News Release Distributed 02/25/10 Palm trees have gained increased interest in Louisiana home landscapes over the past few years, and this resurgence mainly can be attributed to the lack of severely cold weather over the past 20 years, according to an LSU AgCenter expert. “Most people remember the winters of the early 1980s and late 1980s that resulted in considerable damage to palms around the state,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. “This winter also saw temperatures go below 32 degrees for two straight weeks in early January, and palm damage around the state is considerable.” Owings says one of the most reliable palms for Louisiana is the windmill palm. “This species can be grown across the state and is one of the palms that can be planted in more northern locations,” Owings says. “Windmill palms are cold-hardy to 15-20 degrees and can tolerate lower temperatures for very short times.” Windmill palms have average heights of 15-25 feet but can be as tall as 40 feet. Trunks are slender, and mats of dark brown, hair-like fibers coat the trunk on younger palms. Windmill palms like ample water but don’t do well in extremely moist soils or standing water. “Low, poorly drained areas will significantly slow growth of windmill palms,” Owings says. “And they have high drought tolerance and moderate salt tolerance.” Windmill palms are relatively slow growing, so consider this fact when adding some to the landscape, he adds. These palms do their best in full sun, although plants will grow – at a slower rate – and adapt to partially sunny or shady situations. “While most of us now realize that fall and winter are the best times to plant the majority of ornamental plants in our landscapes, the best time to plant palms in Louisiana is May through September,” Owings says. “The soil is warmest this time of year, and warm soil is one of the most important criteria for palm root growth.” The horticulturist warns that rough handling of palm trees or severe vibrations during transportation can break the tender bud, causing death many months down the road. “It also is important to transplant the palm as soon as possible after digging,” he says. “Never allow the roots to become dry, although this should not be a problem with container-grown plants.” Maintenance is minimal on windmill palms once they are established in the landscape. Fertilization every couple years can aid in growth and foliage color, Owings says. You also can consider removing the oldest leaves, but it’s not a necessary practice. “Windmill palms are tough and durable,” Owings says. “They can be used in narrow planting locations. Lawn grass will grow and ornamentals that need sunlight can be planted in beds underneath windmill palms because of their high foliage canopy. “They make excellent focal trees and tropical accents,” he adds. “Think about windmill palms when you replant cold-damaged palm trees this year.
News Release Distributed 02/25/10 Easy Does It is the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) winner – the only winner – for 2010. “This variety is a floribunda from Weeks Roses,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. Flower color is a mango, peach and apricot blend, and petal count is 25-30, Owings says. Susceptibility to blackspot disease is slight to moderate under Louisiana growing conditions. “Easy Does It performed very well in the AARS official display garden at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center this year,” he says. “In addition, it was named a People’s Choice award winner at the LSU AgCenter’s landscape horticulture field day held at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station in 2009.” The horticulturist says the new rose thrived during two years of comprehensive testing in 23 gardens nationwide. In fact, this variety flourished in 15 categories, including the ability to resist disease, overall beauty and general ease of maintenance. “Each winning rose bears the AARS red-rose seal of approval that ensures gardeners the plants will grow beyond expectations with little maintenance,” Owings says.All-America Rose Selections is a nonprofit association of rose growers and introducers dedicated to bringing exceptional, easy-to-grow roses to gardeners across the county. The organization operates the world’s most rigorous plant trial program via a network of more than 20 official test gardens throughout the country and representing all climate zones.
(Distributed 02/25/10) Roses are one of our most popular ornamental plants, and home gardeners need to learn more about how to care for them, according to a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.
(Distributed 02/11/10) Growing roses in Louisiana is a challenge for home gardeners. A major problem in the enjoyment of landscape roses is disease – primarily blackspot and powdery mildew – brought on by our environmental conditions. Heat and humidity have an adverse affect on many rose varieties that we grow in Louisiana.
(Distributed 02/25/10) A significant number of fruit trees and similar plants do well in Louisiana, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist David Himelrick. They include fig, citrus, blueberry, pawpaw, pomegranate and persimmon.
