Category Archives: K-State Extension

4-H Game of Democracy 

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District Director 


The Southwind Extension District Iola Office is currently in the process of relocating from the Allen County Courthouse to 1006 N. State Street in Iola. While the move was unexpected, the new building is more visible and accessible to the public and we are looking forward to possibilities.

Moving is good for cleaning and each day brings a new discovery of informative and historical Extension publications. Most recently, the 1966 National 4-H Club Foundation “Game of Democracy” surfaced and I can’t help but be amazed at how relevant the information is today.

The forward states “Every phase of our daily life and the lives of those about us is touched by government. We ask our government to protect our well-being and it demands that we insure the well-being of others.” Additionally, “The 4-H program is often referred to as a democracy in action. 4-H teaches citizenship responsibility to its members in a democratic climate. Everyone is born a citizen, but citizenship needs to be learned.”

While the box, cards and instructions are more than 50 years old, the ideology of the game remains steadfast with 4-H. The Game of Democracy is intended to simulate learning experiences to help adolescents learn about our democratic society, and Kansas 4-H currently offers leadership and citizenship opportunities through work in 4-H clubs and project learning experiences.

If you want your family to explore ways to be involved with the community while gaining valuable hands on life skills then now is the time to join 4-H in the Southwind Extension District.

There are 21 4-H clubs in Allen, Bourbon, Neosho and Woodson Counties with club leaders who are motivated to teach your kids science, technology, engineering and math skills while involving them in club and project meetings that demonstrate leadership.

The Southwind District is currently celebrating our annual 4-H achievements and I continue to be impressed by the volume of community service that our clubs give back to local communities.

We have all been affected by the global pandemic, and sometimes I’m not even confident in where my workday or week will lead me. However, I know for certain that the 4-H program in the Southwind District is a strong and vibrant program with much to offer for families with rural or urban backgrounds and families who are interested in contributing to more vibrant local communities.

4-H really is a game of democracy – and while it has changed since 1966, 4-H continues to equip our youth with the skills it takes to lead our communities into a future full of hope and promise.

For more information about joining 4-H, visit and find the Southwind Extension District on Facebook.

Cooking As A Family

MaKayla Stroud. Submitted photo.

Submitted by MaKayla Stroud
Southwind Extension District
4-H Program Assistant

Cooking as a Family

Wash your hands, put on an apron, and gather your family into the heart of your home to create delicious dishes and more!

Whether it comes from a box mix or completely from scratch, spending time as a family in the kitchen has many benefits such as establishing culinary skills, making yummy food, and creating lifelong memories.

The first benefit of a family unit cooking together is building and improving culinary skills.

The kitchen is a great teaching environment to help your kids build lifelong skills that will help them nurture themselves and others.

Depending on the ages of children and their abilities, what can of recipes you can tackle together. You can even make it competitive by splitting into teams to see who can make the best meal or dish.

Obviously, the main reason to work with ingredients is to make yummy food. Studies show when the adults within a household help prepare and cook food with their children, better nutrition practices can be established earlier and continued throughout their lives.

Youth who are involved in the kitchen are educated about their food supply therefore making them informed consumers.

Another reward for working together with food is creating lifelong memories. When children grow up, they may not remember the exact dessert or meal you prepared with them however they will remember the laughs, stories, and fun they had with their family.

Yes, it might take longer to prepare & cook your dish, however you are completing a daily task while writing another story within your book of memories.

So, go ahead and grab a family favorite from your recipe box or cookbook and get together soon so you can make a delicious meal while improving your cooking skills and creating a lifetime of memories.

If you are interested in other family fun ideas, go to our Facebook page or YouTube channel named Southwind District 4-H or visit for more youth development resources.

Corn Marketing Workshop

Program Announcement

Event: “Winning The Game” Corn Marketing Workshop,

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 in Neosho County Fairground Community Building, Corner of N Woods & W Girard St. in Erie, Kansas from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

K-State Research and Extension presents “Winning-The-Game” Corn Marketing Workshop to be held Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at the Neosho County Fairground Community Building in Erie, Kansas from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. This corn marketing workshop will focus on developing pre-harvest marketing strategies for the 2021 Kansas Corn crop. The emphasis will be on using cost of production and seasonal price trend tendencies to develop seasonally flexible 2021 corn marketing plans for Kansas farmers. A variety of marketing tools will be used in the workshop including forward, basis and hedge-to-arrive contracts, short futures hedges, and put/call options.

