Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Caddo Sugar Maples – Possible Solution to High Soil pH Problems

Jenae Ryan, Horticulture Agent  

Sugar maples often have significant problems growing well in our Kansas weather. The hot, often dry summers and windy conditions can shorten the life of these trees. High pH soils, such as those found in the Post Rock District, frequently cause iron chlorosis in maple trees. However, some sugar maples are better adapted to Kansas conditions than others.

Kansas State University’s John C. Pair Horticulture Center has evaluated sugar maples for more than 20 years and has identified selections that are much better adapted to Kansas. Of particular interest are the Caddo sugar maples, which originated from an isolated population in Caddo County, Oklahoma. These are true sugar maples and are considered an ecotype. Caddo sugar maples are more drought tolerant, better adapted to high pH soils, and more resistant to leaf scorch and tatter than the normal sugar maples.
Data from the research center shows just how impressive the resistance to scorch is in the Caddo sugar maples. The last three weeks of August in 2003 saw temperatures at the research station reach over 100 degrees each day with no rain for the month prior. All other sugar maples in the trial had severely scorched leaves. Not a single leaf of any of the caddo maples was scorched. Leaf water potential readings taken pre-dawn showed all other trees in the trial past the wilting point while the Caddo maples were barely stressed.  

Another interesting characteristic of Caddo maples is that they tend to retain their leaves in the winter and therefore have been suggested as screens or for use in windbreaks.
Dr. John Pair, the late director of the Horticulture Center, selected and released two Caddo maples over 10 years ago. Both these selections color early and have consistent good red fall color. Drought tolerance and resistance to leaf scorch and leaf tatter are exceptional. However, neither will do well in a heavy clay soil that is frequently saturated. These trees can be damaged or killed if planted in wet sites.
The first variety, ‘Autumn Splendor’, has the traditional sugar maple growth pattern and needs plenty of room to mature. The ‘John Pair’ variety is smaller, more compact, and more likely to fit a residential landscape. This tree is also noted for a dense, uniform crown.
If you have had trouble successfully growing maple trees in our high pH soils and are in the market for a new tree, consider the Caddo sugar maple. For other trees adapted to the climate in the Post Rock District, check out the “Selected Trees and Shrubs for Northwest Kansas Landscapes” publication: http://bit.ly/1JPdtyQ.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Test for Radon

Kathy Lupfer-Nielsen, Family Consumer Science Agent

Radon is a natural, tasteless, odorless, colorless, radioactive gas produced from the decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. It moves from the ground under and around your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Current Kansas data indicates that one in four houses in Kansas may have elevated radon levels.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. For that reason, many of us need to be testing our homes. Many scientists believe children may run an even greater risk from radon exposure than adults, and smokers are definitely at great risk than nonsmokers. Surgeon General’s office, the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association and the Environmental Protection Agency advise that all homes be tested.

If you look at the graphic below, you can see that Post Rock District Counties have higher than 4pCi/l which is the EPA’s recommended action level.

Low cost test kits are available in the local extension offices or the county health offices.

If you’d like to read more information on radon, check out the Kansas Radon website at http://www.kansasradonprogram.org/kram. Here you can find fact sheets as well as information on hiring mitigation contractors for repair in your home.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Board Leadership Training

By Aliesa Woods, District Director

The Post Rock Extension District is hosting an opportunity for the community-based boards of our area to receive valuable basic training for board members, and we’d like to invite you to attend.

Informed and committed board members are the key to healthy, effective boards and committees in our Kansas communities. K-State Research and Extension’s Board Leadership Series will provide an opportunity for board members to learn the basics of being a good board member. 

Whether you are a member of a church board, a township board, a United Way agency board, or a rural water board, this training is appropriate for you.

The series will kick-off on February 25 with Conducting Effective Meetings. During this session, participants will learn about their roles and responsibilities as a board member, basics of parliamentary procedure, and strategies to make meetings more productive and effective.

The February 26 session will cover Fundraising, Fund Management, Legalities and Ethics. This session will explore a board’s options for raising and managing money, understanding such things as articles of incorporation, bylaws, and policies.

On March 4, the topic will be Understanding Fellow Board Members and Conflict Management. Participants will explore how personalities and generational differences affect the decision-making process, and learn how to manage conflict in a way that is productive, not destructive, to the board.

Strategic Planning will be the final topic on March 5. Participants will learn about establishing a common mission and vision for the board, and how to plan priorities for the future.

All sessions will be conducted from 6-8 pm. Workshop participants will meet at host sites throughout the state to take part in web-based instruction and locally facilitated discussion. The Beloit location will be at the North Central Regional Planning Commission.

Pre-registration for the event is required by February 13. The cost covers all four sessions. Registration buys a seat which can be rotated by participants. Registration includes refreshments and materials. For more information or to register contact the Beloit Office at 785-738-3597.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Rejuvenate Your Wellness

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings. Janus is believed to be a two-faced god that looks into both the future and past. It seems appropriate for the first month of the year, January, to be named after him; after all, Janus symbolizes the progression from one vision to the next.

As we progress into a new year, the principal focus commonly surrounds rejuvenation. The verb, rejuvenate, means to give new strength or energy to something; to restore to an original or new state; to make youthful again. Wellness is often what individuals and families find themselves reflecting upon, visualizing, and making goals to rejuvenate throughout the new year. According to the National Wellness Institute, “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”

Photo Credit: National Wellness Institute, www.nationalwellness.org/
The six dimensions of wellness include physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and occupational. Physical wellness recognizes the need for health, nutrition, and physical activity. Social wellness emphasizes the value of contributing to your environment and community rather than living an all-about-me lifestyle. Intellectual wellness encourages creativity and discovering potential through lifelong learning. Spiritual wellness promotes understanding the meaning and purpose of human existence and the alignment of one’s actions with values and beliefs. Emotional wellness fosters awareness, acceptance, and management of one’s feelings which assists independent ventures and supports meaningful relationships. Occupational wellness recognizes the satisfaction gained from work through the application of one’s attitude, skills, and talents.

Imagine an old wagon wheel with spokes. The round wheel relies on each spoke to carry the weight of a wagon and to cross the terrain of the land. In the same way, living a satisfying lifestyle relies on all dimensions of wellness. The dimensions are interconnected and dependent on each other. Wellness is holistic and supports people as they navigate through the world around them to live an enriched life.

As you approach goal-setting in the new year, remember to do so in a holistic fashion because extreme focus on one wellness dimension could lead to neglect in another area of your life. Set S.T.R.O.N.G goals that support overall wellness:

S = State it clearly. What do I want to improve, accomplish, and rejuvenate?

T = Time period. How long will it take me to accomplish my goal? Be accountable by setting a date.

R = Requirements. What steps do I need to take to accomplish my goal? What specific things will I do? Who could help me? What do I need to change?

O = Obstacles. What could get in my way and interfere with my progress? What/who could help me if it happens? What will I do to prevent or fix the issue?

N = Needs Review. How often will I check to make sure I am doing what needs to be done? How will I know if I am progressing or not?

G = Goal Accomplished! How will I celebrate reaching my goal?

To rejuvenate we reflect upon our past to identify and visualize what dimensions of our wellness need attention in order to promote a more satisfying, holistic lifestyle. As you progress into the new year and incorporate the tasks of reaching your goals into your routines and rituals, remember that K-State Research and Extension provides practical education you can trust – to help people, businesses, and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future. We’re available with knowledge and resources to help you and yours accomplish goals, progress, and rejuvenate.


The National Wellness Institute, www.nationalwellness.org/

Y.O.U. (Youth Organizations Umbrella, Inc.), Social Emotional Learning Activities