This time of year I receive more calls about how to control mistletoe because trees are without their leaves, and the mistletoe is more visible.
Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant accompanied by folklore and mythological stories. In England, a couple kissing under the mistletoe was equivalent to promising to marry, and it was a prediction of a long life and happiness together. Today, standing under the mistletoe at Christmas time is an invitation to be kissed.
The holidays and traditions of mistletoe may come and go, but mistletoe is something plant pathologists and homeowners need to be aware of year-round. There are two different mistletoes – leafy and dwarf mistletoe. The most common in this area is leafy, and we see it most often in deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves). It is spread by birds and puts the host tree under some stress. Florel kills the plant but doesn’t kill the root and must be reapplied to be most effective during tree dormancy.
Also, for those of you who apply herbicides to your home lawns, MSMA and DSMA are in a phase-out process. MSMA will not be sold or distributed for use on residential lawns or athletic fields effective at the end of 2010. Over the next four years, the use of MSMA on golf courses, sod farms and highway right-a-ways will be phased out. After 2013, use of MSMA, labeled for all uses except cotton, will be prohibited.
EPA has also received a petition from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to cancel all registrations and revoke all tolerances for the widely used herbicide 2,4-D.
One final note, Prowl H2O Herbicide has received a supplemental label and can be used in dormant bermudagrass pastures and hay meadows for control of grassbur and other weed species listed on the label. This label is in effect until December 2011.
A mare/foal clinic is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at AgVantage Farm and Ranch, 1817 N U.S. 81 287 in Decatur. The AgriLife Equine Specialist Dr. Dennis Sigler will talk about how to: recognize signs your mare is in labor, when to assist the mare in parturition, weaning techniques to minimize stress on foals and balanced diets to promote sound development in weanling horses. The program is free, and a hamburger meal will be sponsored by Martindale Feed and AgVantage Farm and Ranch. Call the Extension office to sign up at (940) 627-3341.