NDSU Extension Service - Traill County


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Traill County Extension

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Apple Harvest SeasonApple tree

It’s apple picking time! The sun is shining, the air is crisp and cool, and our apple trees are loaded with fruit. It’s a great time of the year!

Almost all cultivars are ready to be picked now. If you are not sure, an apple is ready for picking when its background skin color turns from green to yellow. The fruit comes off easily when harvested. Use an upward and twisting motion when harvesting fruit. Do not yank down on branches. This can tear off the knobby, branch spurs, where next year’s fruits will come.

Apples on trees can tolerate temps approaching 26°F before frost damage occurs. If they freeze on the tree, wait for the fruits to thaw before harvesting. Frozen fruits should be used promptly.

Store fruits in a cool (34–40°F), humid (90% RH), dark place. A refrigerator is best, but a root cellar or unheated garage is acceptable.

Tips on Rodent Control

MouseThe house mouse and Norway rat are two of the most destructive pests in the United States. Both rodents can be a problem in the home, but the rat is the more serious problem in warehouses, urban areas and agricultural buildings. They both eat a wide range of foods and do considerable gnawing to wear down their continuously growing incisors. The reproductive potential of a single pair of rats or mice is staggering, thus, you should control an infestation quickly.

To control a rodent infestation, your primary goal is to reduce the population. You can do this by trapping, or through the use of rodenticides (poisons). Trapping with the right size common wooden base snap traps for rats or mice can be very effective, but requires some effort and skill.

Some helpful tips are: (1) use plenty of traps, 1 every 10 feet or so is enough; (2) use bait the rodents are already eating, if at all possible. Otherwise, rolled oats in peanut butter makes good bait; (3) put the baited traps out but do not set them for a few days to let the rodents get used to them; and (4) place the traps near a wall or obstacle with the trigger next to the wall.

Rodenticides fall into two categories, multiple-dose anticoagulants and single-dose poisons. The anticoagulants are much less dangerous to humans and are available in ready-to-use bait formulations. The rodents need to eat them for several days to get a lethal dose. Several new anticoagulants do not require multiple feedings. The single-dose rodenticides are more dangerous and are generally unavailable to the public without training and certification. Any infestation severe enough to justify use of single-dose rodenticide is best handled by a professional pest control operator. Some tips on the safe use of rodenticides include keeping them away from children and pets, keeping the bait fresh, and using covered or protected bait stations in places rodents frequent.

After you reduce the population, clean up and sanitize the infested area. Remove all potential food. As a last step, rodent-proof the home or building by sealing all access points such as cracks, utility openings or broken windows. Clean up and rodent-proofing are done last to avoid disturbing the rodent's environment, which can make them very wary and more difficult to remove.

Fall Harvest FAQsPumpkin

A change is in the air! Cool mornings have now become our norm. Below are a couple common questions I receive in the office this time of year:

When to Harvest Pumpkins? Harvest before a killing frost (28°F). Leave a few inches of stem attached. Do not bruise. Cure in a warm (80°F) spot for 10 days for long-term storage.

When to Harvest Squash? Harvest before a killing frost (28°F). Leave at least one inch of stem. Wipe but don’t wash fruit. Except for acorns, cure in a warm (80°F) spot for 10 days to toughen skin for long-term storage.

When to Harvest Apples? The background color (seen at the top and side of fruit) begins to turn from green to yellow. Fruits come off easily when harvested. Use an upward, twisting motion when harvesting.

Farmer Rancher Grant Program

Farmers and ranchers have great insight when it comes to improving their production systems. They may choose to change their farming system to reduced tillage, limit off-farm inputs, reduce erosion, add cover crops, create more time for family or community activities, learn marketing skills, or find other ways to enhance their businesses. Farmers and ranchers can apply to the North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) for grant funding to implement their novel ideas. NCR-SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program is a competitive grants program for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects. If you are a farmer or rancher, or if you work with producers, consider getting involved. The call for proposals for the Farmer and Rancher grants in now available, and the deadline for submission is December 7, 2017 at 4 p.m. For more information about SARE projects in North Dakota and the call for proposal, contact one of the two North Dakota state coordinators: Karl Hoppe at 701-652-2951 or Bill Hodous at 701-662-7030.