Instructors for the workshop are Mark Nelson, Director of Commodities for the Kansas Farm Bureau, and Daniel O’Brien, Extension Agricultural Economist, Kansas State University. Preregister by contacting any of the following Wildcat or Southwind Extension District offices; Girard (620-784-8233) or Erie (620-224-3826). Pre-registration cost is $0, but there will be a $5 registration fee at the door. Attendance is limited to the first 40 registrants to be within COVID-19 safety guidelines. The workshop series is sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau, and the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center. Local sponsors for the Erie workshop include: Frontier Farm Credit, Community National Bank, and Home Savings Bank.

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K – State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer

Supporting Family Caregivers

Barbara Stockebrand. K-State Extension Agent. Submitted photo.

If you are interested in statistics, here are some staggering figures to think about. There are over 44 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers to family, friends, and neighbors. Family caregivers provide an overwhelming 90% of long-term care in America. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, the value of the unpaid care these millions of caregivers provide is estimated to be worth $375 billion.

November is National Family Caregivers Month. This month is set aside to honor, recognize and support the unpaid caregiver. They do much to keep our families and communities strong while sharing their devotion to those for whom they are providing care.

Caregiving can often have a significant impact on the life of the caregiver in a number of different ways. It can make maintaining their own physical and mental health more difficult. Many are trying to balance work and some sort of social life at the same time they are providing care for a loved one.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, feelings of stress, worry, and isolation may have become familiar to all of us. Isolation has become a bigger issue for the family caregiver. They may curtail their outings and contact with others, due to current Covid concerns, and even more as we are entering the typical flu season.

Despite the current situation, caregiving-as-usual continues. Most family caregivers carry on with their commitment silently. Almost 1 in 10 report they have no one to talk to about private matters and 1 in 5 say they have no one to call for help.

The need for caregivers is expected to continue to grow as the US older adult population increases. Here are some tips for family caregivers:

–Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!

–Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.

–Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.

–Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.

–Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.

–Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help when you need it.

–Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.

–Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.

–Make sure legal documents are in order.

–Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is.

What can we do to support a day-to-day family caregiver? Communicate with them and learn what we can do to help. While we may want to visit and help within the home setting, understand that the caregiver may not be comfortable with that offer at this point in time. Forcing the matter may only lead to hard feelings and extra stress for the caregiver.

For more on support of caregivers, contact the Yates Center Southwind Extension District Office at 620-625-8620. K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Early November is Time to Control Lawn Weeds and Fertilize

Krista Harding
District Extension Agent, Horticulture
Southwind Extension District
111 S. Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Office: 620-244-3826
Cell: 620-496-8786

This fall has been a pretty good one so far weather-wise in my opinion. But it won’t be long and winter will be upon us. Before the bitter cold hits, a couple of lawn tasks still need to be done.
Lawn weeds are probably the last thing on your mind right now. But think back to last spring. Did you have a purple cast to your lawn from henbit or a good crop of dandelions? If so, believe it or not, they were already growing in your lawn last fall!
Cool season broadleaf weeds such as henbit, dandelions and chick weed all germinate in the cool moist periods of September and October. They overwinter as small plants, barely visible unless you get down close to the ground to look. Once warm weather arrives in the spring, the plants grow rapidly and flower.
Fall control is ideal for these cool season broadleaf weeds. The weeds are storing food in their roots and will send a leaf applied herbicide to their roots as well. The herbicides will translocate to the roots and will kill the plants from the roots up. These plants are also small and easily controlled right now.
There are several products on the market that are effective on these fall germinating weeds. Herbicides such as 2,4-D or combination products that contain 2,4-D, MCCP and Dicamba, sold under the trade names of Trimec, Weed-B-Gon, or Weed-Out, can be used. A product called Weed Free Zone is also an option. It contains the three active ingredients mentioned above plus carfentrazone.
Newly planted lawns should not be treated with any herbicide until the new grass seedlings have been mowed two or three times depending on the product. Read and follow label directions closely.
Herbicide drift can be a problem during the spring when warm temperatures prevail along with winds. The cooler fall temperatures and the dormant state of most plants reduce this problem considerably, making it an ideal time for application.
As we enter November, it is also the time to give cool-season lawns the last nitrogen application of the season. Why November? November is a good time because it will really help the grass next spring. As the top growth slows due to the cool temperatures in November, grass plants continue making food (carbohydrates). Carbohydrates that are not used in growth are stored in the crown and other storage tissues in the plant. These reserves help the turfgrass green up earlier in the spring and sustain growth into May without the need for early spring nitrogen application.
How much fertilizer should you apply? One to 1½ pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area is sufficient. A quick nitrogen carrier such as urea or ammonium sulfate should be used.
Take action now to have a beautiful, weed-free lawn next spring!
Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to
Southwind District. She may be reached at or 620-244-3826.
K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4-H Leadership Project

