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End-of-the-season garden checklist

 

By Scott Vogt

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

 

It seems that fall has finally arrived.  Cooler north winds are blowing and the leaves are beginning to change on the trees. Things are winding down in the garden too, except the asters.  “Raydon’s Favorite” aster, New England asters and “October Skies” aster are fantastic this year. Pollinators are covering these nectar rich flowers during the warm afternoons. It is fun to watch so many happy pollinators in the garden. There is so much to love about the fall season.

 

Soon these flowers will fade and the growing season will officially come to an end. It will be time for the prairie to sleep. But before you put the tools away for the winter, there are a few things to take care of now to prepare your garden for next spring. Here is your Fall Garden Checklist.

 

Perennials

As a general rule, I leave perennials such as wildflowers and grasses stand through the winter. The forms and textures of plants such as little bluestem and switchgrass provide movement in the garden and should be left standing. Coneflowers, blackeyed susans and coreopsis are important seed sources for birds. The dark seed heads and stems look great with a back drop of little bluestem. I take note of plants that need to be divided and/or moved next February or March. Diseased plants with powdery mildew or rust should be removed. Those infected leaves will harm next year’s plants.

 

Containers

Even the best container plants start to fade this time of year. The annuals, vegetables or herbs that have been growing in them can be discarded into the compost pile. Ceramic pots need to be emptied of the soil and put away in the garage for the winter. Removing the soil now will prevent cracking the pot with frozen soil. The soil in plastic pots can be left in them, but I like to move them to a place out of the sun so they don’t fade. If the soil is tired, plan on refreshing it by mixing with some new potting soil with it or adding some compost or perlite. A little preparation this fall will have your pots ready when spring arrives.

 

Lawns

This is an important time for lawn care. Obviously, the leaves that fall must be removed or composted into the lawn. More frequent mowing/composting can take care of a majority of the leaves, but if you have large trees the leaves must be removed. A large covering of leaves will smother your lawn. It is also an ideal time to fertilize cool season grasses. The nutrients will be taken up and stored in the roots for vigorous growth next year. If you have a warm season lawn such as buffalograss, now is the perfect time to control winter annuals such as henbit, dandelions and bindweed. Spraying with a broadleaf weed killer such as 2,4-D will clean up your lawn for next season. Be sure you’re using a spray that is labeled for buffalograss.

 

Leaves

I purposely don’t remove some leaves in perennial beds to insulate the plants. In a shade garden, they are perfect as mulch. Just don’t let them get so thick that they smother out your woodland plants. Leaves make great compost that can be used in your garden or flower beds.

 

Annuals

I learned something new on our field trip to Lenora Larson’s garden. She has chosen annual varieties that self-seed, but that pollinators love. She lets the plants stand through the winter and then composts them into the soil where they grew last year. These composted plants are fantastic mulch and add nutrients back to the soil. The next season, she lightly thins the plants that germinate and the cycle is repeated the next year. Her plants are thriving and she has very few problems with disease or insects. Her approach to landscaping with pollinator-friendly wildflowers, annuals, grasses and shrubs was stunning. I have never seen so many pollinators in such a small area. Her home was an oasis for pollinators.

 

Trees

This is the worst time of the year to prune trees. Trees are going dormant and pruning now will encourage new growth that will not get hardened off before cold weather. It is better to take notes of trees that need pruning and remove suckers or limbs when the trees are completely dormant in November through January. Pruning now will only weaken the tree and reduce its winter hardiness.

 

Bulbs

If you like the spring bulbs, now is the time to plant. I prefer bulbs that naturalize and come back year after year. Narcissus and species tulips are great spring bloomers. They require little or no care and reward us each year with bright blooms. These bulbs are the harbingers of spring. Now is also the time to put away tender bulbs such as cannas, dahlias, and gladioli. Allow them to dry for a few days before storing them in a cool, dry area away from sunlight.

 

Weeds

Remove weeds when they are young. Getting after them now and keeping your gardens and display beds free of winter annual weeds such a henbit will mean less weeding next spring. A little effort now will allow more time to enjoy your garden next spring.

