect of Major Variables on Drift Distances of Spray Droplets

OSU New Nozzles for Spray Drift Reduction

OSU Effectiveness of Turbodrop® and Turbo Teejet® Nozzles in Drift Reduction

 

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Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/06/25/five-tips-to-reduce-pesticide-spray-drift/

Pasture Weed Control Tips for Thistles

Thistle in Gadsden County hayfield. Photo courtesy of Shep Eubanks UF/IFAS

Thistle in a Gadsden County hayfield. Photo courtesy of Shep Eubanks UF/IFAS

Timing is critical for controlling weeds that infest and invade our pastures.  Thistles are an example of a weed in which proper timing of herbicide application can mean the difference between excellent and very poor control of the weed problem.  Thistles are biennial, so in year one they come up from seed and form a small rosette, and in year two, they bolt and flower.  The thistles in the photo above are still in the rosette stage of development; at this stage they are very easy to control with inexpensive herbicides.  A timely application of one of several herbicides in year one, or even early in year two at the beginning of the bolting stage will provide economical control of this weed.  However, if you delay treatment until the plant is flowering, control is reduced and more expensive.  Often it is the ugly flowers that draw attention to the seriousness of the weed infestation, but scouting for this weed in late winter and early spring can make a huge difference as illustrated in the table below.

Source: Thistle Control in Pastures

Source:  J. Ferrell & B. Sellers Thistle Control in Pastures

It is important to understand that a weed like thistle is very prolific.  A single thistle plant can produce 4,000+ seeds.  You can rapidly go from a situation where you only have a few plants to a very high populations in one or two years.  The good news is that the herbicides available to control thistle will also control many of the winter annual weeds that are out there right now in Panhandle pastures and hayfields.  Control measures include 2,4-D,  Weedmaster (2,4-D+dicamba) or their generic alternatives, GrazonNext, Pasturegard, Remedy Ultra, or metsulfuron.

One thing to remember is that these herbicides will injure clovers.  Some, such as Grazonnext and metsulfuron, have residual activity that may affect clovers that are over-seeded later.  Check the label for more information or consult with your local UF/IFAS Extension Agent.

For more information on pasture weed control check out these publications:

Thistle Control in Pastures

Weed management in Pastures and Rangelands – 2016

Other Extension Pasture Weed Fact-sheets

 

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Author: Shep Eubanks – bigbuck@ufl.edu

Shep Eubanks is the County Extension Director and Agriculture Agent in Holmes County.

Shep Eubanks

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/18/pasture-weed-control-tips-for-thistles/

“Egg”cellent Food Safety Tips for Your Holiday

“Egg”cellent Food Safety Tips for Your Holiday

Easter Egg picIt seems that everywhere you look, an egg hunt is being advertised, egg dye kits are on every corner in the store, and the Internet is a-buzz with cool decorating ideas. Keep in mind this season that this fun family activity could turn rotten if you forget food safety.

Outbreaks of foodborne illness, especially salmonella, have been associated with the improper preparation and storage of eggs. Salmonella is not something you want to remember when you think back to memories of decorating and hunting eggs in the spring.

Common symptoms of salmonella include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, and headache. Children are one population most susceptible to foodborne illness.

There is no reason to worry about potential food safety hazards associated with your holiday eggs as long as you remember to follow these guidelines:

  • Clean and sanitize your hands, preparation area, and utensils before, during, and after the cooking process.
  • Use eggs that are clean and free of cracks and leaks.
  • Cook eggs completely – no rushing or short cuts. If you don’t have the time, pick another day to do it.
  • Use only food-grade dyes; these include food coloring and dye sold in egg dye kits.  Use beet juice, blueberry juice, etc. as alternatives to artificial dye.
  • Refrigerate eggs as soon as you are finished decorating or, if decorating later, after cooking and drying.
  • The refrigerator door is the warmest spot in your fridge; store eggs in the carton in the main compartment, not in the door.
  • Toss eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.  If eggs are not “found” or eaten, within this time, make the sacrifice and throw them away (of course, do this while the kids aren’t looking.)
  • When hiding eggs for a hunt, keep them in areas that are clean, free of dirt, and away from pets or pests.  Consider decorating one set for hunting and another for eating.
  • Hard-boiled eggs are safe for up to one week with proper cooking, storing, and handling procedures.

Keep these guidelines in mind for an “egg”cellent holiday with family, friends, and fun!

 

PG

Author: jbreslawski – jbreslawski@ufl.edu

jbreslawski

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/11/eggcellent-food-safety-tips-for-your-holiday/

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