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Showing posts from November, 2012

Lawn care: Last chores of the season and on the horizon

Sam Bauer, Extension Turfgrass Educator

There's no question that the fall drought has taken a major toll on many of the turfed landscapes in Minnesota. If you failed to maintain turf health through supplemental watering from August to October, you most likely have yet to make a damage assessment of your lawn. During the summer months we talk a lot about letting our lawns go dormant during a drought and waiting for rain to replenish soil moisture. This is nothing new. However, the duration of the fall drought has pushed our lawns to the limit, probably passed the limit in many cases. There are two main concerns: 1) how long can turf stay alive in a dormant state?, 2) will drought stressed turf properly harden off and survive the winter?


Sam Bauer
Photo 1: Drought stressed/dormant lawn


How long can turf stay alive in a dormant state?

There are no clear answers to this question and it really depends on many factors, including: turf species, traffic, management practices, and s…

An Unusual Insect Found in Minnesota: Drywood Termites

Jeffrey Hahn, Asst. Extension Entomologist

Termites are present in Minnesota but they are not common. They are found in southern Minnesota up to about the Twin Cities area and very rarely discovered, if ever, in central and northern Minnesota. Minnesota's native termites are subterranean termites, Reticulitermes spp. They maintain colonies in the ground and attack wood that is contact with the soil. You rarely see the termites themselves because the bulk of them stay inside the colony while those that travel outside of it move about in mud tubes they construct so they can maintain the proper temperature and humidity they need to survive.

That is why the discovery of winged termites in a home in Minneapolis during September was so interesting and unusual. First, when termites swarm, i.e. winged forms leave the nest en masse, they do so in the spring (and this is very rarely seen in Minnesota). Even more interesting was when the termites were examined more closely, they were i…

Spirea Stunt Phytoplasma Found in Minnesota

Michelle Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator


M. Grabowski, UMN Extension
Photo 1: Spirea with a few witches brooms from spirea stunt phytoplasma

University of Minnesota researchers Dr. Ben Lockhart and Dimitre Mollov have identified a new disease of spirea in Minnesota. Spireas are common landscape shrubs grown for their delicate foliage and summer flowers. The new disease, known as spirea stunt, causes plants to produce abnormally small leaves, that may be discolored yellow to reddish purple. Small discolored leaves grow only on clumps of weak branches known as witches' brooms. As a result, infected plants have one to many pom-pom like clumps of leaves and branches. The whole plant may be stunted and many infected plants do not survive the winter.

Spirea stunt disease is caused by a phytoplasma, a tiny bacteria that lives within the vascular system of infected plants. Dr. Lockhart determined that the phytoplasma infecting spirea in Minnesota belongs to the X-disease group and is rela…

Flowering Plant Video Library - Dividing Clumping Grasses

Karl Foord - Extension Educator, Horticulture

Click on the link to see the video with host Dr. Mary Meyer, Professor of Horticulture

Flowering Plant Video Library Dividing Dwarf Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue'




Karl Foord
Photo 1: Dividing Elijah Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue')



Karl Foord
Photo 2: Dividing Elijah Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue')



Karl Foord
Photo 3: Dividing Elijah Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue')



Karl Foord
Photo 4: Dividing Variegated Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Avalanche')



Karl Foord
Photo 5: Dividing Variegated Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Avalanche')



Karl Foord
Photo 6: Dividing Variegated Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Avalanche')

Flowering Plant Video Library Dividing Variegated Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Avalanche')