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K-State Research and Extension News


Plantorama is a weekly five-minute interview with horticultural specialists at Kansas State University, covering timely topics in: home lawn care; vegetable, fruit and flower gardening; landscape design and ornamental plant care;  indoor plant care; and horticultural pest control.

Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

Program Date

Segment Title
and Description

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BUILDING GARDEN COMPOST– There’s still time for gardeners to gather up all that organic material from their yards and gardening areas for building a compost pile. Johnson County Extension horticultural agent Dennis Patton covers the basic steps to composting -- how to start, and how to manage it through the winter months for use next spring or beyond.

Patton 12-08

POINSETTIA CARE TIPS– Christmas poinsettias are as popular as ever.  Through genetic improvements over the years, K-State horticulturist Ward Upham says they can be kept healthy for a longer period of time -- if basic guidelines on poinsettia selection and care are followed.

 Upham 12-01

MORE HOUSE BUGS– Now that fall is giving way to winter weather, a wider variety of landscape insects are seeking safe refuge inside homes, garages and outbuildings. For the most part, these are harmless, and easily removed from the indoors, according to K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd. However, excluding them from the building is always the best bet.

 Cloyd 11-24

WINTERIZING LAWN IRRIGATION– It’s a simple step, but for those with lawn irrigation systems, it’s essential:  winterizing those systems before freezing temperatures settle in for the season. K-State turfgrass specialist Jared Hoyle goes over the steps to preparing those underground watering systems for the winter, and likewise for above-ground watering equipment.

Hoyle 11-17 

LATE LAWN CARE– Even though fall is slowly giving way to winter, there are a couple of lawn care steps  homeowners with cool-season grass can take. According to K-State turfgrass specialist Jared Hoyle, it's time for the final nitrogen application of the season and applying an herbicide treatment against knotweed.

 Hoyle 11-10

INDOOR AND OUTDOOR BUGS– Though fall is steadily transitioning into winter, a few landscape insect considerations remain. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says those include insects now entering homes for winter shelter, and insects on fruit trees that can be controlled with a dormant oil application.

Cloyd 11-03

LATE VEGETABLE STORAGE– Now that the first widespread hard freeze of the fall has occurred, home gardeners have hopefully harvested the last of the warm-season vegetables. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham talks about storing the last tomatoes and peppers of the growing season, and comments on how much cold weather the cool-loving vegetable crops can still endure before needing to be harvested.

Upham 10-27 

MOVING HOUSEPLANTS INDOORS– We’re at that point in the fall when homeowners should be thinking about moving their container grown flowers and ornamental plants indoors for the remainder of the fall and winter. Johnson County Extension horticultural agent Dennis Patton discusses how to make that transition go smoothly for the plants.

Patton 10-20

FALL LAWN MANAGEMENT– Mid-October is a perfect time to carry out a handful of cool-season lawn maintenance steps, whether it’s newly-seeded grass or an established lawn. K-State turfgrass specialist Jared Hoyle covers the things homeowners can do now to help their lawns go into the winter in a healthy state, setting them up for a good start in the spring….including fertilization and broadleaf weed control.

Hoyle 10-13

PLANTING SPRING BULBSThe time is here for homeowners to spice up their landscapes with spring-flowering bulb plantings.  These can provide a cascade of color during the spring and early summer, and at times, beyond, if one makes good bulb selections. Riley County Research and Extension horticulture agent Gregg Eyestone talks about shopping for bulbs and establishing them in the landscape setting in the fall.

Eyestone 10-06
09-29-17FALL TREE PLANTINGThese cooler, calmer fall days are simply ideal for enhancing one’s home landscape by planting ornamental trees.  And a K-State ornamental horticulturist strongly encourages people to have a look around their neighborhoods to generate ideas on tree selection for their place. Jason Griffin explains how fall planting gives trees a jump start on growth next spring and summer, and advises folks to do some research before heading to the nursery.Griffin 09-29 

OAK MITE SHORTAGE?Although summer has transitioned into fall, several insects remain at work in home lawns and landscapes. One notable exception is the oak leaf itch mite. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd addresses that good news, and talks about several pests to be aware of.

Cloyd 09-22
09-15-17OVERSEEDING THE LAWN– Homeowners who have thin spots in their cool-season lawns can thicken those up by over-seeding here in the fall. To succeed with that, however, certain guidelines and procedures need to be followed. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham covers those…from soil preparation to post-seeding watering schedules.Upham 09-15 
09-08-17LANDSCAPE PLANT WATERING – It may be subtle, but a number of landscape trees and shrubs are enduring moisture stress. In order for those plants to have sufficient water going into the normally dry fall and winter, K-State horticulturist Ward Upham says homeowners need to address the problem now.Upham 09-08
09-01-17LATE SUMMER INSECTS– The recent cool overnight temperatures have done nothing to slow down an assortment of insects that are infiltrating home gardens and landscapes. Fortunately, most of these are of minor concern. However, K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says a few are worthy of some attention.  Cloyd 09-01
08-25-17PLANTING FALL VEGETABLES– Fall weather conditions tend to be less extreme and more consistent. Johnson County Extension horticulture agent Dennis Patton says this makes for a great environment for raising cool-season vegetable crops.Patton 08-25
08-18-17LAWN OVERSEEDING PREP – September is the optimum time for overseeding cool-season lawns.  K-State turfgrass specialist Jared Hoyle says there are a handful of preparatory steps homeowners can take now to make the overseeding project much smoother. Hoyle 08-18 
08-11-17DETERMINING APPLE RIPENESS– Home apple growers are anxiously awaiting that first new fruit of the season. It's important to know how to accurately determine apple ripeness, and according to Riley County Extension horticultural agent Gregg Eyestone, there are several signals growers can use. Eyestone 08-11
08-04-17IRIS DIVIDING TECHNIQUE– As part of routine management, iris plants should be divided every few years…and right now is the time to do it, according to K-State horticulturist Ward Upham. He emphasizes that gardeners should pay attention to the health of the plants they’re dividing and re-planting.Upham 08-04