Before writing a grant proposal, determine a clear project goal, explore previous and current research and determine what previous grant recipients have accomplished. It often helps to contact ND NCR-SARE or NDSU Extension agents to share ideas and invite participation.

-The maximum Farmer Rancher grant amounts are $7,500 for an individual, $15,000 for a team of two farmers/ranchers (not from the same farm), or $22,500 for a group. These grants are intended for ideas initiated by farmers and ranchers.

-Projects may last up to 24 months.

-Grants support producers who are protecting natural resources, enhancing communities, and boosting profitability.

-Outreach and networking multiplies producer project results.

Ripening Tomatoes off the VineGreen Tomatoes

Summer is coming to an end and the days are getting shorter. There are going to be lots of green tomatoes on the vine when the first hard frost strikes. Any tomatoes showing a pink blush will ripen off the vine. Clean these blushing fruits. Discard any with disease spots or cracks since these will rot before ripening. The blushing tomatoes should be placed out of direct sunlight. If placed in a sunny area, the outer skin of each tomato will redden before its inner flesh ripens and develops flavor. Tomatoes ripen best under room temperature. Higher or lower temperatures will lead to less taste and a higher incidence of rotting. Set the tomatoes on a sheet of newspaper, and then place another sheet over the fruits. This will trap ethylene gas, which tomatoes naturally emit when ripening. Some gardeners individually wrap each tomato— that’s great. You can also place apples nearby since they emit lots of ethylene. Check the tomatoes every day or so. Dispose of any that begin to rot. When a tomato ripens, enjoy one of the last tastes of summer.

RaspberriesPruning Raspberries is easy

Raspberries must be pruned every year to produce good yields of high quality fruit.

Almost all raspberries grown in North Dakota are summer-bearing red raspberries grown in a narrow hedgerow. These are easy to prune. Here’s how:

An individual raspberry cane lives for only two years. The first year it develops into a green cane called a primocane. In its second year the cane will bloom, bear fruit in summer, and then die. A second year cane is called a floricane.

After your last harvest, prune out the canes that bore fruit. Such canes have served their purpose and will die this fall. These floricanes are reddish brown and woody. They are easy to distinguish from the green primocanes. Use a lopping shears and remove the floricanes at ground level. Removing these dying canes will prevent diseases and give the primocanes space to grow.

In late March to April, thin the remaining canes to allow 4–5 sturdy canes per foot of row. This will maximize yield and fruit quality.

You may notice winter injury on cane tips. Remove this damage. This is also a good time to trim canes to about 5 feet in height.

The width of the bed should be no more than 18 inches across. If wider, the inner canes will not get the sunlight they need for quality fruit production. Canes that emerge outside the bed should be trimmed out.

Soybean Cyst Nematode Sampling Program

The NDSU Extension Service and the North Dakota Soybean Council are working together again to coordinate a SCN soil testing program. A total of 75 SCN soil test bags in Traill County will be available on a first come first serve basis.

As in the past, pre-labeled SCN soil test bags have been sent to the Traill County Extension office. The bags (and instruction sheets) have arrived to the Extension office. Growers can pick up to three SCN soil test bags each. Each bag is pre-marked with billing information that will be covered by the North Dakota Soybean Council. To submit a sample, fill the bag with soil, provide site information and send the bag to the partner lab (Agvise). Results will be mailed directly to the growers and the laboratory fees are covered by checkoff dollars to the North Dakota Soybean Council.

Traill County Courthouse


NDSU Extension Service/Traill County
114 Caledonia Ave. W.
Box 730 (mailing address)
Hillsboro, ND 58045
Phone:  701-636-5665   
Fax: 701-636-5666

Office Hours:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Summer Office Hours:
(Memorial Day - Labor Day)
7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.,  Monday-Thursday
8 a.m. - Noon, Friday

Related Links:
NDSU Extension Service
North Dakota Department of Agriculture

Traill County
City of Hillsboro
Cities of Mayville-Portland
City of Hatton

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