Summer annual forages
Soil temperatures have reached 70 degrees F. If a summer annual forage is in your plans, its time to plant.
What is the correct choice for your operation? Your choices are numerous--forage sorghums, sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, hybrid pearl millet, and foxtail millet. What you decide depends on the needs of your individual operation. To sort through the numerous summer annual forage characteristics, request a copy of MF-2871--Summer Annual Forages: Selection and Production Characteristics from your District Extension Office. 2008 Summer Annual Forage plot results are available as well.
Summer annual forages will require 40 to 50 pounds of actual N per acre per ton of expected dry matter. Split applications (half before planting--half after the first cutting or four weeks after starting grazing) to provide better nutrient distribution and reduce potential for nitrate or prussic acid toxicity. Apply phosphorus and lime as needed.
Rapidly growing summer annual forages tend to compete well with emerging weeds, so weed control is seldom needed. A pre-plant burndown may be beneficial. Atrazine may be a possibility as well. Insect pressure likely won't be a concern unless chinch bugs require spraying when summer annual forages are planted in to wheat stubble. Follow label directions carefully. Before making your choice, check out MF-2871 and last summer's results.
When good trees go bad
Its been quite a spring for tree decline--and it may not be over yet.
While trees do indeed suffer from treatable disease and insect pressures, they also suffer from a lot of things that require no treatment at all. Anthracnose is a disease we usually don't treat for, while bagworms are an insect we can't ignore. How do you go about determining whether its cause for concern?
First, remember that trees can really get hammered by disease or insect pressure early in the season, and still be just fine. In some cases, we can even defoliate healthy trees and they will leaf back out showing little effect at all. Hopefully that will ease your mind a little.
Next get started looking for symptoms. Insect damage is usually in the form of holes of consistent size and shape, windowpaning, or complete leaf defoliation/feeding. Diseases will tend to show themselves as raised fungal type growths or irregular holes and tears in the leaves. Environmental stresses may show few, if any, symptoms, simply showing leaf loss, scorch, or general decline. Sometimes they do indeed manifest themselves similarly, but with a little investigation you can usually narrow things down.
After you've determined whether its disease, insect, or environmental, you can further narrow things down based upon the numerous resources at your District Extension Office. In many cases a digital image or simple description via e-mail or over the phone can do it. The important thing is to get a diagnosis so that proper treatment--if needed--can be implemented.
Trees don't grow to maturity over night or without proper care. Make sure yours are well taken care of to provide you with shade and shelter for years to come.