Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2018

How to keep the blooms going!

Poorly-fertilized hot pepper. Tomatoes (background) are well-fertilized. Photo: Anne Sawyer Now that summer is in full swing, you’ll likely need to fertilize container plants to maintain optimum growth...and keep those blooms going! If you used a pre-fertilized commercial potting media, you won’t need to fertilize for the first two to three weeks after planting. If a controlled-release fertilizer was mixed in at planting, you may not need to fertilize for eight to ten weeks. Once that time has passed, however, you may start to notice slowed growth, yellowing of foliage, or other signs of plant decline if you haven’t applied additional fertilizer. Why fertilize now? Nutrients in containers decline quickly as a result of rapid plant growth and frequent watering, which can leach nutrients from the potting media. What kind of fertilizer should I use? There are many fertilizer options for container plants: Liquidor soluble fertilizers, for example, are easy to apply durin

July To-Do List for Vegetable Gardening

Let's get started...#1) Pest Patrol:   Walk through the garden regularly to scout for insect pests and diseases. Frequent scouting is the only way to catch problems early on, so you have a chance to control them before they have caused significant damage. Virus symptoms and spider mite damage are seen side-by-side on tomato and parsley, respectively. Photo: Annie Klodd To scout for pests, look closely at the leaves, stem, and fruit of the plants. Look for areas that are discolored, wilted, mis-shapen, or have holes. It is useful to carry a camera phone and a hand lens, in order to see small insects and capture photos of the problem up close. Often, a symptom like discolored leaves could be due to a number of causes, and it's not always something obvious. Consider multiple causes, including the weather, and examine the plants closely (see photo below). Sometimes, digging up a plant helps reveal the cause of a problem. For example, wilted leaves on melo

Get Smart & Save $$ watering your landscape this summer!

Gail Hudson, Extension Communications Specialist Do you have an electronic controller for your yard and garden's irrigation system? Save money for your summer vacation and install a Smart Controller! Smart Controller's are easy to install and operate (using a phone app). You can water your landscape based on the weather (Will it rain today? Did it rain yesterday?) and how much moisture there is in the soil. Extension Educators and Turf Specialists Sam Bauer and Brian Horgan walk you through the basics in this excerpt from "Green Grass With Less Blue," a joint video project with the University of Minnesota Extension and the Metropolitan Council. Water less and save more!

Aggressive weed challenges MN gardeners: Japanese knotweed

Mary Hockenberry Meyer, Extension Horticulturist Gail Hudson, Extension Communication Specialist Japanese knotweed plants produce female flowers and need a pollen source. However, the plant spreads primarily through rhizomes (underground stems). Photo: Mn Dept of Agriculture Is it the buckthorn of weeds? Beware, this weed is so aggressive, it can even damage pavement!  This large, fast-growing, shrub-like plant is commonly called Japanese knotweed or Mexican bamboo ( Polygonum cuspidatum) , which can grow from 3 to 9 feet tall with leaves that are six inches long and four inches across. It is a tough weed to control thanks to its large system of fleshy, underground rhizomes (stems) as big or bigger than your finger, which can extend up to 5 feet from the plant.  Above ground, the hollow, bamboo-like stems can become tough and woody with age. Learn how to control or reduce its presence  by clicking on "Read more"...

Ants in turf

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist Ants in lawns has been a common question lately. This insect is one of the most common insects we see in our landscape. Although they do not injure or kill turf, they can be a nuisance from their presence. Field ants nesting around  a basketball hoop. They are not injuring the grass but some may find this a nuisance and unacceptable.  Photo: Jocelyn McDonald

Watch out for Lyme disease!

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist Blacklegged (deer) ticks.  Top row: adult male and female. Bottom row: immature nymphs.  Their small size, especially the nymphs, makes it more difficult to see them and more likely to be exposed to Lyme disease. Photo: Jim Occi, Bug Pics, Although you can encounter blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) nearly any month of the year, June and July are the times of highest risk for becoming infected with Lyme disease. That is because summer is when the immature nymphs are active.  Because of their very small size, it is easier to be bitten and not know it. Learn about ticks--where they live and the symptoms of Lyme disease. Just click on "Read more."

Video: Are you over watering your lawn? Most people do, and don't even know it!

Save water, lower your bill and help the environment Gail Hudson, Extension Communication Specialist Photo: Gail Hudson, UMN Extension Summer has quickly arrived, and already we've turned on our irrigation systems...leaving them to run throughout the season.  Typically, these systems are set on an odd-even schedule. But are you watering too much? Click on "Read more" for the video...

Don't wait to diagnose spruce problems

Now is the time to treat for spruce needle cast diseases. Do you know what’s wrong with your spruce and how to treat it?   M. Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator Spruce tree suffering from Rhizosphaera Needle Cast. M. Grabowski, UMN Extension Many spruce trees across Minnesota have brown or missing needles along with dead branches. This damage can be caused by a variety of problems including needle cast or needle blight diseases, branch cankers, insect pests, mites, or environmental conditions. Although management options are available for many of these problems, each problem has its own unique solution. The first step in correcting a spruce problem is getting a correct diagnosis.

Lawn still looking winter ragged? E-Z steps to repair your turf

Video: "Spring Lawn Repair" Gail Hudson, Extension Communications Specialist Winter damage to predominantly fescue grass lawn. Photo: Gail Hudson Remember the blizzard that hit Minnesota in April? Just a month or so later, the snow has melted and the winter has turned into summer heat, leaving behind brown spots on our lawns. Recent rains have helped green things up...but you can do more to repair the winter damage with some easy steps. Click "read more" to get to the video tips...

Be a pollinator champion

Help researchers study rare and declining pollinators Elaine Evans, Extension Educator Volunteer with a male bumble bee. Males can't sting! Photo: Jen Larson Are you aware that bees and other pollinators play a crucial role in keeping food on our plates and on the plates of countless other creatures who depend on the plants they pollinate?  Have you planted more flowers to help pollinators and taken other steps to make your yard more pollinator friendly ?   If so, you may be ready for the next step: help us learn more about rare pollinators by volunteering to monitor their populations.  The more rare a species becomes, the more difficult it is for researchers to find the information needed to protect them.  Here are t hree ways you can help monitor rare pollinators this summer...

June To-Do List for Vegetable Gardening

Weed control, vegetable trellis options, watering guidelines & more!  Annie Klodd, Extension Educator – Fruit and Vegetable Production Cantelope beginning to bloom on May 30, 2018. Photo: Annie Klodd June is an exciting month for vegetable gardeners. With many plants in the ground, this is when we enjoy watching them shoot up in size and give rise to blooms that will produce delicious vegetables. There is plenty to do in June to make sure our plants grow their best. Tasks include late planting, trellising, weeding, watering, and mulching.

Brown foliage on your maple trees & American elm?

Look may be seeds!  Mary H. Meyer, Extension Horticulturist and Professor, Horticultural Science Maple on left with masting, after distress.  Abundant seed or fruit set in long-lived trees is called a mast year or masting . This year seems to be a mast year for maple and elm in Minnesota.  Environmental cues or ideal pollination conditions could cause this huge seed production. Moisture and temperature are sensed by trees and their internal switches enable massive flowering followed by seed production.  Excessive seeds at top of a maple tree.