Extension Information

Clayton County ISU Extension & Outreach Media Packet for 10/10/19      

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

9:00 AM - 11:30 AM   Roadside, Forest, and Aquatic Pest Management Pesticide CIC   Extension Office, Elkader

Thursday, October 17, 2019

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM   4-H Leader Training   Extension Office, Elkader

Sunday, October 20, 2019

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   4-H CItizenship Meeting   Fayette County Fairgrounds

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM   4-H County Council Meeting   Extension Office, Elkader

Monday, October 21, 2019

6:30 PM - 9:00 PM   Junior 4-H Record Book Interviews   Edgewood Community Center

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

6:30 PM - 9:00 PM   Junior 4-H Record Book Interviews   Extension Office, Elkader

Iowa Master Conservationist Program concludes in Clayton and Fayette County

Elkader, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach completed the Iowa Master Conservationist Program on Thursday, October 3 at Osborne Conservation Center. The program took place at many locations around Clayton and Fayette county, providing participants with hands-on interaction with the diversity of the state’s natural resources. The program taught the participants about Iowa’s natural ecosystems and the diversity of conservation challenges and opportunities that exist in the region. Graduates learned to make informed choices for leading and educating others to improve conservation in Iowa.

The 16 participants viewed approximately 12 hours of online curriculum and gathered for 7 face-to-face meetings. The online modules included lessons and resources by Iowa State subject-matter experts to be reviewed at the participants’ own pace at home. Module topics include conservation history and science, understanding Iowa ecosystems, implementing conservation practices in human dominated landscapes and developing skills to help educate others about conservation practices.

The face-to-face meetings built on the online lessons and were held at Osborne Nature Center, Kerns Tree Farm and Big Spring Trout Hatchery in Clayton County and Eric Boehm Farm, Rush Farm, Gilbertson Nature Center and a tour through the Otter Creek watershed in Fayette County. Each face-to-face meeting was led by local subject-matter experts to demonstrate how the principles covered in the online curriculum play out locally. 

If you would like more information about the Iowa Master Conservationist Program, contact your Clayton County Extension office at 245-1451.

 Pictured are Iowa Master Conservationists: left to right, front row: John Gnagy, Susan Stevens, Sue Massman, Isaac Sedylmayr, Tom Healy. Back row: Charles Carroll, Dan Ohloff, Andrew Henderson, Jed Siebrecht, Pat Hunsberger, Phil Kahler, Jim Beeghly, Larry Stone. Missing from the picture: Brad Blackett, Roxanne Rawson, and Kourtney Pleggenkuhle.

Ten Towns Selected for 2020 Community Visioning Program

AMES, Iowa -- Ten Iowa communities have been selected to participate in the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program in 2020.

The award-winning program integrates technical landscape planning and design techniques with sustainable community action to assist community leaders and volunteers in making sound and meaningful decisions about the local landscape.

The 2020 visioning communities are Avoca, Elkader, Fairfax, Lost Nation, Madrid, Mingo, Mount Pleasant, Polk City, Reinbeck and Wellsburg.Iowa map showing location of ten communities.

The Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation in partnership with Iowa State University Extension Landscape Architecture and Trees Forever, an Iowa-based nonprofit organization with a mission to plant trees and care for the environment.

In addition, professional landscape architects offer expertise in creating conceptual design plans for the communities.

To qualify for the visioning program, a community must have a population of fewer than 10,000, existing transportation-related issues and a committee of volunteers willing to dedicate their time and talent to the visioning process.

Since 1996, 241 Iowa communities have benefited from the Visioning Program.

Yard and Garden: Getting Rid of Autumn Leaves

October 3, 2019, 9:17 am | Richard Jauron, Willy Klein

AMES, Iowa – The rustle of leaves underfoot, children playing in piles of leaves and the blending of bright leaf colors are the positive aspects of lawns covered in leaves during autumn. However, homeowners must decide when and how to remove fallen leaves before the Iowa winter freezes them in place. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists respond to questions about removing and using autumn leaves. To have additional questions answered, contact Hortline at hortline@iastate.edu or 515-294-3108.lawn covered with golden tree leaves by andreusK/stock.adobe.com.

Do I need to remove the leaves on my lawn?  

