It always feels like July 4th is the peak of summer and when those hot summer days seem to kick off. In fact the longest day of the year is the summer solstice which falls in late June, and the days gradually get shorter from there. Many long day flowering plants will flower or “bolt” around this time. One that I saw most recently was lettuce. Lettuce is a long day plant that when exposed to darkness for periods of eleven hours or less will flower or bolt. Unfortunately lettuce was never bred for its flower and the bolting causes chemical changes in the plant and it is accompanied by a bitter taste in the leaves. I know that read kind of funny. Even though the plant is called a “long day plant” the transition to flowering is dictated by the shortened period of darkness that comes with the longer days. So that’s how the long day plants work, they need eleven hours of darkness or less. So when the days become thirteen hours or longer these plants will start flowering due to the shortened dark periods.
Weeds are also tied to the day lengths and temperatures to transition to flower. There is a reason why allergies fall at certain times of the year. As stated earlier some long day plants are flowering now. One of these examples is the Giant Ragweed.
Giant Ragweed is a summer annual that can grow up to seven feet tall or greater. Giant ragweed is a monoecious plant, much like corn. Giant Ragweed produces separate male and female flowers on the same plant. It flowers in racemes that hold a cluster of small flowers. The male flowers that produce pollen are on top while the female flowers are located at the base of the raceme. This is a strategy that many monoecious plants take. Corn tassels are also the male flowers which are located on top to increase the chances of pollination.
Common Burdock is another weed that is flowering now.
The Burdock flower looks a lot like the thistle flower but the plant has a very large broad leaves at the base. The leaves can grow to be almost 2 feet long and can be over a foot wide. When this flower is fertilized it produces a bur type fruit that will attach to clothes and hair.
Wild carrot is also flowering at this time; this plant is sometimes known as Queen Anne’s lace.
The flowers are white and set up as an umbel. An umbel is a cluster of flowers that have a single attachment point. It produces a round flat cluster of flowers that are known to attract butterflies. I have heard it being referred to as a “helicopter pad” for butterflies…
One of the best ways to identify plants is to do it during flowering times. When a plant flowers will give you a lot of information as to its identity, and many plant keys will require the flower to be utilized in its identification.
Plans are finalized for the 16th Ag and Livestock Field Day in Morgan County. This year I am pleased to announce that our host farm will be Wiseman Livestock farm, home of Russ, Dee and Austin Wiseman. The field day will be on Monday, August 8, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and our headquarters will be at 2262 Newlon Rd, Malta (from Malta, take SR 37 west 7.2 miles to CR 39, Newlon Rd, and proceed two miles on CR 39 to the location, signs will be posted). We will begin with a tour of hay and crop fields, and discuss new seedings, rotations and fields being put into production. We will then view a silage bagger, a bale slicer round baler with sliced bales to view. We will then have a TMR feed mixer demonstration, and Perry Owen, nutritionist from Hubbard Feeds will provide tips for developing feed rations for our operations. Next, we will tour the feedlot/ background lot where they have up to 800 head of cattle per year. Finally, we will finish up the tour with a demonstration of an in-line bale wrapper.
After supper, Dr. Lyda Garcia, OSU Meat Science Assistant Professor will provide a program on Quality & Adding Value to Your Cows. She will discuss quality and grading standards, adding value to your cull cows, potential feed alternatives and what does quality mean to you? She will also be very interested in answering your questions. We will also have updates from Morgan Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency. We will finish up with my annual Ag Outlook and the forecast for ag prices for the upcoming year. The program is sponsored by OSU Extension, Morgan SWCD, NRCS, and many other local businesses and organizations. The program is free and open to the public but reservations need to be made to the OSU Extension office at 740-962-4854 by August 5th.