(Distributed 02/19/10) February and March signal the beginning of spring in many parts of Louisiana – at least when it comes to getting things done in the home landscape.
(Distributed 02/26/10) Pruning is one of the activities that many home gardeners have questions about. When to prune? How to prune? Why prune?
(Distributed 02/25/10) Tomatoes are a Louisiana gardener’s favorite. Full of vitamins and lycopene, tomatoes are a healthy addition to any meal.
(Distributed 02/05/10) Flowering trees add considerable color and beauty to our landscapes during the late winter and early spring months. Many of these trees that flower at this time of the year can be considered low maintenance compared to the amount of joy we get from them.
(Distributed 02/25/10) Until recently, many home gardeners didn’t know much about the multi-season blooming potential of some of the newer azalea varieties.
(Distributed 02/05/10) Don’t let unsafe food masquerade at your Mardi Gras celebration. Food that hasn’t been prepared following recommended food safety guidelines usually appears safe because it looks smells and tastes fine, but eating it may lead to food-borne illness, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
(Distributed 02/10/10) Landscape shrub roses like the popular Knock Out varieties are all the rage in the rose world right now, but Louisiana homeowners have a number of other great landscape shrub roses to consider, according to an LSU AgCenter horticulturist.
(Distributed 02/03/10) You can show your Valentine how much you care by surprising her or him with a special treat – luscious red fruit, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
(Radio News 02/22/10) After a wet and cold winter, gardeners are anxious to get back into their yards. Even though temperatures have stayed fairly cold, some gardeners may have started spring gardening activities already. LSU AgCenter horticulturist Bob Souvestre says gardeners can busy themselves with several tasks. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 02/08/10) Parents who want their children to eat healthier, need to eat healthy themselves. LSU AgCenter nutritionist Denise Holston-West said parents must prepare meals with healthful foods and give their youngsters good options for snacks. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 02/22/10) Frigid temperatures last month may have killed some of your plants, but it probably didn’t kill many insects. LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dale Pollet says most insects are very capable of protecting themselves by hibernating or finding protected areas. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(TV News 02/01/10) Farmers are at the mercy of the weather, and the past few years, it hasn’t been kind to them. LSU AgCenter correspondent Tobie Blanchard looks at weather projections for 2010 and what farmers can do to help the environment. (Runtime: 1:49)
(TV News 02/22/10) Poultry producers are still struggling to rebound after the closing, and then reopening of a processing facility in Northeast Louisiana. LSU AgCenter correspondent Tobie Blanchard visited with a grower who has watched chickens return to his houses but his paycheck drop. (Runtime: 1:52)
(TV News 02/15/10) Rows and rows of pigs, sheep and chickens line the exhibition halls of the Lamar-Dixon Expo center. Crowds of animals and youngsters gather every year for LSU AgCenter Livestock Show. This will be the 75th year for the state livestock show, and even though the name says livestock, the event really is more about helping young people develop life skills than it is the about the animals. (Runtime: 1:29)
(Radio News 02/08/10) At the beginning of a new year many adults resolve to exercise more. LSU AgCenter nutritionist Denise Holston-West says parents should include their children in their healthy goals. She suggests finding ways to get kids to move more. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 02/08/10) Parents can help their children become good decision makers by giving them proper boundaries says LSU AgCenter family development specialist Dr. Diane Sasser. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 02/22/10) In the last-minute rush to get tax returns completed, taxpayers often make mistakes. LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Jeanette Tucker warns about common mistakes you can avoid. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(TV News 02/08/10) Weather hasn’t been kind to farmers recently, but an LSU economist predicts that farmers may have better luck with the economy this year. Dek Terrell spoke to farmers at the LSU AgCenter’s Ag Outlook Conference and said he expects the U.S. gross domestic product to grow in the coming year and the recession to end. (Runtime: 1:12)
