K-State Research and Extension News
December 01, 2011
Share  Email the story

Financial Pro: Save Change to Jumpstart Savings

Young Tree Transplants Need Help to Survive Winter  

Latest Swine Research Information Available  

About Time to Mulch Plants for Winter

Financial Pro: Save Change to Jumpstart Savings

MANHATTAN, Kan. – People who claim they can’t save money are encouraged to start a change dish or jar, and to make deposits regularly.

“Try saving a quarter a day,” said Carol Young, K-State Research and Extension financial management specialist. In a year’s time, you’ll have $91. Save 50 cents a day to save $182 in a year’s time, and a dollar a day to save $365.

“Saving regularly reinforces saving as a habit,” said Young, who noted that once individuals see their savings mount up, they can be more motivated to save for short- and long-term goals, while also improving their overall financial well-being.

When several members of a household contribute pocket change, savings build more quickly and can be used to fund a shared goal, such as a weekend outing or special event, she said.

More information on personal financial management is available at local K-State Research and Extension offices and online: K-State's Financial Management and Kansas Saves.




Young Tree Transplants Need Help to Survive Winter


MANHATTAN, Kan. – Frosty winter days mark the end of the growing season in home landscapes, but homeowners may not be completely finished with outdoor chores. Those who have new trees should be aware that young tree transplants are vulnerable until they develop tough bark and strong roots.


“If you don’t protect them through winter, you can lose your investment to wildlife or the weather,” said Ward Upham, K-State Research and Extension horticulturist.


He suggested the following for young trees:


* Stake young trees exposed to harsh winds. (Remove staking next spring.)


* Make sure they’re well-watered as winter begins – with moisture about a foot deep. Water deeply several times through winter, if the weather warms up enough to allow it.


* Apply a 3-inch mulch layer over the root zone, leaving a half-foot of bare space/soil on all sides of the trunk. Mice view mulch piled up against tender bark as their winter’s room and board.


* Create a barrier to exclude rabbits. The traditional one is a 2-feet-tall cylinder of 1-inch-mesh chicken wire. Plastic tree wraps and spray-on repellents are also available.


Wildlife-related wood loss threatens tree health. If an animal’s nibbling circles the trunk, “girdling” it with a strip of lost bark and cambium (green) tissue, the tree will die.


* Apply a light-colored tree wrap (generally tar-treated kraft paper or a spiraling plastic strip) from the ground to first branches. (Remove wrapping in spring.) New trees need this protection from direct sunlight and shifting temperatures for at least two winters. Young trees with smooth, thin bark such as ashes, all fruit trees, honey locusts, lindens, maples, oaks and willows – need wrapping for five or more winters.


For an unprotected thin-barked tree, sunny winter days can create a dangerous difference in bark temperatures, Upham said. The southwest side of a peach tree’s trunk, for example can be up 40 degrees warmer than its northeast side. Often that’s enough for the southwest bark to lose winter hardiness and be susceptible to nighttime freezing. The result can be disfiguring sunscald.




Latest Swine Research Information Available


MANHATTAN, Kan. – Information about the latest swine research at Kansas State University is now available on the web.

The 2011 Swine Day Report of Progress (K-State publication SRP 1056) details numerous swine research projects delving into herd health, nursery and finishing nutrition and management and meat quality.

“This is annually the most downloaded extension publication on our website and often one of the most downloaded publications from the university,” said extension animal science state leader Mike Tokach, with K-State Research and Extension. “It contains the results of the many research projects conducted by our swine team over the past year.”

Annual reports of research from previous years and other information regarding swine herd health and pork production is also available on the website




About Time to Mulch Plants for Winter

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The time to mulch plants for winter is after frost is in the ground.

In the central United States, that’s usually sometime between mid-November and early December or … about four to six weeks after the area’s average first-freeze date.

This timing allows plants to go from fall to winter on their own, entering dormancy normally. Mulch applied after that will simply lock in the soil’s frosty temperature.

If applied too early, that same mulch will retain the soil’s lingering fall warmth, extending its influence. This effect can not only skew plants’ dormancy process but also attract mice looking for winter shelter.

Winter mulching isn’t generally a life-or-death issue for plants well-adapted to central U.S. landscapes. It simply gives those plants an edge by partially leveling out the season’s temperature and moisture swings. It also helps protect soil from any compaction or erosion caused by rain and snowmelt.

A cold-weather mulch can be vital, however, for plants with shallow or limited roots. “Semi-hardy” plants, such as garden mums and strawberries, belong in this group. Landscape plants that have been in the ground for less than a year belong, too, whether trees, shrubs, perennials or bulbs. Without an insulating layer of mulch, the winter freeze-thaw cycles can heave young plants from the ground, where their roots will die from exposure.

Because of their tender canes, hybrid tea roses need added protection -- an 8- to 10-inch high mound of soil and/or compost to protect their graft. A 4-inch mulch layer goes on top of that when the plants are dormant.

In spring, winter mulch will continue to act as an insulator. So, spring-flowering bulbs may pop up later than usual. Yet, an early warm spell won’t inspire plants to break dormancy, leaving them vulnerable for significant damage if the weather turns cold again.

--Source: K-State Research and Extension Horticulture


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Elaine Edwards
K-State Research & Extension News

Contributing writers: Mary Lou Peter, Nancy Peterson and Kathleen Ward