Tips for Parents: Put money where it matters
ELLSWORTH, Kan. – Expectant parents typically need to stretch their finances, and may be encouraged to spend unnecessarily.
If shopping for a crib in a furniture store or baby department, new parents may be pressured into buying a more expensive crib, matching changing table, and youth dresser a child will outgrow within a few years, said Jamie Rathbun, K-State Research and Extension agent in Ellsworth County, Kan.
Do your homework, and look for a crib that is check-rated for safety, said Rathbun, who also encouraged new parents to consider a good used crib and changing table that meet safety standards or borrow the items from a friend or family member who no longer needs them.
Investing in a good used dresser a child will be able to use as he or she grows also can help to free up funds for other essential items, such as a car seat.
“Put the money where it matters,” said Rathbun, who advises new parents to forgo unnecessary extras to buy the safest possible car seat.
When expecting, Rathbun researched consumer evaluations and chose to invest in a check-rated car seat. At the time, she couldn’t have imagined that she and her six-month-old daughter would be involved in a roll-over accident. Both were securely buckled in, and came through the accident unharmed.
More information on money management is available at K-State Research and Extension offices throughout the state and online.
Get Proactive About Iris Pests Now
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Iris leaf spot and iris borer control begins now, as winter winds down.
The fungal disease and rhizome-feeding worm are debilitating pests. But, both overwinter in last year’s plant debris.
So, using a mild March day to clean out iris beds and destroy the dead leaves can go a long way toward reducing this year’s attacks, said Ward Upham, K-State Research and Extension horticulturist.
Splashing water and wind spread the spores that transmit iris leaf spot. Wet weather and overhead irrigation help the disease thrive, Upham said.
Small, red-bordered spots appear on emerging iris leaves. Surrounding each spot is a ring of tissue that looks water-soaked and later yellows. The spots enlarge after the plant flowers and sometimes merge.
“The result isn’t pretty,” Upham said. “Plus, the entire plant ends up weaker and vulnerable to other problems.”
Timely cleanup may be enough to keep light leaf spot infections in check, he said. If last year’s outbreak was heavy, however, also applying a chemical control can be a good idea.
Upham recommends spraying one of the many homeowner products that contains either chlorothalonil or myclobutanil as its active ingredient. Adding a spreader-sticker product will ensure good coverage. Spraying should start as soon as leaves emerge, with repeat sprays at seven- to 10-day intervals for a total four to six applications.
Removing old plant debris reduces iris borer numbers because that’s where the adults lay their eggs, the horticulturist said. The eggs generally hatch in April or May. Then the new borers burrow underground, never to be seen again unless someone digs up the iris planting.
“In fact, another good way to reduce borer infestations is to transplant the rhizomes every three to four years, discarding the ones where iris borers are or have been feeding,” Upham said.
Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 12-16
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Devastating tornadoes that swept through Kansas and other Midwestern states in late February served as a grim reminder that everyone should have a safety plan and be aware of warnings.
To help raise awareness about severe weather and resources available to Kansans, the National Weather Service office in Topeka declared March 12-16 as 2012 Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week. See the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office.
“Take time during Severe Weather Awareness Week to prepare,” said Mary Knapp, director of the Kansas Weather Data Library, based at Kansas State University. “Listen for weather alerts, have a safety plan and heed the warnings when issued. During the state-wide drill on March 13th at 1:30 p.m., take a moment and review your safety plans.”
Kansas had 68 tornadoes last year, which was below the 10-year average of 112. The earliest tornado in 2011 was reported on Feb. 27 in Cowley County and the latest on Oct. 8 in Haskell County, said Knapp, who serves as the state climatologist for Kansas and is one of K-State’s delegates to the Extension Disaster Education Network.
Three fatalities in Kansas were linked to tornadoes last year, one on May 21 and two on May 24.
Information about Kansas weather is available on the Weather Data Library website. “Weather Wonders” audio reports are available on the K-State Research and Extension News Media Services website.