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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Help save Minnesota's forests from invasive pests: Become a 'First Detector'

Workshop registration now open

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Want to be part of Minnesota's award-winning Forest Pest First Detector volunteer program? Registration is now open for this year’s required workshops for volunteers who help detect invasive pests around Minnesota.

Workshop attendees participating in small group discussion
about invasive pests, part of the activities during a Forest
Pest First Detector workshop.
The workshops are being taught in Andover on February 28 and Mankato on March 21. Space is limited so register early! The cost is $50 which includes the online course and in-person workshop, including lunch and refreshments.

The Minnesota Forest Pest First Detector training program is designed to help identify the occurrence of invasive forest pests in Minnesota, including emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, Asian longhorned beetle, Japanese barberry and Oriental bittersweet.

Firewood insects: An indoor pest or not?

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

It can be common for wood boring insects to emerge from firewood that is brought indoors. These insects can also come from other wood such as decorations made of branches or from new construction. Fortunately, these insects are harmless to people and property and do not reinfest any wood in a home.
A whitespotted sawyer, a type of long-horned beetle.
Photo credit: Unknown

There is a wide variety of borers, including long-horned beetles, metallic wood boring (buprestid) beetles, bark beetles, horntails, and wood wasps, that are attracted to dying and recently dead trees. Parasitic insects, like ichneumonid wasps that attack these borers, can also be found emerging from wood.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Extension gives fruits and vegetables renewed focus

New educators to help home and commercial growers

Do you like growing vegetables and fruits?  For the first time in several decades, University of Minnesota Extension will have two educators on staff whose sole focus will be to bring the latest information about growing fruits and vegetables to both home and commercial growers.

Extension Educator Annie Klodd  Photo:Gail Hudson

First, meet Annie Klodd 
She joined the University of Minnesota in January as Extension Educator for Fruit and Vegetable Production, based in Andover, Minnesota.

Annie is originally from Indianola, Iowa where her family owns a commercial vineyard and winery. She has been working in the vineyard since 1997 when her family planted their first grapes.

Back porch view of Annie's family vineyard in Indianola, Iowa.  Photo: David Klodd




She continued working in horticulture at Penn State University, where she studied how perennial cover crops can be used in vineyards to manage grapevine health. Most recently, she worked for Penn State Extension as a weed management specialist and also helped manage the Penn State Community Garden.
Continue reading to meet another new Extension educator, Anne Sawyer...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Part II: Make a New Year's resolution to be a better gardener in 2018

Easy ways to improve your yard & garden

Gail Hudson, Extension Communication Specialist for Horticulture


   Are you planning to plant any new trees or shrubs this year?  Do you struggle with pests in your yard?  What's the first step in creating a more sustainable lawn? 

   Our extension educators provide some food for thought as you think about your yard and garden this coming spring and ways to improve it. 

   Watch Part Two of our recommended "New Year's Resolutions for 2018." And once again, we wish you a Happy New Year from University of Minnesota Extension! 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Part I: Make a New Year's resolution to be a better gardener in 2018

Easy ways to improve your garden!

By Gail Hudson, Extension Communication Specialist in Horticulture



Want a better garden next spring, summer and fall? By taking a few simple steps, you can improve your lawn, flower and vegetable garden.

From adding the right plants to attract Minnesota's endangered bees or to testing your garden's soil, our horticulture extension experts will help you become an even better gardener!

Take a few minutes and watch Part One above. And Happy New Year to you from University of Minnesota Extension! 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Landscape ideas for 2018? Get started with Landscape Design Basics workshop

Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator - Horticulture

Do you dream about having a beautiful home landscape or have a specific landscape project in mind, but don't know how to get started? Whether professionally designed or not, it's fair to say most landscapes start out with good intentions. This five-session workshop is your opportunity to learn the theory and basic principles of sustainable landscape design and learn how to avoid some common mistakes.

The workshop focuses on the landscape design process. Participants use their own property as a class project focused on designing an entry garden or a deck and/or patio garden, or similar landscape space. You'll learn:
  • How to perform a site survey and site analysis (including how to collect a soil sample and complete a landscape needs assessment), 
  • Develop base plans, concept lines and concept plans, draft and completed designs
  • site-specific plant selection
  • landscape installation
  • Participants will also learn how to develop quality bed lines, how to properly mix and match plants based on function and landscape characteristics when designing landscape beds, and how to build flexibility into the landscape design and implementation process.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Houseplants make great gifts!

Moth orchid
Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator

Live plants are great gifts for friends and family, colleagues and the host of your next holiday party. Favorite plants like holiday cacti, amaryllis and poinsettia are great choices. Other plants that make great, easy-to-grow gifts are moth orchids (Phaleanopsis), amaryllis, and succulents.

Here are some tips for selecting a healthy plant for your favorite plant lover:
  • Look for plants with an overall healthy, vigorous appearance: clean foliage, bright green leaves, buds and/ or flowers, upright form, and new growth. Soil should be dark, moist and rich looking. The plant should not be overly wet or sitting in
    Amaryllis
    water which can lead to root rot.
  • Avoid plants with leaf spots, discoloration, or dead leaves as well as signs of insects such as webbing, chewing or honeydew (sticky, shiny areas on leaves). Check the underside of leaves for insect pests in hiding. If any of these are found, choose a different plant.
  • Moth orchids may have air roots protruding from the base of the plant and / or right out of the pot. This is a good sign! Roots should be firm, silvery and have a bright green tip, leaves should be bright green and firm.
  • Amaryllis are grown from tender bulbs that can kept from year to year. Allow soil to dry out before watering and be sure the pot drains well. 

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