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Showing posts from April, 2017

Get ready for ticks

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Spring has arrived and as we start enjoying our favorite outdoor activities, don’t let your fun be ruined by ticks. Although it is difficult to make predictions on the severity of ticks in a given season, it does appear because of our mild winter, that we may experience a year of above average tick numbers. However regardless of how abundant they are, ticks are always a concern that people should remember so they can take the proper precautions to protect themselves when outdoors.

There are two common ticks in Minnesota; the blacklegged tick (also called deer tick) and the American dog tick (also called wood tick). Both ticks are nuisances because they bite to take a blood meal from not only people but also pests including dogs and horses. Blacklegged (deer) ticks are a health problem because they are a potential vector of Lyme disease and other diseases (see Tick-borne disease in Minnesota). Both of these ticks are common in grassy fields and…

Watch for eastern tent caterpillars

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

This is the time of the year that eastern tent caterpillars are active. The first sign people notice are silken tents in the forks of branches, particularly in fruit trees, including apple, chokecherry, crabapple, plum, and cherry. These tents are be small at first but will increase in size and can eventually become quite conspicuous. Eastern tent caterpillars feed on tree leaves during the day and will remain in their tents at night and during rainy weather.

Eastern tent caterpillars are bluish black with yellow and a white stripe running down the top of its body. They are mostly smooth but do have a series of hairs sticking out along the sides of their bodies. They are two inches long when fully grown.

Healthy, well-established trees can tolerate eastern tent caterpillar feeding. Their feeding, as well as the presence of their webs, is primarily a cosmetic problem, affecting just the trees’ appearance. However, young trees, as well as unhea…

Video: The ragdoll method for starting seeds and testing viability

By Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator

Sometimes we discover seeds that we've saved and wonder if they are still viable (will germinate). The ragdoll method of creating a damp seed packet that will prompt germination is an inexpensive and easy way to test seed viability. It is also a good way to start warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, etc. In this video, I'll demonstrate how to make a ragdoll for Pride of Wisconsin muskmelon. You'll need a sheet of damp paper towel, a sealable plastic quart bag, seeds or your choice and a marking pen. Watch the video.



Pepper seeds 8 days later: The first root has emerged from some of the seeds. Just gently remove and plant in potting soil. Place in a warm sunny window or under grow lights. Keep the soil moist (not wet). It should feel like a damp sponge when you touch it. These pepper plants should be large enough to plant in a large pot or a sunny garden location by end of May / early June.

New publication from the U of MN Bee Squad on befriending bumble bees

Reprinted from Extension In the News, a weekly email digest highlighting Extension coverage in news media, University of Minnesota publications and other channels. For more coverage, see In The News.

University of Minnesota Extension has published Befriending Bumble Bees: A practical guide to raising local bumble bees. The guide provides the step-by-step information needed to find, capture, house, and feed the next generation of bumble bees. Read more ...

What is Roundup for Lawns?

Recently, we’ve received several questions regarding a new product offering from The Scott’s Company called “Roundup for Lawns.”  There are several versions of this product, including both Northern and Southern grass options.  The Northern grass product, for use on Minnesota lawns, states that the product “kills weeds, not the lawn.”  Most of us are familiar with the original version of Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, and we know that glyphosate is a non-selective vegetation killer- meaning that it kills most plants that it is sprayed on.  So, how does Roundup for Lawns not kill the entire lawn? 
The answer is simple; this product isn’t Roundup.  In this case, Scott’s is taking the liberty of using a widely known name of one of the most effective herbicides, and putting something else in the bottle.  So, what exactly is Roundup for Lawns?  The Northern version of Roundup for lawns contains the very well-known synthetic auxin herbicides MCPA and dicamba, as …