Monday, June 30, 2014

Clover Camp

            The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office is hosting a Clover Kid Day Camp on Tuesdays this summer. Join us as we learn about 4-H and projects through hands on activities! Projects include clothing & textiles, food & nutrition, bullying, gardening, recycling, water and the list goes on! The cost is $15 per session or $35 for all three sessions! The Clover Kid Day Camp is open to ALL youth entering kindergarten – 2nd grade and will be held from 1:30p -4p on the Tuesdays listed below.
Clover Day Camp Schedule
July 29
August 5
August 12

            Contact the Extension office at 940.627.3341 to sign up for Clover Kid Day Camp. Pre-registration is due on Friday before each session!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Many Reasons for Illness in Trees

When people see a sick tree, they often think that some sort of disease is causing the illness. Actually, a majority of the problems causing trees and shrubs to look sick stem from stress or physical injury rather than disease.        A common symptom of stress or injury is marginal leaf burn, or leaves fringed by dead tissue. This has been a common problem with numerous species of trees and shrubs this summer. Marginal leaf burns are seldom caused by leaf disease, which usually shows up as random lesions (dead areas) scattered about the leaf. Leaf burn occurs at the leaf tip or along the leaf margin because salts (plant nutrients) accumulated along leaf margins. Anything that causes the plant to pump insufficient water (stress) can result in a toxic burn of this tissue because it contains the highest level of salt.

Stress symptoms ranging from leaf burns to limb die back or tree death can result from numerous causes. Drought is the most obvious cause of stress due to the record setting drought we are experiencing that began around 1996, but intensified since 2011. The extremely dry weather, coupled with the heat of June and early July, may cause some serious problems for some homeowners. Large trees show responses to stress more slowly, some of the marginal burns now being observed relate to last summer. High temperatures cause plants to pump more water and simply compound drought problems. As temperatures exceed 100° F, water loss by some trees and shrubs can equal or exceed the ability of the roots to supply water, even when the soil moisture is not deficient. I expect we will continue to see some problems with trees and other landscape plants until we receive some significant rainfall.

Because of extreme Texas temperatures each summer, freeze injury is often overlooked, yet it is one of the most common and damaging causes of stress. Remember, we experienced temperatures in the teens this past December and winter. Direct injury to twigs and limbs is usually fairly evident, and the damaged wood can be pruned. Often the injury is more subtle, occurring on a portion of the trunk with no immediate or noticeable effect on the entire tree or shrub.

Thick bark sometimes remains intact, hiding trunk freeze injury for well more than a year. Probing the bark on the lower 3 feet of the trunk with a screwdriver or tapping with a mallet (listen for hollow sound) will usually reveal hidden freeze injury if it is present.

Just as drought causes trees to stress, so does excess water. Tree roots need oxygen in order to function properly, so roots that are waterlogged lose their ability to take up water. It can take several years for a seriously injured root system to be regenerated.

In recent years, numerous trees growing in poorly drained soil have been killed or damaged following periods of heavy rainfall. Trees with damaged roots systems are vulnerable to summer droughts and heat stress. Be sure to deeply water your landscape trees as we continue into what are normally the driest months of the year.

For more information please call the Wise County Extension office 940-627-3341.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Do It Yourself Mondays Day Camp

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office is hosting a Do It Yourself Day Camp on Mondays this summer. Join us as we create new treasures by recycling old, get our hands dirty while gardening, experience life as a robotic and rocket engineer, and create culinary masterpieces in the Kitchen! The cost is $15 per session or $50 for all four sessions! The D.I.Y Monday Day Camp is open to ALL youth ages 8-12 and will be held from 1p -5p on the Mondays listed below. 

D.I.Y  Mondays Day Camp Schedule
June 30 – Rocketry & Robotics
July 14– Upcycle, ReFashion
July 28 – Junior Master Gardeners & Recycling
August 11 – Chef Camp

Contact the Extension office at 940.627.3341 to sign up for D.I.Y. Camp. Pre-registration is due on Friday before each session!