 

Spring seems like it is so far away, but it will be here before we know it. By doing a few simple tasks in your garden this fall, you will save yourself time and effort next season. Why not put your garden properly do bed this fall so you can enjoy it more next year? It will be worth your time.

Fall turkey hunting not your average season

 

If you like a good challenge, want to test your hunting prowess, or just want to shake up your fall hunting plans, consider adding a fall turkey hunt to your list. Spring turkey hunts are hugely popular, and given the time of year, it’s no surprise – it’s the first hunting season of the year, temperatures are comfortable, and action is everywhere. But come fall, action-packed turkey hunts can still be had, that is, if hunters are up to the challenge.

 

Hunting techniques used in the spring can prove less effective later in the year. Unlike the spring when mating is top priority, during the fall season, turkeys are gathering into winter flocks and are focused on finding food. Therefore, fall hunting is often a matter of finding birds, scouting their feeding areas and setting up an ambush point.

 

A hunting technique common in southern states is to break up a flock of turkeys, sometimes using a dog to scatter the birds, then hiding quietly as the birds begin to re-group. Birds will make a “kee-kee-run” call to locate flock members, and the hunter can use this call to an advantage. One thing that doesn’t change from spring to fall is the fact that good camouflage and well-timed movements are still keys to success.

 

The 2017 fall turkey hunting season runs from Oct. 1 – Nov. 28 and opens back up again from Dec. 11 – Jan. 31, 2018.

 

Hunters may take one turkey during the fall season. Resident fall turkey permits are $27.50 for hunters 16 and older and $7.50 for hunters 15 and younger. Nonresident fall turkey permits are $52.50 for hunters 16 and older and $12.50 for youth 15 and younger. Fall turkey permits are available wherever licenses are sold and at ksoutdoors.com.

 

For information on turkey hunting regulations, legal equipment, unit maps and public hunting areas, reference the 2017 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary and 2017 Kansas Hunting Atlas, or visit ksoutdoors.com.

Tuttle Creek State Park to host guided bike ride

 

Clip on a helmet, stretch out your legs, and prepare to experience Tuttle Creek State Park in a whole new way! In celebration of national Bike Your Park Day on Sept. 30, a 5-mile guided bike ride will be offered at Tuttle Creek State Park, 5800 River Pond Rd A, Manhattan. The free, family-friendly event will take place from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m., after which bikers can enjoy complimentary breakfast snacks.

 

The group will meet at the camp store, located in the River Pond Area prior to take-off.

 

There is no cost to participate; however, participants must bring their own bike and have an annual vehicle permit or purchase a daily vehicle permit, $5.00, to enter the park.

 

Bike Your Park with staff at Tuttle Creek State Park and see how fast you can pedal yourself to a good time.

Hike into the night Oct. 6 at Tuttle Creek State Park

 

If stepping into the unknown and going on an expedition is something that sounds fun to you, and you’re not too scared of the dark, here’s an event with your name on it – Tuttle Creek State Park’s Nite Hike. On Oct. 6, adventure-seeking hikers will embark on an hour-long hike through Tuttle Creek State Park from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

 

The hike is limited to the first 50 people who sign up. To secure your spot, call (785) 539-7941 or e-mail TuttleCreekSP@KS.gov.

 

The group will meet at the Tuttle Creek State Park office, 5800A River Pond Rd., prior to hiking into the dark. Hikers are encouraged to wear hiking-appropriate shoes, and bring water and a flashlight, glow stick or headlamp.

 

Grab a friend, lace up, and hike into the night!

Secretary Zinke declares October National Hunting and Fishing Month

 

From The Outdoor Wire

 

Just days before National Hunting and Fishing Day – which is held on the fourth Saturday of September every year – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke declared October will officially be recognized as National Hunting and Fishing Month at the Department. Zinke championed the order to recognize the lasting and positive impact of hunters and anglers on wildlife and habitat conservation in America. This order comes on the heels of several major sportsmen actions from Interior including the announcement September 20 of the addition of 600 acres of land in Arizona’s Santa Teresa Mountains to make Wilderness Areas accessible for hunting and fishing.