(Radio News 02/22/10) You may know how and when to plant your pansies and petunias, but do you stretch before heading into the garden? LSU AgCenter horticulturist Bob Souvestre says while experienced gardeners know what to do in their landscapes, they may not take care of themselves as well as they take care of their flower beds. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 02/22/10) West Carroll farmer William Stutts began his farming career when he was still in high school. He used an FFA grant to get started. That was 34 years ago. He has seen many changes in those years. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Radio News 02/08/10) Love is in the air in February, and children learn about love and relationships from their parents and guardians. It is important for parents, whether together or not, to model a healthy, respectful relationship because it will serve as a guide for a child’s future relationship says LSU AgCenter family development specialist Dr. Diane Sasser. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/15/10) Caladium is a brightly colored plant popularly grown in shady areas of a landscape. Most gardeners purchase caladium tubers around April, but preparing tubers in flats even earlier gives caladiums an advantage. Learn how to get a head start on planting caladiums. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/22/10) Some gardeners may think it is too early in the year to plant gladiola corms. Due to the short blooming season of gladiolas, however, planting them earlier can prolong the time we have to enjoy them. Learn how to plant gladiolas to yield maximum results. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(For Release On Or After 02/05/10) Early February is an excellent time to cut back roses growing in your landscape. Hybrid tea and grandiflora roses, in particular, should be pruned around this time every year. Otherwise, these roses tend to become leggy, less vigorous and unattractive and do not bloom as well.
(For Release On Or After 02/19/10) The tall flower spikes of gladiolus add elegance to the flower garden. Derived from species native to South Africa, the modern hybrid gladiolus grows from a corm and has been a favorite of Southern gardeners for generations.
(Video 02/01/10) Many yards look brown and dead after cold temperatures damaged tropical plants. On this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill explains that although people are upset with dead or dying tropicals, it’s important for them to find the right balance of tropicals and hardy plants when planting in their landscapes. (Runtime: 1:44)
(Audio 02/08/10) Although bare-root plants are not typically found anymore, gardeners can still purchase bare-root roses. These must be planted before the end of February while they are still dormant to ensure the best quality roses. Listen to hear more conditions required for successfully growing bare-root roses. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/01/10) Pruning roses this time of the year benefits the plant by controlling its size, making the bush shapelier and encouraging more flower growth. Learn which varieties of roses require heavier pruning. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/15/10) Despite our best efforts to accurately plant things in a suitable environment, sometimes that environment hinders the plants success. The solution is transplanting. Learn more about transplanting in order to help your plants thrive. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/01/10) Although Swiss chard is an unconventional vegetable, it is very productive and easy to grow. This member of the beet family is more popularly grown for its delicious foliage rather than its root. Hear about some great ways to plant and cook Swiss chard. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/15/10) Organic matter is generally derived from plant parts, such as weeds, sawdust, wood shavings or chips. One of the best organic materials is compost, which has been allowed to decay. Discover the benefits your flowerbeds can experience from added organic material. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/15/10) Ground covers are low-growing plants used to cover large areas of our landscape. Now is a good time to refurbish ground cover areas before new growth beings in late winter and early spring. Listen to hear which tools and methods work best for tidying up ground covers. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/08/10) Many people know that hydrangeas can change color, but most do not understand what causes this color change. Different pH levels and the availability of aluminum ions in the soil cause the plant to produce different color blossoms. Discover which factors determine which hydrangea colors. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/01/10) Although it is encouraged to move potted plants indoors during the cold winter months, people should be wary of the pests these plants may bring with them. Learn how to prevent indoor pests, such as spider mites, from spreading and causing damage to your plants. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/08/10) Louisiana gardeners grow a variety of fruit trees in their landscapes. February is a good time to prune these, but different fruit trees require different types of pruning. Hear more about how you can obtain information on pruning fruit trees. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(For Release On Or After 02/26/10) Although our lawns are still dormant this month, you can begin now to plan your strategy to have an attractive, healthy lawn this summer. Since the grass is still dormant, most lawns look relatively bad, so don’t judge yours too harshly at this point.
