Winter Weed Control
Tired of looking out across your pastures / hay fields and seeing that "sea of yellow" every spring? One of the signs that spring has arrived is when the yellow flowers of buttercup begin to appear, but it's during the winter months that the vegetative growth of buttercup takes place. As a cool season weed, this plant often flourishes in over grazed pasture fields with poor stands of desirable forages. In fact, many fields that have dense buttercup populations are fields heavily grazed by animals during the fall through the early spring months. Buttercups are sometimes classified as short-lived perennials, but often grow as winter annuals.
Buttercup is toxic to all species of livestock. The toxin protanemonin is released when the plant is chewed or otherwise wounded and is present in all parts of the plant. Animals that eat buttercup may suffer from blistering of the mouth and internal parts of the gastrointestinal tract, diarrhea, colic, and, in severe cases, death. Fortunately, most animals will not eat buttercup because it is unpalatable. The toxin become inactivated when dried so buttercup is not a concern in hay.
Most buttercup plants emerge from seed during the fall or late winter months. Therefore, pasture management practices that improve and promote growth of desirable plants during these months is one of the best methods to help compete against the emergence and growth of this plant. Mowing fields or clipping plants close to the ground in the early spring before buttercup plants can produce flowers may help reduce the amount of new seed produced, but mowing alone will not totally eliminate seed production.
For chemical control, herbicides registered for use on grass pastures that contain 2,4-D will effectively control buttercup. Depending on other weeds present products that contain dicamba+2,4-D (eg. Weedmaster), aminopyralid (eg. ForeFront, Milestone), triclopyr (eg. PastureGard, Crossbow), or metsulfuron (eg. Cimarron) can also be used. However, legumes such as clovers interseeded with grass pastures can be severely injured or killed by these herbicide products. For optimum results apply a herbicide in the early spring (January - March) before flowers are observed, when buttercup plants are still small and actively growing. For best herbicide activity wait until daytime air temperatures is greater than 50 F for two to three consecutive days. When determining which product is best for your operation, be sure to read product labels to find out the details about grazing and haying restrictions as they vary widely between these products
An effective weed control program is essential to establishing and maintaining highly productive pastures and animal performance. We need to remember that "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Select well-adapted grass and/or legume species that will grow and establish rapidly. This will minimize the length of time for weeds to invade easily. Lime and fertilize according to soil test recommendations. Proper pH and nutrient status will help insure that the forage will grow rapidly and be more competitive with weeds. Manage grazing properly. Overgrazing is a common cause of weed problems. Heavy grazing pressure may favor weed growth over grass. Identify weed problems and location and select which option or combination of options you plan to use for weed control (mechanical, chemical, or grazing management), but the most important is to put it in practice and evaluate the outcome.
February Cattleman's Meeting
February 14, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
at Alexander Extension Center
Topic: Pasture Weed Control will be the featured topic and 1 hour of K N O X pesticide credits have been approved.
Please call 828-632-4451 to register by Friday, February 10 for adequate meal preparations
February Garden Calendar
Plants in Flower
- Wintersweet, Breath-of-Spring (Winter Honeysuckle), Lenten-Rose (Helleborus), Trailing Arbutus, Crocus, Violets, and Japanese Flowering Apricot
- Shade trees can be fertilized.
- Fertilize emerging spring flowering bulbs.
- Spread wood ashes around the vegetable garden, flowering bulb beds and non-acid loving plants if the pH is below 6.0.
- First week in February start broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants inside your home.
- Plant English peas, onions, Irish potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, kale, turnips, and carrots the last week of February.
- Plant asparagus crowns when soil is dry enough to work.
- Prune bunch grape vines this month.
- Trim ornamental grasses like liriope, mondo grass, and pampass grass.
- Cut back any overgrown shrubs.
- Peach and nectarine trees need to be sprayed with a fungicide to prevent leaf curl.
- Spray all fruit trees with dormant oil to help eliminate some insects.
- Cool season lawns like tall fescue should be fertilized. Follow soil test results.
- Control wild onion in your lawn with spot sprays of a recommended herbicide.
- Divide perennials like daylily and shasta daisy when the ground is dry enough.
- Hardwood cuttings of many landscape plants like Crape Myrtle, Flowering Quince, forsythia, hydrangea, juniper, spirae, and weigela can be taken this month.
- Clean out bluebird boxes.
- Order flowers for your sweetheart - Happy Valentine's Day!
- Develop a vegetable and landscape plan for your home grounds.
- Order strawberry & blueberry plants.
Blueberry Pruning Demonstration
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 (rain date: Feb. 24, 9 am)
9am - 11am
Where: 5312 Looper Road, Granite Falls, NC 28630
Join us for a hands-on blueberry pruning demonstration and workshop. The class is free and open to the public. Dress for the weather and bring your pruners and gloves. Please RSVP in advance by calling
Foothills Ornamental Production Workshop
Thursday, February 23, 2016
Where: Burke County Center, 130 Ammons Drive, Morganton NC 28655
Please call Amanda Taylor at 828-475-2915
for more information.
Plant Sale Underway
Now is the time to order fruit trees and other fruit plants. We are offering a variety of small fruit plants and trees this year. Plants will be available for pickup in March.
