Ag News for June 2015

Bennett Joffrion  |  6/2/2015 8:08:01 PM

Hurricanes and Trees

As of this writing, the predictions from the Hurricane Center indicate it is possible to have a small amount of hurricanes this year. With that said, we must remember that it only takes one to cause loss of life and damage beyond our control.

Now is a good time to access our trees in the landscape. Trees are very vulnerable to blowing over or dropping large branches during high winds.

Trees that have large dead branches or trees that are completely dead should be dealt with as soon as possible. Dead branches should be pruned off and dead trees removed.

Next look at the overall condition of your trees. A tree that is sickly, low in vigor and shows significant signs of rotten or decayed areas in the trunk may need to be removed if it poses a threat to buildings. Trees with trunks that have large cavities with extensive decay should be considered for removal because rot weakens the trunk.

Trees that are one sided or lean significantly may need attention.

Selective pruning can relieve the weight on the heavier side, balancing out the weight distribution of the canopy. After the prolonged rain associated with hurricanes, the soil may be so soft that trees topple over if weight is not proportioned properly.

Selective thinning of the canopy can reduce the wind resistance of the tree. The idea is to preserve the natural shape of the tree but to thin out branches to reduce the weight and allow for better wind movement through the tree. This should be done by a licensed arborists. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has a list of licensed arborist in each parish.

Also, look for branches that hang over the house near the roof. Although the branches may not touch the roof under normal conditions, the high winds of hurricanes can cause trees to bend and branches to flail around considerably. These branches can cause extensive damage to the roof and generally should be removed.

Vegetable Production

I got a call inquiring about what vegetables to plant in June.

In mid-June, plant a summer crop of heat-set tomatoes. These cultivars have been bred to set fruit during high nighttime temperatures whereas other cultivars will not. If managed correctly, heat-set tomatoes will produce fruit through October.

Preferred varieties include Florida 91, Solar Set, Sun Master, Phoenix and others. Heat set tomatoes can be plated again in late July for fall tomato production.

Collard greens, cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes, okra, southern peas, pumpkins and summer squash all can be seeded directly into the garden during June.

Start transplants of eggplants, peppers and sweet potatoes slips during June as well.

Things to do Now:
  • Continue to spray recommended fungicide at 7-10 day intervals on ornamentals.
  • Plant sunflowers in late summer for fall flower arrangements.
  • Prune most azaleas no later than mid-July.
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