Turfgrass plants utilize light, water and nutrients to manufacture food. In fall, lawn areas beneath large trees are often completely covered with leaves. The leaf debris prevents the turfgrass plants from manufacturing and storing food prior to winter. Additionally, the leaves of some tree species mat down readily and may smother the grass. Thick layers of leaves should be raked up and removed. Small amounts of leaf material can be chopped up with a mulching mower and left on the lawn. Make sure the leaves are chopped small enough to fall through the turfgrass canopy. This may require going over the lawn two or three times with the mower.  

How can I accelerate the decomposition of leaves in my compost pile?  

Leaves contain high levels of carbon and small amounts of nitrogen. The microbes that decompose leaves and other types of organic matter require nitrogen for their own metabolism and growth. A compost pile composed mainly of leaves decomposes slowly because the leaves don’t contain adequate levels of nitrogen for the microbes.  

To promote decomposition, mix leaves with grass clippings or other materials high in nitrogen. If possible, shred the leaves prior to composting. The smaller the size of the material, the faster it will decompose.  

Construct the compost pile in layers. Each 6- to 8-inch layer of plant material should be topped with 1 inch of soil or compost. A small amount of an all-purpose garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, can also be added to supply nitrogen to the microbes. Continue to build the compost pile in layers until it is 3 to 5 feet high.  

Finally, water the pile regularly and turn it about once every two weeks.  

Are leaves a good winter mulch?  

Winter mulches aren’t necessary for most plants in the garden. However, winter mulches help ensure the survival of strawberries and a small number of perennials over winter.  

Winter mulches are applied in late fall to protect plants from extremely cold temperatures. They are also applied to prevent repeated freezing and thawing of the soil that may heave shallow-rooted plants out of the ground and severely damage or destroy the plants.  

Leaves are generally not a good winter mulch as they tend to mat down. The matted leaves don’t provide much protection and may actually damage plants due to excess moisture trapped under the material.  

The best winter mulches are materials that remain loose and airy through the winter months, such as straw and pine needles.  

Photo credit: andreusK/stock.adobe.com


Yard and Garden

About the Authors: 

Richard Jauron

Extension Horticulturist


Willy Klein

Organizational Advancement


Additional Stories Published Online

The following news releases have been published on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach website.

10/9/19 PQA Plus 4.0 Advisor Certification Session Nov. 22 in Ames


Chris Rademacher, extension swine veterinarian at Iowa State University, is coordinating the Nov. 22 session, which is the latest in an ongoing effort to help meet industry demand.

10/9/19 Fish Farmers Face Unique Challenges with Invasive Species


Fish producers need to consider their impact on the larger ecosystem, making sure their operation is doing its part to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species. 

10/9/19 Yard and Garden: Prevent Wildlife Damage to Trees and Shrubs


Protect trees and shrubs in the home landscape to limit damage done by wildlife during winter. Voles, rabbits and deer can cause severe damage to plants in the winter by feeding on twigs, bark, leaves and stems. 

10/9/19 Iowa Schools to Celebrate Local Food Day 


Iowans will celebrate the second annual statewide Local Food Day on Oct. 11, as part of National Farm to School Month. 

10/719 Fish Processors Need to Follow HACCP Rules


Fish processors and farmers who are involved with any part of fish processing need to be aware of food safety requirements for their industry. 

10/7/19 Fall Is Perfect Time for Gathering and Planting Tree Seeds 


From acorns to walnuts, hickory nuts and more – Iowa’s forests are steadily dropping seeds, and with a few basic steps, those same seeds can be gathered and planted. 

10/4/19 Aquaculture Needs Strong Leaders for Industry to Thrive


All types of farmers depend on strong leaders, and that is especially true for aquaculture, as fish producers emerge and compete in today’s marketplace. 

10/4/19 ISU Bee Research and Best Management Practices Topic of Monthly Webinar


Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. about the research being done at Iowa State University on bees in agricultural settings. 

10/4/19 Welcome to Class Podcast Is Resource for Agricultural Educators 


“Welcome to Class” is a new serial podcast that examines a wide array of agricultural topics, and shares tips on how best to illustrate, explain and teach these topics in a classroom. 

10/3/19 Extension Artists Inspire Communities and 4-H Youth, Celebrate Iowa State Parks


Jennifer Drinkwater and Clark Colby are artists, Iowa State faculty and program specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach. They are participating in Iowa's 20 Artists, 20 Parks project commemorating the 100th anniversary of Iowa State Parks during 2020. 

10/3/19 Yard and Garden: Getting Rid of Autumn Leaves


It's the time of year that homeowners must decide when and how to remove fallen leaves, before the Iowa winter freezes them in place. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists respond to questions about removing and using autumn leaves.