Friday, April 19, 2013

Army Worm Invasion

Wise County Ag. Producers and homeowners should be checking their small grain and coastal bermuda grass pastures, and home landscapes for armyworm invasions.  The recent rains in the area encouraged growth of bermuda grass and weeds, making it very attractive for the egg-laying moths and hungry armyworm larvae. It is usually this time of year that I start getting reports about armyworm outbreaks.  Producers and homeowners should be checking pastures and landscapes on a regular basis. In addition to feeding on coastal pastures, they can also be a major problem in home lawns, so be on the lookout. If you sense that you have a problem, but aren’t sure, give me a call at the Extension office and I’ll be glad to help.
             The fall armyworm is the most common species we hear about, whereas the true armyworm occurs in the spring which is what we are facing now. The armyworm moth has a wing span of about 1 ½ inches and is dark grey with white markings on the wings.  Eggs are laid in masses of 50 to several hundred on grass leaves. Egg masses are covered with grey scales from the female’s body.  Eggs hatch in about 3-5 days. Larvae vary in color from pale green to almost black.  The life cycle from egg to adult requires about 4 weeks, depending upon temperature.
            The armyworm is attacked by several species of parasitic wasps and flies which help keep armyworm numbers low.  These beneficials are apparently less effective during cool, rainy weather, allowing armyworms to increase. Also, armyworm moths can fly long distance and quickly increase before natural enemies can “catch up”. The result is an armyworm outbreak. Generally, 3-4 armyworms per square foot warrant treatment depending upon crop condition. Young worms are more susceptible to insecticides. It is estimated that 80 percent of the crop damage occurs in the last 3-4 days of the army worm’s life. For this reason, damage seems to occur almost overnight. Sevin 80S, Sevin XLR , Lorsban and Mustang Max are just a few insecticides labeled for controlling  armyworms.  Some products do have a waiting period from application to harvest so be sure to read and follow the directions on the label. 
            Please check out our Wise County, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Facebook page!/TX.agrilife.wise.county  for additional information and facts about the armyworm and a full list of insecticides available for control in pastures and landscapes.
 Here is a great link for homeowners called

TEEA Conference Results

Seven Wise County Extension Education members represented Wise County at the District 3 TEEA Conference Tuesday, April 16 in Mineral Wells. Those attending were Dixie Range, Rosa Martinez, Gerry Galloway, Janice Millican, Bobbie Ashley, Marilynn Collins and Linda Hood.   Activities focused on a speaker, silent auctions, and a cultural arts contest. Carol Clark Montgomery director of Clark Gardens shared the history and information on Clark Gardens which is located just outside Mineral Wells.
The purpose of the cultural arts contest is to establish a broader understanding and awareness of arts and to envision individual growth, inspiration, and enrichment through participation in varied forms of art.  Wise County winners included: Marilynn Collins-1st with her Christmas Table Topper. As a result of her win, Marilynn will be representing Wise County at the State Cultural Arts competition in September.  She also received  2nd place with her Quilt larger than 50X70, and 2nd in the miscellaneous category with placemats. Gerry Galloway- 2nd place in the Garments and Accessories-handmade category with her machine embroidery pocket purse and Janice Millican received 3rd place in the Holiday Decoration category with her patriotic wreath.
The mission of the Texas Extension Education Association is to work with Texas AgriLife Extension Service to strengthen and enrich families through educational programs, leadership development and community service. Membership is open to adult Wise County residents regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability, or nationality. You are encouraged to visit the Greenwood Extension Education Club in the community of Greenwood as they meet every fourth Friday, 11 am at the Greenwood Fire Hall.
For more information on the Texas Extension Education Association, call the Extension office at 627-3341.

Walk Across Texas Update!!!

Fifteen teams are participating in Wise County Extension’s “Walk Across Texas”.  Walk Across Texas” is an eight week, fun and fitness program for teams of up to eight people.  The teams have a friendly competition to see who can log the most miles walking, jogging, biking, spinning, treadmill, swimming, or other physical activities.  The purpose of the program is to have every person who participates take home a healthy habit - walking for fitness.

Our 2013 teams have really been busy - so how are they doing after week five? As a county group we are more than a third of the way of walking around the world.  As of April 11, 2013 walkers have logged 9921 miles. 