(Audio 02/15/10) Although most spring-flowering bulbs wait to bloom in the spring, some of Louisiana’s bulbs blossom during the wintertime. While watering and fertilizing the beds of these bulbs is often unnecessary, gardeners should keep the flower beds mulched. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/01/10) Louisiana experienced below freezing temperatures in early January which damaged tropical plants. Some tropicals should be cut back to the ground, while some should only be pruned mildly or sometimes not at all. Hear more to decide action to take with your tropical plants. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/08/10) Some gardeners are not aware that there are a number of beautiful cool-season bedding plants that can thrive in shady locations. Learn which bedding plants are the most shade-tolerant while surviving winter temperatures. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Video 02/08/10) It’s a delicate plant, but beautiful and diverse -- coming in leaf colors of green, purple, silver and burgundy. LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill introduces you to the world of the lovely cane begonia on this edition of Get It Growing. (Runtime: 1:44)
(Audio 02/22/10) Some plants like to grow in full sun while others refuse to grow in any sunlight whatsoever. One important concept for gardeners to understand is matching a plant’s light requirements to the amount of light it receives. Hear more about what is considered full sun. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/22/10) Regardless of whether you are trying to increase growth, decrease growth or reinvigorate your perennials, dividing these plants is a wonderful solution. Gardeners who are planning to divide perennials in their landscape should consider doing so during their dormancy throughout the month of February. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/01/10) Cold freezes are still a probable threat in Louisiana during February, but there are a number of winter vegetables that will survive the cold weather. Start planting cold-tolerant vegetables in your garden now to produce delicious food for the spring. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/22/10) Many people find themselves wondering if their fertilizer from several years ago is still viable for the upcoming season. Generally speaking, fertilizer does not lose its potency as long as it has been protected from moisture in the air. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Audio 02/22/10) Fire blight is a rare bacterial disease that targets plants in the landscape. Plants within the rose family are particularly susceptible to fire blight along with some fruit trees and ornamentals. Learn when and where to look for fire blight symptoms. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Video 02/22/10) It’s a beautiful flowering plant with a name that sounds like a color. We’re talking about the plant fuchsia. On this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill describes the diversity of color and style, as well as proper care for this lovely plant. (Runtime: 1:34)
(For Release On Or After 02/12/10) February weather often includes heavy and frequent rain, which reminds us that Louisiana has a relatively wet climate. Periods of drought certainly do occur, especially during the hot months of summer. But it is important for gardeners to realize that plant selection and the gardening techniques we use are largely influenced by the generous amount of annual rainfall we receive.
(Audio 02/08/10) Louisiana celebrates Arbor Day in January, but February also is a great time to plant new trees in your landscape. Planting trees this time of the year allows the plant to settle into its environment before the heat of spring and summer. Here are some tips on how to properly plant a tree. (Runtime: 60 seconds)
(Distributed 02/26/10) BENTON, La. – The No. 1 yard tree problem is damage caused by construction of new houses, according to Ricky Kilpatrick, LSU AgCenter agent in Bossier Parish.
(Distributed 02/08/10) CALHOUN, La. – Louisiana forest landowners heard about ways to improve timber, wildlife and product value from their lands at an LSU AgCenter forum recently.
(Distributed 02/22/10) New insect pest, plant disease and weed management guides for 2010 are now available from the LSU AgCenter. The price for the guides is $12 each plus 9 percent tax; shipping is free. The guides can be ordered online at www.lsuagcenter.com/onlinestore or by phoning 225-578-2263.
(Distributed 02/10/10) The Louisiana 4-H Museum is offering storytelling programs for youngsters age 3 on up on the first and third Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. each month, according to Rose Anne St. Romain, the director. On Feb. 20, the program theme will be “Favorite Things” and will include St. Romain’s dramatization of “The Old Woman and Her Pet.”
(Distributed 02/11/10) BATON ROUGE, La. – The sixth annual Louisiana Food Processors Conference is scheduled for March 17-18 at the Energy, Coast and Environment Building on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.