 

“I grew up in northwest Montana surrounded by public lands and waters. Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing with my dad and granddad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish. That’s something I want more families to experience, which is exactly why increasing access to public lands is so important,” said Secretary Ryan Zinke. “Hunters and anglers are the backbone of wildlife and habitat conservation in America, and they contribute billions of dollars to conservation. From my perspective, the more sportsmen we have in the woods and waters, the better our wildlife and land will be. Formally recognizing the contributions of hunters and anglers to wildlife and habitat conservation is long overdue.”

 

“Hunters, anglers, and target shooters are the best conservationists who contribute so much through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Richard Childress, second Vice President of the National Rifle Association, NASCAR driver, and honorary chair of Hunting and Fishing Day. “Last year, they contributed $1.2 billion toward conservation and protecting our natural resources. We need more mentors taking young people out and teaching them to hunt and fish, so I’m glad Secretary Zinke is promoting hunting and fishing at the federal level.”

 

The declaration was signed at the grand opening of the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri September 20. Event speakers included former Presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

 

President George H.W. Bush sent a video message with a virtual ribbon cutting. Earlier in the day Secretary Zinke scuba dove in the shark-filled aquarium and conducted a question and answer session with a fifth grade class of young conservationists.

 

Hunters and anglers contribute billions of dollars to conservation through initiatives like the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $25 and raises nearly $40 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Excise taxes on firearms, ammo and tackle also generate more than a billion dollars per year through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts.

 

This September and October, the Department of the Interior is setting its sights on the continued role that hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation.

 

Earlier this month, Secretary Zinke signed a directive to support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. The order expanded hunting, fishing and shooting on public lands and sought innovative solutions to open private land. It also focused on wildlife and habitat conservation and restoration as well as better collaboration with states, tribes and territorial governments. The move was widely praised by sportsmen and wildlife conservation organizations.

 

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 National Wildlife Refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers, and wildlife watchers.

 

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

 

“It’s imperative that we have people like Secretary Zinke speaking about and promoting hunting and fishing. It’s not only our heritage, it’s also the key to true conservation,” said Craig Morgan, a country music performer who performed at the event.

 

“It is refreshing that Secretary Zinke understands the value of hunting and fishing to American conservation,” said Major David Eaton, who spoke at the event. “The more public game lands become available to Americans, the better off our country will be.”

 

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments, calling for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish, hike, and experience the joy and beauty of those public lands.

 

Editor’s note: Unfortunately many of the recommendations by Secretary Zinke call for reducing the size of some monuments while opening other monuments to oil, gas and coal exploitation, negatively impacting the habitat available to wildlife and hunters on these public lands.

Secretary Zinke declares October National Hunting and Fishing Month

 

From The Outdoor Wire

 

Just days before National Hunting and Fishing Day – which is held on the fourth Saturday of September every year – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke declared October will officially be recognized as National Hunting and Fishing Month at the Department. Zinke championed the order to recognize the lasting and positive impact of hunters and anglers on wildlife and habitat conservation in America. This order comes on the heels of several major sportsmen actions from Interior including the announcement September 20 of the addition of 600 acres of land in Arizona’s Santa Teresa Mountains to make Wilderness Areas accessible for hunting and fishing.

 

“I grew up in northwest Montana surrounded by public lands and waters. Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing with my dad and granddad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish. That’s something I want more families to experience, which is exactly why increasing access to public lands is so important,” said Secretary Ryan Zinke. “Hunters and anglers are the backbone of wildlife and habitat conservation in America, and they contribute billions of dollars to conservation. From my perspective, the more sportsmen we have in the woods and waters, the better our wildlife and land will be. Formally recognizing the contributions of hunters and anglers to wildlife and habitat conservation is long overdue.”

