From Across the Field – Taste of Fall 10/10/2019

It has been a busy week here in the office as we have for the most part relocated back to the third floor. The new flooring and paint have really spruced things up and the front part of the office looks almost unrecognizable.

Aside from the hustle and bustle in the Hahn Center, last Friday I had the opportunity to speak at a sheep and goat workshop at Wilmington College, where we fabricated a goat carcass into retail cuts for the audience. On Saturday I watched the Buckeye Game in the ‘Shoe with an uncle, and then on Sunday took in a day at Ohio’s last county fair in Fairfield County.

My father is a Fairfield county native, so we usually take in the first Sunday of the fair (he returns for sale day). One of my favorite treats of the year is an apple cider slushie from one of the local orchards. There is just something refreshing about ice cold apple cider, at least the first glass or two.

Another sign of fall, we also completed the annual soybean weeds survey where we take inventory of weed conditions in soybean fields across the county. As expected, this year was a particularly difficult one with regards to weed control once crops were planted.

On a route with 106 fields observed, accounting for 4,890 acres marestail was the most predominant weed, appearing 39% of fields. Following marestail in prevalence were giant ragweed (30%), grass/foxtail (26%), and volunteer corn (19%). On the flip side 33% of fields were weed free down from 41% a year ago. Other weeds observed include lambsquarters, velvetleaf, redroot pigweeds, common ragweed, and perhaps most concerning waterhemp (6%).

The water hemp infestations, though few, were severe in scale. This is a concern due to waterhemp potentially being resistant to six classes of herbicides. Furthermore, the plants were discovered in two separate locations of the county suggesting that the seed was spread from two different sources. If anyone suspects that they have waterhemp in a field let me know and we can send samples to the University of Illinois to have them tested for herbicide resistance.

Finally, we are at the time of year where there is a 50% chance of a killing frost and if you have not done so, it’s time to start thinking about moving houseplants back inside. This should ideally be done over a two-week period. Moving your plants in shadier and shadier conditions is best so when they are finally brought inside to stay, they will not lose all the new growth they have made over the summer months.

It is also a good time to check and see if any of them need repotted. This project is easiest if done outside to keep down the mess. A new pot should be only one or two sizes bigger than the old one.  Select pots with good drainage to prevent root rot during the winter months.

Some yellowing of leaves and leaf drop may occur as the plants adjust to lower light levels in the home. If a significant number of leaves yellow, move the plants into brighter conditions. Cut back on the frequency of watering, but water thoroughly. Discontinue fertilizing until spring, but plants that need lower light such as African Violets can be fertilized during the winter months if they are receiving adequate light. I’ll end this week with a quote from Milton Berle: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Have a great week.

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