New 4-H year is on the horizon

With each new school year comes opportunities for growth in and out of the classroom. For those ages 7-18, now is the time to consider adding 4-H to their hands-on learning experiences, said Beth Hinshaw, Kansas State University Southeast Area Extension specialist.

“Through 4-H, young people have the opportunity to find a project area that they are really interested in, their spark,” Hinshaw said. “We have more than 30 different project areas for students to have hands-on experiences and showcase what they’ve learned in a variety of ways.”

One of those 4-Hers who is closing out on the end of her 4-H career is Annika Wiebers, a member from Riley County and a member of the Kansas 4-H Leadership Council.

“I began sewing with my grandmother when I was five years old by making a t-shirt dress and last year, I made my prom dress. My passion for sewing is something I would not have discovered without 4-H and now, I absolutely love doing it,” Wiebers said.

She also said that 4-H pushed her into trying new projects, one of which is raising sheep.

“I didn’t show any livestock until I was 15 because my friends told me I’d be good at showing sheep, so I tried it,” Wiebers said.

Beyond projects, Wiebers also grew her leadership skills by serving on the Kansas 4-H Leadership Council. In that role, she helps connect others to state events such as Citizenship in Action and Kansas Youth Leadership Forum, both of which are hands-on conferences focused on citizenship, leadership and project-based learning.

“My work on projects has given me wonderful networking opportunities and helped lead me to my agricultural communications major at K-State,” Wiebers said.

For those who may be interested in learning more about 4-H, Hinshaw advised visiting the Kansas 4-H website ( where people can link to the local extension sites where they can find out more about their area clubs. Enrollment for the 2023-2024 year begins Oct. 1.

Pruning Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

Though light pruning and removal of dead wood are fine this time of year, more severe pruning should be left until spring. Consider pruning to be “light” if 10 percent or less of the plant is removed. Dead wood does not count in this calculation. Keep in mind that even light pruning of spring-blooming shrubs such as lilac and forsythia will reduce flowers for next year. We normally recommend that spring-bloomers be pruned after flowering.

Shrubs differ in how severely they can be cutback. Junipers do not break bud from within the plant and therefore should be trimmed lightly if you wish to keep the full shape. Overgrown junipers should be removed. On the other hand, there are certain shrubs that can be pruned back severely during the spring.

Rejuvenation is the most severe type of pruning and may be used on multi-stem shrubs that have become too large with too many old branches to justify saving the younger canes. All stems are cut back to 3- to 5-inch stubs. This works well for spirea, forsythia, pyracantha, ninebark, Russian almond, little leaf mock orange, shrub roses and flowering quince. Just remember that spring is the correct time to do this, not now.


Matt Young37 Posts

Matt Young is the Brown County Extension District director, as well as an agent in the area of agriculture and natural resources.


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