Spring Q&A

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Excellent questions came into the Caldwell Extension Center this week. Below are three questions and answers I’d like to share. As always, if you have a specific question, please contact the Caldwell Extension Center for assistance.

Question: Is it okay to pour pesticides down the drain?

Answer: No, pesticides should not be disposed of down the drain. The main reason is it is potentially hazardous to put poison in the drain. Pouring pesticides down the drain is also illegal.

I’m frugal and don’t like the thought of pouring money down the drain. If I paid for pesticides then poured it down the drain, I’m really putting my hard earned money down the drain.

If you have pesticides you no longer want or you are unsure about it, we are having a pesticide collection day on Thursday, March 23 from 10 am to 2 pm. The collection will be in the lower parking lot of the Caldwell Agricultural Center / Public Library in Lenoir. The address is 120 Hospital Ave NE, Lenoir.

If you have questions about this collection day, please call the Caldwell Extension Center at 828-757-1290.

Question: Is spring coming earlier this year?

Answer: Punxsutawney Phil predicted a longer winter this year, but the daffodils are telling a different story. Observing the signs of spring is known as phenology. The word phenology is derived from a Greek word that means “to show, make appear, or bring to light”.

In the 1950s, the US Department of Agriculture sponsored a phenology observation network designed to characterize seasonal weather patterns. Blooms of common purple lilacs were used to track seasonal changes. This project has grown over the past sixty years to become the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN).

The USA-NPN uses professional and amature observers to collect information about plants, insects, and animals as it relates to the seasons. This information is important to understand climate. Their website https://www.usanpn.org is a great way to access historical data, current observations, and even get involved.

Currently Caldwell County is about nine days ahead of a normal spring.

cherry blossom.

A cherry blossom at the Caldwell Agricultural Center popped out 9 days earlier than a normal spring.

However, our neighbors farther west in Buncombe and Henderson Counties are 20 days ahead of average spring blooming schedule.

Question: Last fall, we planted grass on the 2 acre pasture. We also fertilized and put lime down. Do we need to do anything to it this spring?

Answer: If everything went well with the (tall fescue) seeding last fall, the grass should have emerged in December with the rains. The grass should now be about 6 inches tall. It should also be a healthy green color. If your new grass looks different that the scenario described, please contact me directly so I can help diagnose the problem.

If everything is as described, I would apply 50 units of nitrogen per acre. This will help the grass grow and establish a good root system so it can survive the hot summer conditions. I would also take a soil test if you have not already taken one. This will ensure you have optimum soil fertility.

In addition, I would keep the animals off the pasture until the grass is 10 inches tall. Then turn the animals onto the pasture until it is grazed down to 4 inches. Let the grass re-grow to 10 inches before re-grazing. It is easy to over graze pastures, and then you’ll be planting grass again if you don’t manage the grazing.

Good luck with your rejuvenated pasture. For additional forage resources, visit http://www.forages.ncsu.edu.

For answers to your agricultural questions, call the Caldwell County Extension Center at 828-757-1290 or visit us online anytime at https://caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu.

Written By

Photo of Seth NagySeth NagyCounty Extension Director (828) 757-1290 (Office) seth_nagy@ncsu.eduCaldwell County, North Carolina
Updated on Mar 7, 2017
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