Blueberries - Tifblue, Powder Blue, Premier, Climax
Strawberries - Earliglow, Jewel, Albion
Blackberries - Triple Crown, Natchez
Grape - Concord (Seedless)
Muscadines - Ison, Late Frye
Figs - Celeste, Brown Turkey
Apples - Galarina, Goldrush, Honey Crisp
Asian Pears - Hosui, Shinko, Olympic
Peach - Contender
Paw Paw Tree
Master Gardener Program for 2017
Are you an avid gardener, but still wanting to improve your knowledge on all aspects of gardening? Well the Nationally known Extension Master Gardener Program might just be for you. Our Master Gardener Program is an educational program designed to enhance public education and assistance in horticulture in our communities. It provides a comprehensive 12 session educational program to its participants.
The Master Gardener Program is supported by a State Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator housed in the Horticultural Science Department at N.C. State University and by various Extension specialized agents and subject matter specialists. As a participant in the Master Gardener Program, you will receive 40 hours of training in all aspects of Horticulture including fruit and shade trees, ornamentals, lawn care, and vegetable culture. After the training if you wish to be certified as a Master Gardener, you will have the opportunity to provide 40 hours of volunteer service. This can be done by either judging 4-H gardens, assisting with fairs and their horticulture entries, planting or caring for community or public gardens/landscaping, or assisting with educational programs through the Extension Center.
Plans are well underway for the 2017 series of Alexander/Caldwell Master Gardener classes. Classes will be meeting on Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:30 PM beginning on March 8 and ending the first week in June.
From the looks of things, this is going to be one GREAT YEAR!!! We have recruited outstanding speakers, presenters, and subject matter specialist to meet the needs of interested citizens. Some classes will be taught in the Alexander Extension Center, three at outdoor settings, and several at the Caldwell Extension Center to which we will ride together to attend jointly with the Master Gardener groups there.
Application for acceptance into the Extension Master Gardener Program will be taken into February or until the class is full which ever comes first. The cost is $100 which will be used to cover the costs of the Master Gardener Notebook, hands on supplies, and field trip expenses.
Call the North Carolina Cooperative Extension - Alexander County Center at 632-4451 for more information, or to register for the 2017 Extension Master Gardener Program. Please plan to register now as the class usually fills up.
Commissioners' Choice Application
Deadline March 1st
Does your club or an individual you know deserve recognition for their volunteer efforts this past year? In other words did your club or organization benefit your community, assist individuals or families in need, or accomplish other noteworthy tasks in 2016? If they did, please submit or encourage them to submit a short application for one of the Commissioners Choice Awards Categories. Give your club or that individual the honor and respect on a county-wide basis they have earned.
The Alexander County Cooperative Extension Service and our County Commissioners would like to recognize volunteers, organizations, communities, etc. for their hard work. This is our county's way of awarding your group for their effort in making Alexander County a better place to live.
Our Commissioners' Choice Awards Program will award the most outstanding adult and youth organizations with $200 each. Second place winners will receive $125 each and third place winners will receive $75 each. Also, as in the last few years, "Community Spark" awards will be given to outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to churches, schools, organizations or communities.
Applications and report forms have been mailed or emailed to various clubs and organizations throughout the county. If your organization has not received them and you wish to apply, an application can be obtained by picking one up at the Extension Center, pulling one off our website at
or by calling 632-4451 where we can mail or email you one. Applications are due back in for judging on March 1st.
Out of county judges have been secured for judging the submitted applications. The Commissioners' Choice Awards Banquet will be held on Tuesday, March 21st, at ACHS. Tickets will be $12 each and may be obtained at the Cooperative Extension Center. The banquet will entail a welcome from our County Commissioners, an excellent meal, entertainment, and actual announcement and presentation of these various awards.
Representatives of our county commissioners will be there to present the awards.
Please apply, give us a chance to recognize your organization for the things you do to benefit your community, and then join us at the banquet. We look forward to again having a very successful program and awards banquet where we recognize the excellent volunteers, organizations, and communities here in Alexander County.
NC Agritunity Conference & Tradeshow
Saturday, March 4th, 2017
Iredell County Agricultural Center
444 Bristol Drive, Statesville, NC 28677
Registration starts 8:00am
Programs from 8:30am-3:30pm
NC Agritunity is a one-day educational conference for farmers of all types, featuring a tradeshow and a keynote speaker. Large commodity producers, livestock producers, small farm managers, beginning farmers, and anyone just interested in agriculture are welcome to attend.
Continuing education credits (CEUs) and pesticide training credits will be available in some of the presentations for existing license holders. To learn more about the educational session and feature vendors, please visit our website at ces.ncsu.edu or contact your local Cooperative Extension Center.
The event is free and open to the public.
Hay Alert Website
Just a reminder to livestock producers that if you are running low on hay or think you will run low, start looking now to purchase additional hay if you haven't already. The Hay Alert website is a resource for farmers in need of hay to connect with those that who have hay or forage for sale, for arranging transportation if needed and/or transport with suppliers. This site will list names, addresses, and other pertinent information. The website is
Don't wait... With the weather patterns we have been having, you never know when grass will start growing again. Better to have too much hay than not enough
Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement
2.1. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, a ge, disability, or veteran's status. In addition, the two Universities welcome all person without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
2.2. Persons with disabilities and persons with limited English proficiency may request accommodations to participate by contacting Alexander County Extension Director, Lenny Rogers, at (828)632-4451 or
or in person at the County Extension Office at least 14 days prior to the event.