(Distributed 02/22/10) GONZALES, La. – Hundreds of young people from across Louisiana were named state champions during the 75th Annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show Presented by Price LeBlanc Feb. 13-20 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
(Distributed 02/26/10) The theme for National Nutrition Month this March is Nutrition From the Ground Up, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames.
(Distributed 02/25/10) DELHI, La. – Ag Adventures, an educational experience in agriculture, attracted nearly 800 students Feb. 23-24 to the Northeast District Livestock Show Barn and Civic Center here.
(Distributed 02/19/10) A safe food supply doesn’t just happen, as 28 people could tell you after attending a three-day training session on Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points, commonly called HACCP, at the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge.
(Distributed 02/03/10) Clayton Hollier, professor of plant pathology in the LSU AgCenter Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Friends of Southern IPM Thursday, Jan. 21, during the Ag Outlook conference at Alexandria.
(Distributed 02/18/10) The LSU AgCenter has been named 2009 Conservation Communicator of the Year in the 46th annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Recognition Program. This is one of several awards given by the Governor’s Office to top conservation organizations and individuals. The awards and presentation event are conducted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.
(Distributed 02/26/10) BILOXI, Miss. – Dr. Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, received the Distinguished Research and Education Award on Wednesday (Feb. 24) at an international rice conference held by the Rice Technical Working Group.
(Distributed 02/26/10) The 26th annual Ark-La-Tex Forestry Forum will be held Thursday, March 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Financial Plaza in Shreveport.
(Distributed 02/26/10) The LSU AgCenter’s Audubon Sugar Institute will present its annual sugar processing short course May 20-21 in Savannah, Ga.
(Distributed 02/11/10) With the specter of increasing foreclosures looming over the Baton Rouge area as a result of the downturn in the economy, a group of local nonprofits and their community development partners are joining together to help keep people in their homes.
HAMMOND, La. – The LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station and Tangipahoa Master Gardeners will host a stroll through the W. F. “Hody” Wilson Camellia Garden at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010, from 1-4 p.m.
(Distributed 02/20/10) The LSU AgCenter honored an outstanding volunteer leader and five 4-H and FFA members Saturday (Feb. 20) for their work with youth livestock projects. Sponsored by the Louisiana 4-H Foundation and Louisiana FFA, the annual awards were presented as part of the 75th Annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show.
(Distributed 02/23/10) GONZALES, La. – Six exceptional Louisiana youths were recognized Saturday (Feb. 20) for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as they were named winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards at the 75th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show Presented by Price LeBlanc at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center here.
(Distributed 02/08/10) LAKE CHARLES, La. – More than 800 children learned about animals and the origins of their food recently (Feb. 3-4) at Ag Adventures held in conjunction with the LSU AgCenter’s Southwest Regional Livestock Show.
(Distributed 02/09/10) WELSH, La. – U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany praised the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station for its innovations that could make U.S. products more competitive.
(Distributed 02/15/10) ALEXANDRIA, La. – The Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association inducted Dr. Ben Legendre, LSU AgCenter sugarcane scientist, into the Agricultural Hall of Fame during the organization’s annual conference recently (Feb. 10-12).
(Distributed 02/02/10) Abner Hammond, professor of entomology at the LSU AgCenter, has been honored with the 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award from the National Sweet Potato Research Council. This award is given for long-term and distinguished service to the sweet potato industry. Hammond specializes in management of sweet potato insect pests, especially the sweet potato weevil.
(Distributed 02/10/10) Camellia enthusiasts are invited to “Camellia Morning and Tutorium at Burden” on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 9 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge.
(Distributed 02/03/10) ALEXANDRIA, La. – El Niño is back, and Louisiana farmers – especially those in the southern part of the state – could be looking at a wet planting season, according to Jay Grymes, LSU AgCenter climatologist.
(Distributed 02/11/10) SHREVEPORT, La. – The LSU AgCenter will conduct a seminar for commercial fruit and vegetable growers Saturday, Mar. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Caddo Parish extension office, 2408 E. 70th St. in Shreveport.