Better Beverage Plan : Choose Calories Carefully

When we think about how many calories we are consuming, we sometimes leave out the calories that we consume as beverages. There is some evidence that the body does not respond to calories in beverages the same way it does to calorie in food. Your body may not register the calories you drink, so you could end up consuming more calories than you need. Several research studies point to decreasing sugar-sweetened beverages as a good strategy to decrease calories and help manage body weight. Making some simple changes in the beverages you choose can make a big difference.
It is important to “Know the 3 “C’s when it comes to beverages— Choosing Calories Carefully can help people cut out calories to achieve their health goals.”
 Staying hydrated is essential for life, but not all beverages are created equal. Some fluids contain calories while others do not. When someone follows a healthy eating plan, he/she does not need to rely on drinks for energy needs. Non-caloric drinks include: water, tea, coffee and/or some diet drinks.
Any drink with added calorie-containing sweeteners is labeled sugar- sweetened. Sugar-sweetened drinks include: soft drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened- coffee drinks, smoothies, flavored teas and other contain sugar in ingredients listing on the label. If sugar is listed first through third or fourth on the label, then means sugar is the most prominent ingredient in that drink.
Research shows that people who drink more sugar-sweetened beverages before a meal tend to eat more calories than those who drink much less sugar-sweetened beverages both before and during the meal. So, what’s the big concern?  People—unaware that they may need to eat less— can drink more calories during their meals, ultimately leading to weight gain.
Another good research example of the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages is that people who cut out calories from drinks lost more weight than those who cut out the same amount of calories from solid foods. When someone is trying to lose weight, cutting back on soft drinks and specialty drinks such as lattes and smoothies could be the best way to go.
Specialty coffee drinks are a favorite “pick-me-up”, but they often have high amounts of sugar and calories. Many food establishments   offer to make lattes with different types of milk:
Although smoothies can be a good way to add fruit to an eating plan, sometimes they supply a lot of extra calories. Be sure to watch the size of the smoothie.  Sixteen ounces, which may be the smallest available, could add as many as 270 calories.
 Soft drinks provide calories, too. Choosing diet drinks can help cut calories.
            Americans should get most of their daily fluids from water, then from tea, coffee, and low-fat milk.
Water is essential for metabolism and other important body functions. Tea and coffee provide no calories and have been linked with several health benefits. Select low-fat milk products which are a great source of calcium, vitamin D, and high quality protein and whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and fruit juices.
In summary, Use the 3 “C’s” when it comes to beverages— Choosing Calories Carefully can help people cut out calories to achieve their health goals.”
• Go for low-fat or fat-free creams and milk products to add to coffee and tea
• Choose reduced-sugar and reduced-fat syrups and flavorings
• Buy smaller portions of the drinks you love or split a drink with a friend
• Make smoothies at home using low-fat milk
• Sweeten your favorite drinks with artificial (non-caloric) sweeteners.

For more information on Choosing Calories Carefully call the Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Apparently we’ve had another favorable year for grasshoppers to hatch and develop.  Egg hatching began in February and will probably continue through June in the North Texas counties.  However, populations do appear to be spotty across Wise County.  If left untreated grasshoppers can cause severe damage to pastures in a short amount of time.  Entomologists with Texas A & M usually advise to treat when you can count 15-20 grasshoppers per square yard.

Watch for grasshoppers in your pastures and home landscapes where they will feed on shrubs, flowers, and grasses.  If you’ve treated for grasshoppers in the past, you realize the importance of treating while they are small to prevent treating the adults later in the season.  Once they become adults, they are able to migrate, making control much more difficult.

There are a number of products labeled for grasshopper control in pastures.
  • Prevathon by DuPont.  Safe, no signal word on the label.  Effective, has significant residual effects on grasshoppers and fall armyworms both.  No pesticide applicators license required.  No haying or grazing restrictions and only a 4-hour re-entry interval after application.
  • Malathion will provide a quick kill, but offers no residual effects
  • Sevin 805 will control grasshoppers and has some residual control for grasshoppers migrating into an area.  
  • Mustang Max is another good option for forages and hay production. Be sure to read the label for grazing and haying restrictions. Good coverage is a must to achieve effective results; apply 12-15 gallons of water per acre to guarantee good coverage.
For home owners a carbaryl bait may be an option. The following recipe has provided good results in orchards, fence rows, and around home landscapes.
            1.         19 pounds of wheat bran
            2.         One quart of Sevin XLR          
            3.         One gallon of molasses
            4.         Sufficient water to make a moist mash
            5.         Mix with rubber gloves
            6.         Spread mixture in 2 to 3 table spoon clumps
            7.         Apply bait to open areas (grasshoppers won’t be able to find the bait in tall grass or                     weeds)
            8.         Start applying bait when nymphs (young wingless grasshoppers) are observed

For more information please call the Wise County Extension office at 627-3341.