Hopefully everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. I had an opportunity to catch up with some college friends that were back in the state for the holiday. A couple of the guys came in from Nebraska and South Dakota, and as expected, the story is the same out there as far as being excessively wet and crops are delayed in maturity.
Here locally, farm operations were extremely busy until we got some rain around the holiday. With the large number of unplanted acres and rapidly growing crops, weed control is a priority for many farmers. As there are a lot of large weeds in fields in unplanted, it is recommended to get those fields sprayed with a higher rate of herbicide that we would typically use. An herbicide program is still the best option for weed control. Other options for prevented plant acres include deep tillage and mowing. Tillage options are two passes with a heavy disk or to moldboard plow. Mowing will require likely three, maybe four passes over the growing season for complete control. If you have questions regarding weed control in a field, lawn, or garden don’t hesitate to call.
Also, this is a good time for an annual reminder as herbicide applications are being made for how to handle the issue of pesticide drift. If there is an instance of pesticide drift in the county you can call our office, but the Ohio Department of Agriculture is the regulatory agency that will conduct any complaint investigation. Herbicide drift is a great example where communicating with your farm neighbor next door is important.
Finally around the lawn, this is the time of the year that you may notice apple and pear trees having whole branches dying. This is a nasty disease called fireblight. Leafy twigs will wilt from the tips down, turn black and die. Quite often a bend will develop at the tip of the twig. Once you see it, what can you do? Once it stops spreading, prune out and destroy (burning is the best option) the infected twigs at least twelve inches below the infection. After each cut, disinfect the pruner (I recommend one part bleach to eight parts water). Next spring, apply a protective spray of basic copper sulfate soon after bud break, when about ¼ inch of green tip is showing.
If considering planting trees or shrubs in the future, apple, crabapple, cotoneaster, plum, cherry, flowering quince, hawthorn, loquat, mountain ash, phontinia, rose, serviceberry, spirea, quince and raspberry are all susceptible to this disease. This is one of the most destructive diseases to these plants, so if you are considering planting one of these plants, look for varieties that are resistant to this disease. I’ll end this week with a quote from Allen Klein: “You may not be able to change a situation, but with humor you can change your attitude about it.” Have a great week.
Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator
OSU Henry County Extension