 

“Hunters, anglers, and target shooters are the best conservationists who contribute so much through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Richard Childress, second Vice President of the National Rifle Association, NASCAR driver, and honorary chair of Hunting and Fishing Day. “Last year, they contributed $1.2 billion toward conservation and protecting our natural resources. We need more mentors taking young people out and teaching them to hunt and fish, so I’m glad Secretary Zinke is promoting hunting and fishing at the federal level.” The declaration was signed at the grand opening of the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri September 20. Event speakers included former Presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

 

President George H. W. Bush sent a video message with a virtual ribbon cutting. Earlier in the day Secretary Zinke scuba dove in the shark-filled aquarium and conducted a question and answer session with a fifth grade class of young conservationists.

 

Hunters and anglers contribute billions of dollars to conservation through initiatives like the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $25 and raises nearly $40 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Excise taxes on firearms, ammo and tackle also generate more than a billion dollars per year through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts.

 

This September and October, the Department of the Interior is setting its sights on the continued role that hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation.

 

Earlier this month, Secretary Zinke signed a directive to support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. The order expanded hunting, fishing and shooting on public lands and sought innovative solutions to open private land. It also focused on wildlife and habitat conservation and restoration as well as better collaboration with states, tribes and territorial governments. The move was widely praised by sportsmen and wildlife conservation organizations.

 

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 National Wildlife Refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers, and wildlife watchers.

 

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

 

“It’s imperative that we have people like Secretary Zinke speaking about and promoting hunting and fishing. It’s not only our heritage, it’s also the key to true conservation,” said Craig Morgan, a country music performer who performed at the event. “It is refreshing that Secretary Zinke understands the value of hunting and fishing to American conservation,” said Major David Eaton, who spoke at the event. “The more public game lands become available to Americans, the better off our country will be.”

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments, calling for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish, hike, and experience the joy and beauty of those public lands.

 

Editor’s note: Unfortunately many of the recommendations by Secretary Zinke call for reducing the size of some monuments while opening other monuments to oil, gas and coal exploitation, negatively impacting the habitat available to wildlife and hunters on these public lands.

Kansas State Parks Director elected to national post

 

Linda Lanterman, director of the Parks Division for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), was elected president of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) at their annual meeting held September 5-8 in Missoula, Montana. Lanterman has worked for KDWPT for 25 years and has been Parks Division director since 2010.

 

Lanterman oversees a staff of 120, 26 Kansas state parks and an annual budget of $12 million. She began her service with the department in the Human Resources Section, then served as the assistant chief of the Licensing section and assistant director of the Parks Division. She graduated from Wichita State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Administration degree in Accounting. The Kansas Recreation and Park Association named her a distinguished fellow in January 2015.

 

“I feel honored to be chosen President of NASPD,” Lanterman said. “America’s state parks are part of the fabric of our nation’s quality of life. Close to home, state parks in every state offer outdoor opportunities that provide lasting memories for our visitors to share with subsequent generations. America’s state parks are staffed with passionate and competent employees who work tirelessly to help create those memories. We want to support our staff and give them the tools to execute their jobs in the most efficient and passionate way.”

 

“Linda brings a diversity of state park experiences, from daily operations and grants administration to innovative budgeting strategies that help make state parks more fiscally sustainable,” said Lewis Ledford, NASPD executive director. “Her energy and resourcefulness will serve America’s state parks well in continuing to forge public and private partnerships and secure corporate support.”

 

About NASPD

 

The NASPD helps state parks effectively manage and administer their systems. Its mission is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health, and economy.

Duck hunters invited to free breakfast in Great Bend

 

Duck hunters and friends hitting the marsh on Oct. 7 are invited to stop by the Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) – located at the southeast corner of Cheyenne Bottoms along K-156 Highway – from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a free Hunter Appreciation Breakfast. Biscuits and gravy, coffee, and juice will be served. New this year will be a free dog retrieving demo with a hunt test training scenario for dog owners to try with their dog.

