Around Home and Farm

Last updated: April 24. 2014 12:01AM - 393 Views
By Jerry Mahan

Curt Marshall pruning an apple tree. Submitted photo.
Curt Marshall pruning an apple tree. Submitted photo.
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In spite of the cold windy April 5 we had an informative session at the home of Curt Marshall who has a small orchard on US Route 35 East. He has about 50 or so fruit trees including peach, apple, pear, apricot, and nectarine. He also raises tomatoes, strawberries, peppers.

Some of the points Curt covered in the program included making a map of your plantings including variety of fruit tree and date planted and painting the bottom trunks of his fruit trees with latex paint to minimize freezing and cracking of bark in the winter. Curt also places a foot long section of field tile vertically in the soil close to the trunk of a newly planted tree to facilitate watering in dry weather.

In recent years he has had soil tests done on his vegetable fields and around the fruit trees to help deal with nutritional problems.

If you have a few fruit trees and want help in getting more quality fruit there are a few publications which might be of help. They include OSU Ext. bl. 780 “Controlling Diseases in Home Fruit Plantings.” Cost around $10. Another good resource for fruit trees as well as other small fruits is the OSU Ext. bl. 940 titled “Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide.”

Cost is around $15. All prices apply if purchased at a local Extension Office including the Greene County Office at 100 Fairground Road on the fairgrounds behind the grandstand. Office hours are Monday through Thursday 8:30-4:30 p.m., phone 937-372-9971. Another good think piece for those of you with the old standard size apple and pear trees which have become overgrown is the fact sheet HYG 1150-93 titled “Pruning Mature Apple and Pear Trees.” It can be downloaded at http://ohioline.osu.edu.

For your safety as well as the farmer’s

As I write this column the weather is cool and wet. Farmers will soon be in the field planting corn and soybeans as well as spraying for weeds. Be aware the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem on farm equipment being operated on our roads. This triangular shaped orange sign signifies a vehicle moving at a speed of 25 mph or less.


“The Plant That Ate the South” is making the news with increased efforts in eradicating the weed kudzu. Native to Asia it has spread from the southern US to many areas in the north as well. This invasive species has been reported in 15 of Ohio’s 88 counties including Greene- Bath Township in particular.

This legume can grow up to 60 feet in one year! Kudzu grows fast and covers other plants and may eventually kill them. In the south there is a Kudzu Bug which feeds on the plant; is a problem in homes and may follow the plant northward. If you want a free poster of this invasive species send an email to: ohiowoods@osu.edu and order a copy of the poster or call 614-688-3421. As more information on the plants locations are known a plan will be drawn up to deal with eradication.

Common control measures include products used for control of poison ivy. Other products which will give control include banvel, banvel and 2-4-D and products containing glyphosate. Always follow label restrictions and be careful when using around water.

Farm Forum

Our April 28 program features Brad Lokai, Agriculture Education Instructor at Cedarville and Yellow Springs High School, Dr. Kelly Rickabaugh, Veterinary Science Instructor at the Greene County Agricultural Research Center and David Sproul, Natural Resources Instructor at the Greene County Career Center. They are sharing info on the courses they teach as well as career opportunities for their graduates.

The meeting will be held 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 28 in the Union United Methodist Church located at 393 Washington Road, Xenia. Meal cost is $10 and for reservations call Paul Ayres at 937-352-6379 or email him at: “Paul Ayres” payres1@woh.rr.com by noon Friday April 25.

Grape loss

According to an OSU survey of grape producers in Ohio most of the wine grape crop is lost due to the Polar Vortex experienced earlier this year. Other common varieties like Concord and Catawba fared better as they are more resistant to cold temperatures. For more details on this loss go to: http://extension.osu.edu/news-releases/archives/2014/april/most-of-ohio2019s-2014-wine-grape-crop-lost-due-to-polar-vortex-ohio-state-survey-finds.

Well water quality

I have received some calls recently concerning how to shock chlorinate a well. The problems in well water quality seem to be tied somewhat to the cold winter and freezing of some pipes. Shock chlorination is recommended whenever you work on a submersible pump or the well in general.

In the process of performing maintenance on a well there is the possibility of bacteria being introduced into the water. Chlorination can also help kill the iron bacteria which sometimes inhabit the water tank of a toilet or faucet. For more details on what to do log on to: http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0318.html. This will take you to the OSU Ext. factsheet titled ?Shock Chlorination of Wells and Springs?.

PED strikes hog farms

Farmers raising hogs are under more pressure to further limit visitors to their hog facilities and improve bio-security because of PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus). This intestinal disease can cause high mortality in pre-weaned baby pigs of 100 percent. The disease has spread to 27 states including Ohio and is expected to impact the availability of pork products in 2014.The disease causes vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite and dehydration. It is transmitted via contaminated feces.

Conserve, attract and protect pollinators

If you are a gardener, grower, naturalists, or someone with an interest in pollinators please join Greene County Master Gardener Volunteers to discover the latest on pollinators, their health, their habits, their future and how you can support them. Learn how you can attract, conserve and protect these important contributors to the preservation of our environment.

Denise Ellsworth, Program Director of Honeybee and Native Pollinator Education at The Ohio State University will be presenting “Pollinator-Friendly Spaces: Practical Ways to Conserve, Attract and Protect Pollinators” 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, June 5 at Xenia Church of the Nazarene, 1204 W. Second St.

For more information contact the Greene County Extension Office at 937-372-9971 ext.123 or email greenemastergardener@gmail.com.

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at: mahan.2@att.net.

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