Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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 dieback or tree death can result from numerous causes. Drought is the most obvious cause of stress.  This year we have had both extremely wet spring and in some cases excessive and the last most extremely dry drought conditions.  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. 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.

Breakfast Builds Better Bodies

It’s that time of year again! School time!  I hope that everyone’s year got off to an exciting start. Being sure to take time to enjoy a nutritional breakfast is one of the ways that children and parents alike can keep that high level of enthusiasm throughout the school year or even just a regular work week.
Breakfast has been dubbed the “most important meal of the day”.  However, breakfast is the most commonly missed meal of the day.  Recent research suggests that children who eat breakfast are more likely to have healthful nutrition behaviors and make healthy food choices such as eating more fruits and vegetables than those who do not eat breakfast.  While breakfast is also important for academic performance and may help with maintenance of a healthy weight, fewer United States youth are eating breakfast.  Here are a few ways you can make breakfast a part of your family’s daily routine.
First, be sure that as the parent you set a good example and eat a healthy breakfast every day.  Parents serve as role models for healthy eating behaviors to their children. Hopefully, eating breakfast can be a family activity.
Like any meal, breakfast takes planning.  Build your breakfast by picking two-three different food groups from USDA’s ChooseMyPlat.gov. Great choices might be low-fat milk, whole-grain cereal and a fruit or vegetable.  Prepare for breakfast as much as you can the night before.  This might include slicing fruit, mixing frozen juice, or chopping veggies for an omelet. Stock your kitchen with healthy breakfast options such as milk, juice, yogurt, fruit, whole grain cereals and breads, or hot cereals such as oatmeal and grits.
Your children may also need a few minutes after waking up before they are ready to eat breakfast.  Even though this means you are up earlier, you and your children will feel better.  You will have energy to start your day and will enjoy time together as a family before leaving the house for work and school.
Some ideas for a healthy breakfast include peanut butter on whole wheat toast, low-fat yogurt with granola, toasted waffles with fruit, bagels with cheese, grits, hard boiled eggs, or oatmeal with dried fruit or nuts. You might also try something unconventional such as rice and beans with fruit or a grilled cheese sandwich.  Just remember, breakfast matters!
To learn more about healthy breakfast options, join us for the Dinner Tonight Healthy Cooking School, scheduled for Thursday September 1, 6-8pm at Weatherford College Wise County Campus. Rachel Adams, Registered Dietician will be kicking off the evening by demonstrating her family’s favorite breakfast choices.  Contact Wise County’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office for more information and to register for the event. Space is limited.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Healthy Cooking School Scheduled

Grab your friends and join us for food and fun at the Dinner Tonight Healthy Cooking School, which is hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Dinner Tonight Planning Coalition. The event which focuses on “Fast, Fresh and Fabulous Meals for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” is scheduled for Thursday, September 1, in the Lecture Hall of Weatherford College, Wise County,  located at 5180 Highway 380.
The cooking school begins at 6 pm and concludes around 8 pm.   Dinner Tonight will feature demonstrations of easy and nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Busy moms and dads are encouraged to take advantage of the cooking school to gain new ideas. The eat-at-home aspect of Dinner Tonight reinforces research, which shows children who sit down to regular family meals consume more fruits, vegetables and fiber, as well as tend to perform better academically.
The registration fee is $20 per person in advance: which includes a cookbook consisting of additional menus and recipes; recipe samples; goody bags; and door prizes.  Please call the Extension office at 940/627-3341 to reserve your spot. Space is limited.
Food demonstrations will be conducted by local experts and door prizes will be given throughout the event with the grand door prize being a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer donated by First Financial Bank.
We are targeting busy people who still want to make time for meal preparation and feel good about what they are feeding themselves and their family.  Our goals are to promote family mealtime, teach families healthy meal planning and food preparation techniques, and promote Texas Agriculture.
Sponsors of the Cooking School include: Texas Beef Council, First Financial Bank, Weatherford College, Wise Health System, Fit-N-Wise, FIT Y.O.U.T.H and Brookshire’s.
For additional information, contact the Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Finding and Evaluating Online Resources

