Alexander County Center
February, 2017
Alexander County Center
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.
Lawn Care
  • 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.
Specific Chores
  • 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  828-757-1290 .

Cost: Free

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
Mulberry Tree
Paw Paw Tree

Here is a link to the order form and more information on each variety.  If you have any questions please call the Extension Center at 828-632-4451.
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.  
Now Accepting:  
Commissioners' Choice Application 
Deadline March 1st    

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 or contact your local Cooperative Extension Center. 

The event is free and open to the public. 

You can sign up via the 2017 NC Agritunity registration form or call the Iredell County Cooperative Extension Center at 704-873-0507. Please contact Danelle Cutting at (704) 216-8970 or Lenny Rogers at  (828) 632-4451 if you are interested in setting up as a vendor. For additional information on how to be a vendor please visit our website. Walk-in registration may be limited. 

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.
Julie Campbell, Administrative Assistant
376 1st Ave. SW, Taylorsville, NC 28681