 

After filling up on a warm breakfast, hunters can explore Cheyenne Bottoms’ history through exhibits and displays at the education center, peruse through items in the Cheyenne Bottoms Ducks Unlimited Chapter raffle and silent auction, practice their marksmanship with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Laser Shot game, as well as share hunting stories with fellow hunters and KDWPT staff.

 

“Hunters and hunting is such an important part of the past, present, and future of Cheyenne Bottoms,” stated Curtis Wolf, KWEC director. “It is an honor to celebrate this tradition.”

 

The free breakfast is sponsored by the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau, and organized by the KWEC, KDWPT, and Ducks Unlimited.

 

For more information about the breakfast, call the KWEC at (877) 243-9268.

Relive history at 15th annual Fall River Rendezvous

 

Step back in time to when mountain men and American Indians roamed the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase territory. A time when the success of Lewis and Clark’s “Corps of Discovery” had others clamoring to follow in their footsteps, anxious to explore the unknown. Relive this time and more at the 15th Annual Fall River Rendezvous at the Fredonia Bay area of Fall River State Park. The days’ reenactments will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and visitors of all ages are invited to attend.

 

The one-day event aims to interpret the 1800s to 1840s with a traditional rendezvous when Native Americans and mountain men camped together to trade for supplies and furs. Activities will include exploring Native American and mountain men encampments, interacting with historical traders, a black powder shoot, tomahawk throw, skillet throw for ladies, and a kids’ gold rush.

 

For more information, contact park manager Kimberly Jones at (620) 637-2213. Find more information about Fall River State Park at KSOutdoors.com.

What happened to the tiny Key deer during Hurricane Irma?

 

By David Goodhue

Miami Herald

 

The federally protected Key deer were exposed to Hurricane Irma and authorities will assess their situation when it’s safe to return to the Keys.

 

Dan Clark superintendent of the National Key Deer Refuge, said his first priority as the massive storm approached was to evacuate National Wildlife Refuge personnel assigned to the area.

 

“After we receive information from Monroe County that it is safe to return and we can inhabit the Lower Keys, a post-storm assessment of our facilities and residences will be conducted to determine if we can operate,” Clark said.

 

The small deer, whose estimated numbers range from 800 to 1,000, live mostly on the Lower Keys islands of Big Pine Key and Little Torch Key.

 

It’s been a traumatic couple of years for the Keys treasures. First, after a nasty infection by the larvae of a parasitic fly called the screwworm began to infest the population in the fall of 2016. Not only did the screwworm take out a significant portion of the already-sensitive local deer population, it killed the animals slowly and painfully.

 

The infestation was finally eliminated after scientists released roughly 124 million sterile screwworm flies to mate with wild flies. The mating process results in eggs that never hatch. Five months after introducing the lab-made flies, the screwworm problem was over.

 

Then, earlier this summer, two young men – one from Miami-Dade County and the other from Broward – were arrested in Little Torch Key July 2 after a traffic stop by a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy revealed three live deer stowed in their car. Two does were in the back seat of the Hyundai Sonata, and a buck was in vehicle’s trunk.

 

The buck was badly injured in the ordeal and wildlife officials euthanized him. The men face federal poaching charges.

 

Now comes Irma, which has raked much of the Keys with its high winds, hard rain and damaging storm surges. The key deer habitat is only about 15 miles east of where Irma’s eye made landfall in the Keys Sunday morning.

What’s become of the key deer is not known. But, Clark said, not much could have been done to protect the wild animals from Mother Nature.

 

“Since the federal-trust resources on the Keys refuge are wild, we do not have specific plans to collect any deer,” Clark said. “We do not have the capacity to do so and husbandry following the hurricane would be extremely difficult.”

 

Like all other agencies planning to come back down to the Keys post-Irma, Clark said he and his staff have no idea what types of conditions to which they are returning so they can’t adequately plan their response when it comes to the deer.

 

“We will assess the status of all refuge resources when it is safe to do so and we have the ability to do so,” Clark said.