Jennifer Terrell, K-State Extension Agent

Submitted by Jennifer Terrell

4-H Leadership

In the leadership project, youth will learn how to bring out the best in themselves. Youth will learn about the skills it takes to be a leader such as: understanding themselves, communicating, getting along with others, learning, making decisions, plus managing and working with groups. The 4-H Program is a great opportunity for youth to master the skills of being a great leader with their club and community.

There is 4-H Curriculum that can be purchased for anyone interested in leadership project. Here is a breakdown of what youth can learn at different levels:

Ages 7-9

  • Determine what is important to you

  • Learn how others feel

  • Learn how to be responsible

  • Learn group cooperation

Ages 10-13

  • Participate in a trust walk

  • Learn to be accountable and dependable

  • Practice teamwork in achieving a goal

  • Learn meeting manners

Ages 14-18

  • Learn to accept differences in people 

  • Accept your own strengths and weaknesses

  • Develop and participate in an interview process

  • Identify different leadership styles

In addition to the curriculum, youth are also offered the opportunity to attend project meetings held by volunteers. Each year, youth are able to demonstrate their hard work locally at the county fair and depending on age and placing, the Kansas State Fair.

The leadership project is a great opportunity for youth to learn important life skills. For more information about this project, contact Jennifer K. Terrell, 4-H Youth Development for K-State Research and Extension – Southwind District at or 620-244-3826.

Donut Hole: Who Pays What Under Medicare Part D Drug Plans in 2021

Joy Miller, RD, LD
Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent
Adult Development and Aging
Family Resource Management
K-State Research and Extension
Southwind Extension District
210 S. National
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Office: 620-223-3720
Fax: 620-223-0332


You might be familiar with the acronym CMS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  CMS is the federal agency that administers Medicare.  Annually, they revise the parameters for the standard drug Medicare Advantage and Part D plans to account for increased prescription drug costs.  The parameters include the four phases of a Medicare drug plan- deductible, initial coverage phase, coverage gap (or donut hole), and catastrophic coverage.  Depending on what medications a Medicare beneficiary is prescribed will depend on how many phases one might enter, varying the costs of prescriptions through out the year.  

The first phase of a Medicare drug plan is the Deductible Phase, this is the amount one must pay each year for prescriptions before a plan pays its share.  Deductibles vary between plans, the upper limit for 2021 is $435.  Not all plans have a deductible and not all medications are subject to the full drug cost in this phase. 

Once the deductible phase is met, a beneficiary enters the Initial Coverage Phase and pays a copayment or coinsurance for covered drugs.  The amount paid will depend on if it is a generic or brand name, tier classification, and a plan’s drug formulary.  This phase continues until a total of $4,130 (2021) is spent by the beneficiary and the drug plan.   

The Medicare drug Coverage Gap phase (or “donut hole”) was officially closed in 2020, but that doesn’t mean people won’t pay anything.  Entering this phase, a beneficiary will pay a co-insurance of 25% of the full cost of a drug for generic and brand name prescriptions.  The insurance company and drug manufacturers are responsible for the other 75%.  It is important to know if or when and how much you might have to pay for prescriptions during this phase. 

Once $6,550 (2021) has been reached, the beneficiary enters the Catastrophic Coverage phase.  During this phase, copays or coinsurance significantly lower for the for remainder of the yearDrug costs are now a co-insurance of 5% of the cost for each prescription or $3.60 for generics and $8.95 for brand-name drugs, whichever is greater. The other 95% of the costs are covered by the plan and government.  

Medicare plans keep track of how much money is spent out of pocket for covered drugs and progression through coverage phases and should appear in your monthly statements. 