Have you ever wondered about the validity of the online medical information that you access? The number of Web sites offering health-related resources—including information about complementary health approaches (often called complementary and alternative medicine)—grows every day. Social media sites have also become an important source of online health information for some people. Many online health resources are useful, but others may present information that is inaccurate or misleading, so it’s important to find sources you can trust and to know how to evaluate their content. The following information provides help for finding reliable Web sites and outlines things to consider in evaluating health information from Web sites and social media sources.
Not all online health information is accurate. Be cautious. If you’re visiting a health Web site for the first time, these five quick questions can help you decide whether the site is a helpful resource.
Who? Who runs the Web site? Can you trust them?
What? What does the site say? Do its claims seem too good to be true?
When? When was the information posted or reviewed? Is it up-to-date?
Where? Where did the information come from? Is it based on scientific research?
Why? Why does the site exist? Is it selling something?
Don’t rely exclusively on online resources when making decisions about your health. If you’re considering a complementary health approach, discuss it with your health care provider. You can also find accurate health information quickly and easily if you start with one of these organized collections of high-quality, up-to-date resources:
  • MedlinePlus, sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • healthfinder.gov, sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If you’re specifically looking for information about complementary health approaches:
For additional information concerning evaluation of online resources contact the Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Wise County Hay Show

With hay on every corner, producers need to take every opportunity to market their hay to potential customers.  Forages for hay production will continue to rank at the top in terms of agriculture income for crops in Wise County.  Therefore, with the high costs of production it is more important to put up a high quality bale of hay in order to make each trip across the field count.

The Wise County Hay Show and hay production clinic scheduled for Thursday, September 8 at the Wise County Fair Grounds.  Dr. Larry Redmon, State Forage Specialist, will be the official of the Hay Show and will be the speaker for the educational presentation.  Dr. Redmon will also discuss overall results of the forage quality and forage management.  Specialists from John Deere and Ford New Holland, Kubota and Case  will discuss and demonstrate operator techniques with new equipment and how that affects bale quality of the forage you are growing.  The program is set to begin with registration from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.  The registration fee is free.   Lunch will be provided by McMaster , Ag Power, Zimmerer Kubota and Hendershot Equipment.  You will receive 2 CEU’s for renewal of your pesticide applicator license.

Following lunch, we will auction the hay entries that have been provided by the hay show participants to benefit the youth participating in the Wise County Youth Fair.  
I encourage all hay producers to participate in the Wise County Hay Show.

Wise County Hay Show Rules    
Official entry forms and hay samples will be received at the Wise County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (206 S. State Street in Decatur) until August 24th.   If you need a core sampler to pull your samples, we have one available at the Extension office.

Entry Fee $20 per sample (Entry Fee Includes the Lab Fee for hay analysis).
Producers may enter a maximum of 2 entries per category.

            Categories:      1) Warm Season Perennial Grasses (Cuttings)
2) Cool Season Annual Grasses
                        3) Warm Season Annual Grasses
4) Warm or Cool Legumes
Hay will be judged and ranked in each category.  Hay will be judged by chemical score as follows:   
% crude protein + (100 - % ADF). EXAMPLE: 20% crude protein hay with 25% ADF = 20 + (100 – 25) = 95

Hay entered in the Wise County Hay Show must have been produced in Wise County or by a producer who lives in Wise County.
Hay Show results will be announced at the Hay Program and Lunch on September 3rd.
September 1st - 3rd each exhibitor is encouraged to deliver a representative sample of each entry the exhibitor enters. By displaying the entries, it will enhance the educational process of the Hay Show and Forage Program. We are asking that each producer donate at least one bale (one small square bale or one large round bale) to the Wise County Livestock & Forage Committee to be auctioned off during the lunch.  All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Wise County Youth Fair.
Please contact the Extension office at 627-3341 by 12:00 pm by Tuesday, September 1 to pre-register so we will have an accurate meal count.