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Showing posts from August, 2014

EAB Found Near Rochester

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Jeff Hahn, Univ. of MN Extension
Photo 1: Watch for EAB and symptoms of infested trees. In this picture is an EAB larva the S-shaped tunnels it makes.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced earlier this week that emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in Olmstead County south of Rochester. Olmstead County is now the fifth county in Minnesota to confirm EAB (Ramsey, Hennepin, Houston, and Winona counties being the others). The infestation was found near the interchange of Interstate 90 and Highway 63, about 45 miles from the nearest known EAB infestation. It is believed that EAB were accidentally moved with human assistance into this area.

Because of this infestation, Olmstead County is now under Federal and State quarantine. This quarantine restricts the movement of ash material, including branches and logs, and all hardwood firewood. More information about the EAB quarantine and regulatory restrictions can be found here

Pollinator Habitat

Karl Foord, Extension Educator - Horticulture

Karl Foord
Photo 1: Home landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 2: Home landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 3: Home landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 4: School landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 5: School landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 6: Business landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 7: Industrial landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 8: Industrial landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 9: Roadside setback for industrial landscape

Karl Foord
Photo 10: Undeveloped area

Karl Foord
Photo 11: Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) with bumblebee

Karl Foord
Photo 12: Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) with bumblebee

One of the factors in the decline of pollinators is the loss of habitat. To get a sense of this I took the position of a bee looking for forage. I drove my car from my house through my neighborhood in Chaska, Minnesota around the Chaska Middle School out to Hwy 41 and north toward Hwy 5 and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

What I found in this casual survey was a preponderance of turf in the landscape. The h…

Fall Webworms are Active Now

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Harold Revoir
Photo 1: Fall webworms can detract from a tree's appearance but does little actual damage to it.

While most caterpillars are active during the spring, there are a few that are not feed until summer. Fall webworm caterpillars, Hyphantria cunea are first active during late July and can be found feeding into September. This caterpillar varies in color from pale green or yellow with two rows of black spots on its back with long fine white hairs.

However, an easy way to identify fall webworms is from the webbing they produce that covers the ends of branches. The caterpillars remain inside this webbing to feed on the leaves. The feed on a wide variety of hardwood trees (over 100 trees and shrubs), including black walnut, oak, birch, elm, ash, willow, cottonwood, and chokeberry.

Typically fall webworms attack large, mature trees and their feeding is minor and does not have any lasting effect on trees. Occasionally small trees are at…

Planting a "Smart Snacks" garden

Each year, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Education staff designs and plants a Teaching Garden on-site focused on programming about food with titles like "Veggies by the Yard", and "Grow A Healthy Handful". Interpretive signage is always important to provide walk-by learning to visitors. These programs and the signage as well as plant lists, construction details, and tips for teaching are made available as teaching materials to Extension Master Gardeners the following year.

With all the interest in protecting pollinators, coupled with the need for people to eat healthier, the "Smart Snacks" garden idea was born. It was trialed in the Teaching Garden (now called the Extension Master Gardener Teaching Garden), and this year was made available to Master Gardener volunteers. Five signs highlighting specific messages were made available as well - how tomatoes are pollinated, growing plants for pollinators, healthy tomato stats. Plant lists included cherry to…

Identifying Low-Maintenance Hydrangeas

If you drove or walked the three-mile drive at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum during late summer or fall in 2013, chances are you stopped for a visit at the Earth-Kind® hydrangea trial. Planted in the fall of 2010, this planting exploded with growth and bloom last year and it was hard to resist stopping for a walk through the beds.

K Zuzek, UMN Extension
Photo 1: Locations of the 5 Earth-Kind Hydrangea trials

The hydrangea planting at the arboretum is one of five Earth-Kind® plantings in the Upper Midwest (Photo 1) that are being used to provide information on the performance of 24 hydrangeas being grown under low input maintenance conditions. The Earth-Kind® program was started in the early 1990's by Dr. Steven George at Texas Agrilife Extension Service to promote environmentally responsible landscape management practices that address diminishing water resources, the overuse and misuse of fertilizers and pesticides, and poor soil health that can diminish plant health. Eart…

WCCO Radio "Smart Gardens" Q&A - August 2, 2014

Thanks for listening!

We aren't always able to answer everyone's texted questions on the air, so we try to post a few along with answers here in the Yard & Garden News blog. Remember that you can always visit the U of M Extension Garden website for loads of gardening resources.

Hope you join us and our host Denny Long every Saturday, 8-9am, on WCCO Smart Gardens and happy gardening!

From Dave in South St Paul:
My tomatoes are flat and rotting on the bottom. What causes this? I water at the base and they are in containers.

Answer: This is a condition called "blossom end-rot". It is the result of calcium deficiency in the developing tomato fruit. This does not necessarily mean there is not enough calcium in the soil though - just that plant is unable to acquire it. This is due to environmental conditions such as fluctuations in soil moisture, heavy applications of nitrogen fertilizer, and injury roots.
Read more ...
Question: Why do my squash and cucumbers always cros…

Strawberry Root Weevils

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Jeff Hahn, Univ. of Minnesota Extension
A strawberry root weevil, Otiorhynchus ovatus, is a common insect during July and August. It is small, 1/4th inch long, and dark brown to black. It is pear-shaped or light bulb-shaped with a short broad snout. It also has rows of punctures on its wing covers. A strawberry root weevil cannot fly.
As a larva, a strawberry root weevil feeds on the roots of a variety of plants, including, arborvitae, spruce, and strawberries. As an adult, it feeds on the edge of leaves. Strawberry root weevils sometimes can accidentally enter homes and other buildings. It is common to find them around sources of moistures, such as sinks and tubs. They do not cause any damage and are just a nuisance. In most cases, people see only a few weevils but there are times where homes can be plagued by large numbers of strawberry root weevils.

In addition to being a nuisance, strawberry root weevils are sometimes confused for bed bugs caus…

Educational Opportunity: Beyond Rain Gardens (UMN Landscape Arboretum)