Like it or not, fall is here. Along with the calendar officially saying it is fall, there are many signs I see during my daily routine that remind me that summer is gone.
One of those signs is seeing the tractors, combines, and grain trucks on the road when driving to and from work.
That equipment is being used as farmers race the clock to get their harvest brought in for the 2010 growing season.
Thus, as the race goes on, it is important that everyone makes safety a top priority and try to prevent accidents from happening. Farmers should not try to work non-stop with no breaks and travelers need to watch out for slow moving vehicles.
Additionally, with the extra dry weather we have been having, farmers also need to take precautions to prevent their equipment and fields from catching fire.
You can do this by always cleaning your equipment, make sure it is all in proper working condition, and turning off equipment engines and letting them cool for 15 minutes before refueling.
A second sign that fall is here, which I can see very easily from my Clay County office, are the leaves changing color.
Temperature, light, and water supply are the primary factors that influence the pigment of the changing leaves resulting in no two autumns ever being alike.
The best fall coloration occurs when we have cool nights, in the forties, and warm afternoons, in the sixties and seventies, with adequate or normal rainfall.
It is never completely certain which chemical will be more prominent in a leaf but when tannin, in particular, is more prevalent leaves turn a brown to dark red.
Once the colors do become more prominent in Indiana, don't forget to take a drive around the countryside and see for yourself what makes fall a great time to live here. After your drive, take a little bit of time to do some yard work and compost your leaves to add to your garden next year as organic matter.
The final sign that I can see is the increase in calls into the office concerning fall weed control.
Fall is the ideal time for perennial weed control.
Dandelions are best controlled in early and mid October through the use of a herbicide.
A possible way to control or rid yourself of pesky dandelions is to use a product containing 2,4-D.
It will help with dandelions and other broadleaf perennials.
Another troublesome weed, Creeping Charlie, can be controlled best by using a product that contains Dicamba.
Here are a few quick notes about using herbicides.
The first step in selecting a herbicide is to identify the weed you are going to treat. That will allow you to make sure you are using the correct herbicide.
Before purchasing and using the herbicide, always make sure to read the label. It is best to apply the herbicide directly on the affected area instead of broadcasting it onto the entire lawn.
If your trees have already started losing their leaves, make sure to rake them up before applying any herbicide. Similarly, if you treat your lawn repeatedly, try not to spray the herbicide where tree roots might be.
This is because your tree may absorb some of the herbicide and harm your tree (especially true with products containing Dicamba).
Finally, it is a good idea not to treat your lawn with the herbicide if it is expected to rain soon. This would cause the herbicide to not be absorbed by the plant and for you to waste money.
From the combines in the fields to the leaves falling down, there is no escaping the signs of fall.
This fall, and throughout the whole year, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at email@example.com. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
* Sept. 29 -- Owen-Monroe Feeder Calf Auction,
* Oct. 2 -- Owen County Extension Board Annual Dinner, Owen County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5. Call 812-829-5020 by Monday to purchase your ticket,
* Oct. 4 -- Owen-Monroe Cow Auction, and
* Oct. 16 -- 66th IBEP Bull Sale and Springville Feeder Auction Association's Bred Heifer Sale, 2 p.m.