During Open Enrollment, October 15-December 7, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to review current insurance plans and shop for a new oneA Senior Health Insurance Counselor (SHICK) can assist you with a personalized drug plan comparison to determine your expected financial costs and if you will enter more than one phase.  If you have questions or would like a one-to-one appointment, contact the Southwind Extension office for a free, confidential, and unbiased session in Fort Scott, Erie, Iola, and Yates Center Southwind Extension offices. 

Follow us on Facebook @southwindextensiondistrict or Instagram @southwind_ext. For more information, contact Joy Miller at or by calling 620-223-3720. 




Keeping Halloween Fun and Safe During a Pandemic

Cassidy Lutz. Submitted photo.

Cassidy Lutz
Southwind Extension District
4-H Program Assistant

As October 31st approaches, many families are thinking about Halloween plans and wondering how to celebrate safely this year. In the times of COVID-19, one could argue that Halloween is the most pandemic friendly holiday. Whether you choose to be a ghost, goblin, or ghoul, many creative and fun costumes include masks or one can be incorporated easily.

Many traditions practiced on this holiday are perfectly acceptable and safe to do during the time of a pandemic. Pumpkin carving and scary movie marathons are both activities that can be done from the comfort of your own home with those in your household. If you have loved ones over the age of 65 or at high risk for getting sick, consider setting up virtual options such, such as Zoom, so your loved ones don’t miss out on the celebration.

Just like any other year, there are things to keep in mind when planning for a safe trick-or-treating experience:

  • Add reflective tape to costumes, have kids carry glow sticks, or encourage them to carry a flashlight after dark so they are visible to cars
  • Address the importance of staying on sidewalks and looking both ways before crossing streets
  • Encourage kids to eat healthy meals as normal before the trick-or-treating fun begins, this will help reduce the urge to gorge out on those tasty sweet treats
  • Never let a child go door to door alone
  • Remind them to visit houses with exterior lights on, stay at the doorway to accept treats, and never enter the house unless it is a family member or family friend they are visiting

This time of year should be enjoyable for all ages of people. Be sure to follow your community guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. By preparing yourself and your youth for what to expect, you can create a more enjoyable time for yourself and your loved ones. Enjoy this opportunity to rewind back to a “more normal” holiday with your family and friends! Happy Halloween, 2020 style!


Starlite FCE Minutes

Starlite FCE October 15, 2020


The October meeting of the Starlite FCE was held October 15th at the Yeager building at the fairgrounds.

President Glenda Miller called the meeting to order, and passed out depression kits to lighten to mood with the Covid situation.  Joyce Allen led the members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Club Collect.


Thirteen members were present.  They reported that they had volunteered 11 ½ hours and had recycled 55 pounds of paper.  Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.  Doris Ericson presented the treasure report.


Glenda announced that Betty Johnson, Jean Holy, Joyce Gobl and Clarice Russell all had birthdays this month.  She also announced that Ann Ludlum had not accepted the nomination to be secretary and announced that Terri Williams had agreed to serve as secretary.  Del Parks moved that Terri become the secretary for 2021, Betty seconded the motion, motion carried.  The officers for 2021 are Glenda Miller; president, Joyce Allen; vice president, Doris Ericson; treasurer and Terri Williams; Secretary.


Betty Johnson installed the 2021 officers.


Under Old business, Glenda reminded the club that we are collecting ink cartridges for the state scholarship.  It was also announced that the Fall training and recognition will be held in Parsons on November 5th.


New business consisted of ways to honor veterans.  Glenda passed our yellow ribbons to be displayed to show our support.  She also suggested we display your flags and send cards to encourage veterans.

Voting is also a way to support them.

Deb Lust announced that Veterans Day will be on Wednesday this year and to get with her about the Buddy poppy distribution.

Claudia Wheeler moved that the club purchase a wreath for Wreaths across America and donate $25 to the Wounded Warrior fund, Joyce Allen seconded it, motion carried.

Glenda also reminded us to start collecting socks, gloves and Christmas cups for the Tri-Valley clients Christmas party.


October is Nation FCE month.  FCE stands for Family and Community Education.  Our mission is to strengthen individuals, families and communities through continuing education, developing leadership and community action.  Now is the time to join for the upcoming year, we would love to have you join us.  We meet on the third Thursday of the month at 2:00.


Terri Williams presented the lesson of “Where is the Land Down Under” and provided samples of dishes from Australia.


Deb Lust moved the meeting be adjourned, Doris Ericson seconded the motion, motion carried.


