Sustainable landscapes focus of August short course

Mississippi State University will host a one-day sustainable landscape short course on Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bost Extension Center on the Starkville campus.

The Department of Landscape Architecture, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and the MSU Extension Service are sponsoring the course, which includes sessions led by MSU faculty and staff experts on:

-- The Sustainable Landscape, Bob Brzuszek: While sustainable landscapes can be defined in various ways, it is generally a system that promotes the physical and biological processes occurring on that landscape. In addition to providing biodiversity it should also be aesthetically attuned. In this lecture, Bob will show examples of sustainable landscapes that successfully merge the physical, biological and aesthetic principles of their region.

-- How to Grow Healthy Soils, William Kingery: A healthy soil refers to one that is sustained as a vital system of a large variety of minerals and organisms. We will discuss managing soil as an ecosystem capable of supporting plants and animals by its regulation of water and oxygen, cycling nutrients, and openness to the flow of energy.

-- Building a Drought Resistant Landscape, Brian Templeton: This section will address designing, installing, and managing landscapes for drought tolerance. We will discuss plant selection, establishment, and management; the impacts of solar and wind access; and xeriscapes, or landscapes that do not rely on supplemental irrigation. We will also discuss a variety of irrigation techniques.

-- Protecting Waterbodies and Streamside Gardening, Tim Schauwecker: The establishment of a stream buffer is an immediate action that a homeowner or property manager can use to increase site biodiversity and improve water quality. We will review various methods for establishing stream buffers, what to expect during the initial years of growth, and how to choose your target plant community. The end result is less erosion, more wildlife, and streams instead of ditches.

-- The Low Maintenance Landscape, Michael Seymour: This program will focus on strategies used to create gardens that the average homeowner can manage with a minimum amount of work. We will discuss ways to make our landscapes enjoyable using natural processes to avoid backbreaking labor and noisy power equipment.

-- Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Lelia Kelly: Learn how to develop your landscape to attract the desirable wildlife like birds, butterflies and the other critters that bring diversity and opportunities for viewing to your home property. Plant recommendations and landscape design tips will be shared. How to discourage predators and the other undesirable creatures that could invade your wildlife sanctuary will be covered also.

-- Organic Pest and Disease Practices, Alan Henn: Successful disease practices depend primarily on prevention and growing healthy plants. We will discuss important aspects of planning, plant selection, maintenance and emergency strategies to maintain a successful landscape.

Free and open to all, the course is limited to 20 participants at Bost, but the course will also be available via distance learning at local MSU Extension offices around the state. To register, contact Debbie Whitfield at 662-325-4554 or The registration deadline is July 25 at 5 p.m.

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