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Renovate your strawberry patch for more berries next year

Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production


Do you renovate your strawberry patch each year? If not, do it this year and you may be surprised at how much this step increases your yield and plant health next year!

While gardeners in northern Minnesota are still harvesting strawberries today, strawberry harvest has come to a close for the bottom 2/3 of Minnesota. After the final harvest, the patch should be renovated in order to restore the health of the plants and prepare them for the following season.

This process involves: Weed control, mowing, row narrowing, cultivation, fertilization, and irrigation.
Step 1: Remove large, mature weeds Because Step 2 of the renovation process will involve mowing the whole patch, any large weeds that are about to go to seed should be removed prior to mowing so that they don't spread their seeds into the soil. Additionally, I find that weeds are often easier to pull when they are larger compared to when they've bee…
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Are you ready for Japanese beetles?

Reports have been coming in over the last week that Japanese beetles are now active. Soon their feeding will be evident. If you find Japanese beetles in your yard or garden, do you know how you will manage them?

Inspect early, inspect often

The first step in management is early detection; the sooner you find them feeding, the quicker you can deal with them and minimize their damage. Be sure to check regularly. You may not see any right away but don’t let your guard down, they could come later. Japanese beetles hatch during July and are active through August

By minimizing plant damage, you also reduce the number of beetles attracted to your garden and yard. As beetles feed, the damaged leaves put out a volatile, which attracts more beetles causing them to gather in groups to munch on your plants.

Inspect your plants, especially if Japanese beetles
damaged them the last few summers. But don't automatically assume they will be a problem.  Their numbers vary from year to yea…

Spotted Wing Drosophila is Now Active

Authors: Annie Klodd, UMN Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production; and Bill Hutchison, Professor and Extension Entomologist

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is currently active across Minnesota. University of Minnesota researchers and MDA have a network of traps to monitor SWD throughout the state, and as of June 16, SWD has been collected in traps in Forest Lake, Rosemount, Hastings, and Chanhassen.

Once gardeners notice SWD on their ripe fruit crops, they should begin controlling them. A small amount of SWD can cause a large amount of damage on the fruit, by laying eggs in multiple berries.
Decide how you will manage SWD now Gardeners growing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, and other soft fruits should plan ahead to decide how they will manage SWD, and order any remaining supplies before SWD populations grow. Strawberry, honeyberry, summer-bearing raspberry, and blueberry growers should be monitoring particularly closely at this time, as those crops are eithe…

Minnesota Plant webinar series: Thursdays 7-8pm

Even without a virus keeping us home, online education is a great opportunity to learn. Join experts with unique perspectives from all over Minnesota horticulture on Thursdays at 7 p.m., from May 14 to September 10, 2020. You'll get a closer look at the plants that grow in Minnesota - explore collections, backyards and gardens from your armchair as you learn more about trees, perennials, edible plants, houseplants and more. Click here for How to sign up

2020 National Pollinator Week June 22-28

In 2007, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved and designated the third week of June as National Pollinator Partnership.
Pollinator Week. This designation marked an important and necessary step toward raising awareness about the urgent issue of our declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has become an international celebration of the value of bees, flies, bats and beetles as pollinators. Don't forget butterflies, ants, moths, birds and wasps contribute to pollination as well. Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by

Take this opportunity to do something to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them! You can find ideas on our Flowers for Pollinators site as well as the Xerces Society, Pollinators Alliance, and the National Pollinator Week toolkit.


Watering Wisdom: Growing a Healthy Lawn with Less Water

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to grow a healthy lawn with less water?  A free, five-part webinar series from the Metropolitan Council and University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science team wants to help answer that question.  The first part of the series will discuss outdoor water use trends in Minnesota and how to perform an irrigation audit in your own backyard.

Outdoor Water Use in the Twin Cities: Am I Using Too Much?  Part 1 of a five-part webinar series  Tuesday July 7th, 2020  2:00 PM
Please visit our event page for more information!

Ask Extension: What can I do about poison ivy?

I live in Northern Minnesota near a wetland along a river. I have contracted a rash the past two summers from either poison ivy, poison sumac or poison oak while out cutting, digging or pulling weeds. How can I identify the plants? How can I protect myself?


Education is really your best line of defense along with wearing protective clothing and conducting a thorough clean up.

1. Know the plants.  Poison oak is not present in MN, but poison ivy, poison sumac, wild parsnip and cow parsley all can cause dermatitis. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed webpage provides very good information . I also like Minnesota Department of Transportation downloadable PDF Minnesota Noxious Weeds. It provides management and timing instructions as well as look-a-like plants.

Interestingly, poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a native plant (the only one on the MN Noxious Weed list). It is a semi-woody plant that grows on the edges of woodlands and in disturbed areas. Though more shrub…