After the meeting members enjoyed chocolate éclair cake which was provided by Betty Johnson and Glenda Miller as part of the installation ceremony.  Claudia Wheeler and Karen Peery provided nuts, candy, cider and water as well.


Prepared by Terri Williams

How Is Your Surge Capacity?

Barbara Stockebrand


I overheard a conversation in our office the other day that included, “I just want normal, whatever that is anymore.” No one has escaped the insecurities that has taken place since Covid became a pandemic.

There are days I just feel ‘off’. I don’t feel bad physically, but I really can’t put a finger on it. Sometimes it’s a lack of focus, or I forget things easily, because a routine has changed. I read an article recently that seemed to hit the nail on the head for me. Maybe you can relate. I’ll share some thoughts from “Our Brains Struggle to Process This Much Stress” from Elemental by Tara Haelle.

When we find ourselves in an emergency, we experience an adrenaline rush that presents a fight or flight type of reaction. We can think more clearly and react more quickly – often reacting before we have a chance to think about it. The incident is usually over quickly and our hormones return to normal.

Unlike the boost of energy of an adrenaline rush, in the early weeks of the pandemic we were using ‘surge capacity’ to function. Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems—mental and physical—that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters. However, pandemics can stretch on indefinitely.

In the case of natural disasters, we can see the end results of the physical damage that has been done. With a pandemic the harm is ongoing and invisible. Many systems that we work with everyday are not working normally right now. We might think we should be used to this by now, yet, we’ve never experienced a pandemic before.

Our surge capacity may be running on empty. We have ups and downs and often feel depleted or burned out – all from dealing with chronic stress. Those who are problem solvers and are used to getting things done may feel a harder hit, because none of that is possible right now.

Understanding ambiguous loss – any loss that’s unclear and lacks a resolution – may be helpful. It’s not a death, but in the case of the pandemic, there has been a loss of a way of life.

How do we adjust to a ‘new normal’ when there is indefinite uncertainty? Here are some tips shared by Pauline Boss, PhD, a family therapist and professor emeritus of social sciences at the University of Minnesota.

–Accept that life is different now. This does not mean we are giving up. It means quit fighting reality so we can place our mental energy into things that are constructive.

–Expect less from yourself. With the losses we have experienced, take some time to reflect to find out what rhythms of life you need right now.

–Recognize the different aspects of grief. The familiar stages of grief apply to this pandemic –anger, denial, depression, and acceptance—all concepts in facing loss. Acceptance might mean choosing to have a good time in spite of the pandemic.

–Look for activities that fulfill you. Self-care has always been included as a good coping skill. Unfortunately, the pandemic may have taken away some of those activities, such as meeting with friends for coffee or your regular bunko night. One thing we have control over is our daily lives. ‘Do it Yourself ‘ projects like gardening, painting, and house projects, for example, could feed that fulfillment need.

–Focus on maintaining and strengthening important relationships. Social support systems and remaining connected to people are most important when facing adversity. This includes helping others even when we are feeling used up ourselves. It’s a win-win strategy in helping overcome our sense of helplessness and loss of control as we are doing something to help someone else.

–Begin slowly building your resilience account. Like a bank account, we may have overdrawn our resilience account over the past few months. We need to gradually build up our life practices to have something to fall back on when life gets out of sorts. Starting small with focuses on nutrition, sleep, exercise, meditation, self-compassion, gratitude, connection, and saying ‘no’ are basic needs and great areas to begin a foundation.

Do a little bit every day and you will start building momentum in re-building your surge capacity. Make sure to give yourself some slack when a link in your new routine chain breaks, and be ready to start again.

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4-H Week: Oct. 4-10

Jennifer Terrell, K-State Extension Agent

Southwind District Youth to Celebrate

National 4-H Week: October 4-10

Every year, National 4-H Week sees millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni come together to celebrate the many positive youth development opportunities offered by 4-H. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week, Opportunity4All, is a campaign that was created by National 4-H Council to rally support for Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and identify solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America.

With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, can play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youth, families and communities across the country. In 4-H, we believe every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe every child should have the skills they need to make a difference in the world.

Southwind District 4-H will observe National 4-H Week this year by highlighting some of the inspirational 4-H youth in our community who are working tirelessly to support each other and their communities.

