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Showing posts from December, 2016

Caring for Your Norfolk Island Pine

By Beth Berlin, University of Minnesota Extension
Many people will receive a Norfolk Island Pine for the holidays. These beautiful evergreen trees can become a wonderful houseplant with the right care for many years to come.
Norfolk Island Pines, Araucaria heterophylla, is not actually a pine tree. It is a coniferous evergreen native to Norfolk Island in the South Pacific near Australia.  They have short dark green needle-like leaves with broad spanning branches that give it a tiered appearance.  In its native climate they can reach 200 feet tall with a ten foot diameter trunk.  As a houseplant it is very slow growing, only growing about 3-6 inches per year, but can reach a height of 5-8 feet.
To care for a Norfolk Island Pine, place it in a bright, sunny location. Be sure to spin your plant each week so that it doesn’t start to lean or grow towards the window and light. In general Norfolk Island Pines can be kept at 65-72°F, but it is important not to expose them to extremes, both ho…

Weeds in the Turf Lawn: Invasive Nuisances or Sources of Forage?

By James Wolfin, Graduate Research Assistant

The turf lawn accounts for nearly 2% of the continental United States land cover, and has become engrained in the architecture of many United States neighborhoods and landscapes.  As urban and suburban areas continue to expand, we can expect this number to increase as many yards, store fronts, and commercial buildings are installed to accompany properties.

While the planting of turf lawns alongside most properties is a standard practice, the management practices and personal perceptions of those managing lawns are variable.  Lawns differ in the level of input that is imparted by the landowner.  Input generally refers to the effort that is directed towards maintaining the aesthetics of the lawn, normally in the form of mowing, watering, weeding, and fertilizing.  While each of these practices are generally required to ensure proper turf health, how frequently inputs are applied can vary greatly.  Practicing responsible lawn maintenance pract…