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Showing posts from February, 2016

EAB verified in Wabasha County

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

(The following information is taken from a February 29, 2016 news release from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture)

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has identified emerald ash borer (EAB) in Wabasha County. MDA staff found EAB larvae in an ash tree in the southeastern corner of the county after being alerted to some suspicious trees by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff. The trees displayed symptoms of EAB infestation, including bark splits and insect tunneling under the bark.

This is not too surprising as EAB was found earlier this month in Winona County just south of the Wabasha County border. Because this is the first time EAB has been identified in Wabasha County, the county will be placed under emergency quarantine which will limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. Currently 11 Minnesota counties and Park Point in the city of Duluth (St. Louis County) are under quarantine to pre…

Japanese Barberry Added to Minnesota's Noxious Weed List

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension Educator

Japanese barberry(Berberis thunbergii) is native to Japan and Korea and was introduced into the United in the late 1800s.  Although they provide beauty in gardens and landscapes, barberries have become naturalized and invasive in 30 states in the eastern U.S. including Minnesota.  The fruit are an attractive food to birds who disperse seed into native areas.  Barberries establish in the undergrowth of forested areas where they often form thickets and outcompete and displace native plants.  84 incidences of barberries in native ecosystems have been reported in Minnesota.  67 of the 84 reports are from the southeast quadrant of the state.

Early Spring: It's Time to Cut Back Grasses

Mary H. Meyer, Extension Horticulturist and Professor, University of Minnesota
Early spring or late winter is the best time to cut back ornamental or landscape grasses. Their winter appeal is usually low now, stems are likely partially down from numerous snowfalls. Hand cutting, an electric hedge trimmer, or a lawn mower set to the highest setting can be used to clean up the tops of grasses.

All warm season grasses, such as Miscanthus, switchgrass, big and little bluestem, along with prairie dropseed and Indian grass die completely back to dormant buds at the crown of the plant. You cannot cut these grasses off at “too low” a point. Their buds are at the root-shoot junction often buried in the soil. Tie large tops together to make them easier to cut. Cut warm season grasses back as low as your tools can reach. These grasses are slow to green up in the spring, so you have a few weeks to do the cut back.

Cool season grasses however such as feather reedgrass (Calamagrostis), blue oat gr…

Crane flies in homes

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

People have been finding “large mosquitoes” in their homes this month. Fortunately, they aren’t actually mosquitoes but a related insect know as a crane fly. Crane flies are common insects in Minnesota. You can recognize them from their slender brown or gray bodies and long, slender legs. Most crane flies range in size from 3/8 to 1 ½ inches long. Entomologists look for a ‘V’ shaped suture on the thorax to help identify crane flies.

Crane flies are common throughout the spring and summer. Outdoors, they are usually
associated with moist, damp environments with a lot of vegetation. Larvae commonly develop in streams or in moist soil, often feeding on organic matter (some aquatic larvae are predaceous). Despite looking like mosquitoes, crane flies do not bite. They usually live for only a few days and typically don’t even feed.

However, they do startle people when they appear indoors in the middle of winter. Where do they come from? I…

Start with Clean Tomato Seed and Transplants

M. Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator

In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture found a bacterial pathogen of tomato responsible for the disease bacterial canker in community gardens and small vegetable farms. Although this tomato disease is common in other states, it had been rarely reported in Minnesota. That changed with thirteen confirmed cases in nine different counties in 2015.
Bacterial canker is caused by the bacteria Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis (CMM). This bacterial pathogen is capable of infecting tomato, pepper and the weeds cutleaf nightshade and eastern black night shade. In tomato, when disease is mild, the pathogen causes browning of leaf edges and fruit spots. When disease is severe, the stem cracks and becomes discolored. Leaves wilt and the entire plant may collapse and die.
This disease is difficult to control once established in the garden so prevention is an important management tool. Bacterial canker can be brought into the garden on infe…

Starting From Seed

M Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator

Starting vegetable transplants from seeds can be fun way to get a start on the growing season. To be successful start out with quality seed from a reputable source and provide seed with the appropriate, light, heat and water. Be sure to time planting so that seedlings have enough time to grow into a sturdy plant with 2 to 4 mature leaves but not so long that seedlings become pot bound and overgrown.

Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and head lettuce can all be seeded in early March. Peppers and eggplants should be seeded in mid March. Wait on planting tomatoes until early April.

Find everything you need to know to get seeds off to a good start at Starting Seeds Indoors.

Rabbit Fence Reminder

M.  Grabowski,  Extension Educator

Deep snow levels allow rabbits easy access to trees and shrubs. Don't forget to secure rabbit fencing and other protection to a height sufficient to keep rabbits out even after snowfall, Learn more about protecting trees and shrubs from rabbits.