We believe youth perspectives are so important and a solution to eliminating the opportunity gap, because young people come with new ideas and new ways of seeing the world,” explains Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of National 4-H Council. By encouraging diverse voices and innovative actions, 4-H believes that solutions can be found to address the educational, economic and health issues that have created the opportunity gap.

The Southwind District 4-H members, volunteers, and staff will be celebrating this week with radio spots, news columns, National Spirit Day on the 7th, window displays, and social media posts. Check out Southwind District 4-H on Facebook and YouTube to see our 4-H pride this week! Towards the end of the week is the Kansas 484H project where youth will be demonstrating their skills in 48 hours of community service.

In Southwind District, more than 530 4-H youth and over 100 volunteers from the community are involved in 4H. With over 30 projects offered within Kansas 4-H and the Southwind District, the 4-H program has something for everyone. What other youth organization can young people be a part of that promotes involvement of the entire family? Not to mention all of the life skills that youth learn by attending monthly club meetings.

To learn more about how you can get involved, reach out to Jennifer Terrell, 4-H Youth Development Agent at or call 620-244-3826. Information can also be found by visiting or searching Southwind District 4-H on social media.

About 4-H

4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Learn more about 4-H at, find us on Facebook at Southwind District 4-H and on YouTube with Southwind District 4-H.


Landscape Improvements Now Will Bring Big Dividends Next Spring

Krista Harding
District Extension Agent, Horticulture
Southwind Extension District
111 S. Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Office: 620-244-3826
Cell: 620-496-8786

Fall and spring are my favorite seasons. Finally, some cooler temperatures have arrived and it is actually feeling more like fall! I encourage you to get outside and enjoy the fall season. It is the perfect time to do some tasks around your landscape that will help next spring.

First, let’s talk lawn weeds. I know, they are probably the last thing on your mind since we are winding down the mowing season. Believe it or not, it is the ideal time to tackle those weeds. Not next spring when you fire the mower up again!

Cool season broadleaf weeds such as henbit, dandelions and chick weed all germinate in the cool moist periods of September and October. They overwinter as small plants, barely visible unless you get down close to the ground to look. Once warm weather arrives in the spring, the plants grow rapidly and flower.

Fall control is ideal for these cool season broadleaf weeds. The weeds are storing food in their roots and will send a leaf applied herbicide to their roots as well. The herbicides will translocate to the roots and will kill the plants from the roots up. These plants are also small and easily controlled right now.

There are several products on the market that are effective on these fall germinating weeds. Herbicides such as 2,4-D or combination products that contain 2,4-D, MCCP and Dicamba, sold under the trade names of Trimec, Weed-B-Gon, or Weed-Out, can be used. A product called Weed Free Zone is also an option. It contains the three active ingredients mentioned above plus carfentrazone.

Newly planted lawns should not be treated with any herbicide until the new grass seedlings have been mowed two or three times depending on the product. Read and follow the label directions closely.

Next, let’s talk flower bulbs. Bulbs are a good addition to any landscape or garden because they offer a variety of bloom color, flowering time, plant height, and shape. Now is the time to get those bulbs in the ground!

Bulbs can be planted in a variety of locations including around house foundations, under deciduous shrubs and trees, along borders, in perennial beds, and rock gardens. You can also plant them in containers and even on steep slopes.

When planted along a foundation, bulbs will add color in the early spring if planted in a grouping of twelve or more bulbs. If you have evergreen shrubs planted along a foundation, they will provide a nice background for planting of bulbs. Bulbs will “pop” with color in contrast to the green of the shrubs.

A border of bulbs planted along the edge of the lawn will add a splash of color to the lawn area. Or consider planting low growing bulbs around the edge of a flower bed to add interest. You can add them directly into a perennial bed. The bulbs will bloom in March, April and May before perennials start to grow. Make sure to locate the bulbs so the dying foliage will not be noticed.

Both spring and summer bulbs can be planted in portable containers. The nice thing about container plantings is their versatility.

For spring bulbs, once bloom is past, the container can be moved to a location out of sight while the foliage matures. Summer bulbs will add color all summer long to areas such as a patio or deck.
Keep in mind that planting bulbs of one variety or color in mass will have greater visual impact. This will provide uniform color and texture that is pleasing to the eye. With bulbs such as tulips or daffodils, plant at least twelve bulbs of one variety in a grouping. Smaller bulbs should be planted in groups of fifty to have visual impact.

Take action now to have a beautiful, weed-free, colorful lawn next spring!

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at or 620-244-3826.