No trick, all treat — The beautiful fall colors continued this week, though more and more leaves are falling by the day. But they're still pretty on the ground. I can't take enough walks through them, even in the rain.
Colorful tree ID — Ward Upham of K-State notes that people sometimes aren't sure how to tell a maple from an oak. "The easiest way is to look at how the leaves are arranged on the stem," he says. "Maples are opposite-leaved and oaks are alternate. Opposite-leaved plants such as maples and ash have leaves directly across from one another. Alternate-leaved plants have leaves alternating up the stem — one on one side, and the next, further up the stem, on the other."
Leaf cover — The leaves can look pretty strewn over a yard, but they also can keep light from reaching the turf. Upham recommends mulch-mowing the leaves on the lawn before they get too thick — when you can still see the grass peeking through the leaves.
Dandelions and other weeds — Early November is the most effective time to control broadleaf weeds such as dandelions in lawns. Upham gives the lowdown:
Dandelions usually produce a flush of new plants in late September, and the winter annual weeds henbit and chickweed should have germinated in October. These young plants are small and easily controlled with herbicides such as 2,4-D or combination products that contain 2,4-D, MCPP and Dicamba (Trimec, Weed-B-Gon, Weed-Out).
Even established dandelions are more easily controlled now than in the spring because they are actively moving materials from the top portion of the plant to the roots. Herbicides will translocate to the roots as well and will kill the plant from the roots up. Be sure to choose a day that is 50 degrees or higher. The better the weed is growing, the more weed killer will be moved from the leaves to the roots. Cold temperatures will slow or stop this process.
Weed Free Zone (also sold under the name of Speed Zone) contains the three active ingredients mentioned above plus carfentrazone. It will give a quicker response than the other products mentioned especially as temperatures approach 50 degrees.
Family of Four Garden —The fall harvest started this week at the Family of Four Garden at the Extension Education Center: 1 1/2 pounds of baby salad greens and two bunches of Swiss Chard. That amounts to $19 in produce for the week and $327 for the year.
"We also pulled out the basil and cut back the fennel and cutting celery," extension agent Rebecca McMahon reported. "Most of the garden is put to bed for the winter, but we still have more salad greens and Brussels sprouts yet to come."
If you want to vote on which plants you'd like to see in the Extension gardens next year, take the poll at http://thedemogardenblog.wordpress.com.
Growing Fruit for Market classes — Sedgwick County Extension will offer a two-part class Nov. 17 and 24 aimed at demystifying fruit production for local growers "in an effort to increase availability of delicious, locally produced fruit to consumers." The classes will cover the basics of fruit production including commercial growing systems, harvesting and marketing.
Both classes will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Sunflower Room at the Extension Education Center at 21st and Ridge in Wichita. The cost is $5. The class on Nov. 17 will be on growing berries, and the class on Nov. 24 will be about growing tree fruit. Register by Nov. 13 by calling Rebecca McMahon at 316-660-0142.
Herbal food gifts lecture — Barbara Davis of the South Central Kansas Herb Society will be at Botanica on Wednesday to demonstrate making crafty herbal food gifts for Thanksgiving and Christmas. There will be food samples and recipes. The lecture is from 12:15 to 1 p.m. and is included in Botanica admission.
Crazy Christmas collage workshop — Julie Craig will lead a no-sew Christmas project from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Botanica. Participants will use a vintage Christmas postcard piece, trinkets, ribbon flowers, vintage lace and other trims to make their collages. The cost is $40, or $35 for Botanica members. Register by calling 316-264-0448.
Tropical bonsai workshop _ Botanica will have a workshop on the basics of bonsai featuring Bill Burrow on Nov. 14. Each participant will bonsai an aralia stump parsley to take home. Hours will be 9 to 11:30 a.m., and the cost is $35, $30 for Botanica members. Register by calling 316-264-0448.