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Showing posts from February, 2011

You buy a plant at a garden center. Where did it come from?

Karl Foord, UMN Extension Educator

Vanilla Strawberry™.
Hydrangea paniculata 'Renhy'PP20,670

To answer this question I traveled to Newport, Minnesota to visit with Debbie Lonnee who is a Planning and Administration Manager at Bailey Nurseries. Don't be fooled by the title, Debbie knows hers plants intimately. Listening to her describe plant cultivars is like watching Monet paint.

Bailey Nurseries

Bailey Nurseries celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2005 and is still managed by fourth generation members of the Bailey family. Bailey has production locations in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, and Washington where it produces and distributes fruit and shade trees, ornamental shrubs and vines, roses, evergreens, fruits, perennials, and annuals. As a wholesale operation they sell to over 4500 retail garden establishments, landscapers, and growers located in 47 U.S. states as well as Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia, and Japan. Try to imagine the effort involved …

Where Did Those Annoying Insects Come From?

Jeffrey Hahn, Asst. UMN Extension Entomologist

Photo 1: Boxelder bug.
Jeff Hahn .
It is common during mild winter weather to see various nuisance insects in your home, especially boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles, and western conifer seed bugs. Despite the appearance that they have laid eggs and are hatching now, these insects have actually been in homes since fall when they first entered structures.

When they came into buildings in the fall, some insects accidentally moved all the way into homes. Others took refuge in wall voids, attics, and other nooks and crannies. As long as these areas stayed cold, they remained inactive. However, when it became warm, they 'woke up' and moved towards warmth which would be the inside of your home. As we get closer to spring, we see this occurring more frequently. These insects often congregate together in clusters in these harborages so as these areas warm up, not all of the insects become active at the same time. Or t…

Understanding and Using Home Lawn Fertilizers

Bob Mugaas, UMN Extension Educator

Photo 1: Applying lawn fertilizer using a rotary spreader.

While it may only be March 1 and there is still plenty of snow covering the ground, in a few short weeks our attention will be turning to taking care of our lawns and gardens for another year. One of the spring activities that many homeowners focus on is getting their lawns off to a healthy, vigorous start; an activity that usually means applying some fertilizer to the lawn. Appealing to that desire is the rather large array of home lawn fertilizers available at local garden and home improvement centers. Frequently, that leaves the homeowner asking the question, "Which one should I buy?" or perhaps even asking the question, "Do I really need to fertilize my lawn at all?"

Over the next three months and beginning with this issue, the emphasis of this lawn care section will be on information to better understand the basics of lawn fertilizer packaging. In turn, that shou…

Black Knot of Plums, Cherries and other Prunus sp.

Michelle Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator

Although very few plant diseases are active in the landscape during the cold winter months of Minnesota, winter is a good time to check trees and shrubs for branch infections like cankers and galls.

Photo 1: Black knot gall.
M.Grabowski, UMN Extension.

One common gall forming disease of Prunus species is black knot. This fungal infection causes swollen lumpy wooden black growths to form along the length of infected branches. In the winter, with no leaves to hide them black knot galls stand out and can be easily found within the canopy of infected Prunus trees.

Black knot is caused by the fungus Apiosporina morbosa, and infects over 25 species of Prunus. This includes fruit bearing trees like sour cherry (P. cerasus), European plum (P. domestica) and American plum (P. americana), as well as wild Prunus species like pin cherry (P. pensylvanica) and choke cherry (P. virginiana). Ornamental trees and shrubs like flowering almond (P. triloba) and …

New Publication on EAB Insecticides Now Available

Jeffrey Hahn, Asst. UMN Extension Entomologist

Photo 1: Check out this new EAB fact sheet.
Jeff Hahn .

A four page fact sheet entitled Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Potential Side Effects of Systemic Insecticides Used To Control Emerald Ash Borer was recently completed.  This publication was written by entomologists at the University of Ohio State, Michigan State University and University of Minnesota Extension and reviewed by 14 specialists.  It was produced to help answer common questions people have about the insecticides used to treat emerald ash borer using the most current research based information.  As emerald ash borer becomes more widespread in Minnesota (and other areas of the country) and insecticides are considered, more people will have these questions and need access to unbiased, fact-based information.  You can find this publication at the following link.

Prunus x maackii: Amur Chokecherry Tree

Emily Dusek, UWRF

With a peeling, golden-hued bark reminiscent of the Betulaceae (birch) family, along with its dainty white blossoms dangling on two to three inch racemes from early to mid-May, it is clear the Gold Rush Amur Chokecherry Tree is a beautiful enhancement to any landscape!

The Amur Chokecherry (actually a member of the Rosaceae or rose family) calls the eastern side of the world home--specifically, Russia, Korea and Manchuria. It was brought to the United States in 1878 to the Arnold Arboretum as a gift from the Botanic Garden in St. Petersburg, Russia. Despite it's being native to the harsh taiga of Eurasia, this tree is still considered a desirable choice from zones 3a to 7. Though it's susceptibility to cherry pests (which include borers, scale, aphids, tent caterpillars, canker and leaf spot) increases in warmer climates, the Amur Chokecherry is recommended for cool northern climates where the majority of these problems are nonexistent for this species. It…

Calendar: March 1, 2011

Take time to focus on your houseplants before outdoor activities consume most of your gardening energy. Wash accumulated dust from the surfaces and undersides of leaves. Resume fertilizing if you haven't yet done so. Return low-light plants to their spring and summer locations, out of intense sunlight. Transfer plants that have outgrown their old containers to new ones that are only an inch or two larger in diameter. For plant health, be sure pots have drain holes or built-in water reservoirs.

The best time to have shade trees and fruit trees pruned is late in their dormant period, before buds start to open. If you have oaks that need pruning, be sure the job is completed by the end of the month. Pruning or wounding them during April, May of June leaves them vulnerable to developing oak wilt, a fungal disease that can kill red oaks and pin oaks within weeks and is usually fatal to white oaks and bur oaks within a few years.

Have you checked out the new UMN Extension website? Don&…