The top ten teams and team captains are as follows: Greenwood Hoofers 2013, Janice Millican- 1172 miles; Justice Junkies, Sendy Reynolds-1133 miles; The Youngsters, Amy White -1124 miles; School of Walk, Ronda Smith - 1108 miles; Crazy Eights, Linda Arrington - 1011 miles; Eager to Exercise, Dixie Range - 773 miles; Movin n Groovin, Dana Wood - 675 miles;  Wise County 4-H, Morgan Barnes - 648 miles; Tornados, Belinda Sherman - 636 miles; City of Decatur, Jennifer Dorsett - 483 miles; and Teacher and School teams from Paradise ISD Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades-1170 miles.

The top three individuals  so far are Kevin Benton with 399 miles; Gloria Robbins with 299 miles; and Julie Greenfield with 283 miles.
To view all  teams and their mileage logs go to then under quick links click on ‘See Your Progress’ and proceed through to Wise County2013 mileage.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mare Foal Clinic

There will be a Mare/Foal Clinic conducted for horse owners in our area sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Wise County Horse Committee.  The meeting will be conducted at AGVantage Farm and Ranch located at 1817 N. US HWY 287, Decatur, Texas.  Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 2:00 p.m.
We are fortunate to have Dr. Dennis Sigler, Professor and Extension Horse Specialist and Dr. Clay Cavinder, Extension Horse Specialist, both are with Texas A&M Texas AgriLife Extension Service as speakers for the event.  Topics for the day will be: Broodmare Nutrition and Feeding Management, Getting the Mare Ready to Breed, Foaling Time is Here – Now What, Nutrition & Management of Young Growing Horses and Herd Health Care.
The meal will be sponsored by AGVantage and Purina Mills.  For more information and to register for the clinic, please call 940-627-3341 or come by the Wise County Extension Office at 206 S. State St., Decatur.  Cost for the Mare/Foal Clinic will be $20 per person.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fun Run at Health Fair

Time to dust off your running shoes! Please make sure to share with friends and Family!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Did the Freeze get your plants?

As you know, Sunday and Monday night of this week our temperatures dropped below freezing.  One challenge you can always add to the list of gardening challenges is a late freeze. It doesn’t happen every year, but occasionally we have a late freeze come in that can cause damage to landscape plants, vegetable plants and trees. Some things can be done to warm season crops to minimize freeze injury, such as watering well before a freeze, covering plants with row covers or other material (you must drape the covers to include the soil around the plant) and/or mulch plants and beds to help insulate the soil. These strategies can help with mild freezing temperatures or frost events, but sometimes temperatures drop low enough that we have no control over Mother Nature and what happens to our plants.

We all know that freezing temperatures can kill or damage plants but what is really taking place? All plants have water inside the tissue cells. When we have freezing temperatures, the moisture inside the plant tissue freezes, creating ice crystals. The crystals pierce the plant tissue and damage the cell walls. As the ice begins to melt, the fluid in the cells leak out and the tissue will turn to mush as it begins to dry out. The first sign of freeze damage will be plant leaves turning dark. They will appear almost black, and then turn to a brown color and dry up.

When we talk about frost on plants, things can get a little more confusing. First damage begins on the exterior of the plant. As the air temperature begins to drop, the plants begin to radiate heat and create water vapors on the outside of the plant. As the temperature drops, the water vapors freeze, forming frost on the exterior of the plant. Often times I am asked, “Can you have a frost without having a freeze?” The answer to that is yes and no. When temperatures begin to drop, solid surfaces will lose heat faster than air. An example is your vehicle windshield. Often times you may see frost on it and not on anything else. This is because as the air temperature began to drop, the windshield started radiating its heat away, causing the temperature on the glass to drop faster than the air temperature, and therefore frosting up. Plants will do the same thing. Since the plants loose heat as the air temperatures drop, the plant surface can be a few degrees lower than the air temperature around it. This means that air temperatures can drop close to freezing and the plants themselves are below freezing, creating frost to form on the plant surface without the air temperature truly dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So what does all that mean? When you have frost on your plants, there was a freeze at the plant surface, but the actual air temperature may not have dropped below freezing. To help avoid frost, you can place anything over the plant that will help radiate the heat back down towards the plant, such as row covers, buckets, milk jugs, etc. This will force heat back towards the plant helping reduce the chance of freezing on the plant surface. Next time you have a frost, look around you probably won’t see frost forming under your porch, under trees and shrubs and other protected places.

Frost damage will usually occur on still, clear nights when temperatures drop near or just below freezing for a short period of time. Freeze damage is usually more extensive and caused by lower freezing temperatures for longer periods of time.