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Showing posts from June, 2018

How to keep the blooms going!

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 during routine watering and may be applied every week or two at full strength or more frequently if diluted. Inorga…

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. 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).
Once you have pictures of the damage, use the UMN Extension diagnostic tool to identify the problem. Knowing what the problem is will lead you to the solution. What’s Wrong With My Plant? 
Tomato diseases are one of the more common problems in v…

Spotted wing drosophila is active now!

The Department of Entomology Fruit lab reported that the first significant catch of spotted wing
drosophila (SWD) was found recently in all monitoring sites in the Minneapolis – St.Paul area as well as southeast Minnesota.

 The primary susceptible crop is June bearing strawberries. The first trap catch of SWD was on June 8 but only one adult per week was found until now.
How do I know they're on my plants? If you are growing susceptible fruit in your gardens, including raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, or grapes, set out traps to determine when SWD is first active in your area. SWD is a very destructive invasive insect pest that can severely damage untreated susceptible fruit crops.
Pest management  The best approach to managing SWD is through detection, sanitation, and insecticide treatments.

For more information on SWD, see Spotted wing Drosophila in home gardens and FruitEdge.

Author: Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Danger, gardeners! Japanese beetles are active now!

Gardeners who battled Japanese beetles last summer have been dreading their return in 2018. Ready or not, they have started to emerge and may be in your garden soon. However, all is not lost; there are steps that can be taken to help protect your plants from these beetles.

How to get rid of JB's... As you consider your pest management options, remember that the damage Japanese beetles cause is primarily cosmetic, affecting the appearance of plants but usually not the health of them. However, if trees are young, recently transplanted or are already under stress, it is a good idea to protect them from any additional damage.

It is important to keep on top of Japanese beetles; as the first beetles feed, the damaged leaves put out a chemical volatile that attracts more beetles. The better you can minimize beetle feeding at the start, the more slowly it will take the beetles to cause damage. If there are not many Japanese beetles in your area, you may be able to avoid much damage.…

Spot check: look for tomato diseases now

Tomato leaf spot diseases are just beginning to appear on Minnesota tomato plants. Haven’t seen them yet? Take a closer look. Most leaf spot diseases in tomato overwinter in the soil and then splash on to the lower leaves of the plant. As a result the first leaf spots can be found on the lowest leaves. To find them you may have to push aside the upper leaves and peer down at the leaves closest to the ground.
What to look for? Look for brown to black round spots that are the size of a pencil tip or larger. There are three leaf spot diseases commonly found on garden tomatoes in Minnesota; Septoria leaf spot, early blight and bacterialspot. At the earliest stages of disease, they are difficult to tell apart but the management practices listed below will work for all three disease problems. My tomato has leaf spots, what do I do? Pinch off leaves with leaf spots and bury them in the compost pile. It is ok to remove up to 1/3rd of the plants leaves. This should not be a problem if you c…

Be on alert for squash vine borers

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

If you are growing squash or pumpkins in your garden be on the watch for squash vine borers. They are beginning to emerge and may be in your garden soon!

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

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.

Watch out for Lyme disease!

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

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

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

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

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 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 three 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 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
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.

Watch for carpenter ants this spring

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Carpenter ants are the most important ant pests found in Minnesota. They can be a problem when they nest in homes and other structures. Because nests are in wood and other hidden areas, it is challenging to know where they are located. Finding the nest and treating it is the best control for carpenter ants.

Always verify that you have carpenter ants. While, people often think of carpenter ants as “big, black ants” (which they are, up to almost ½ inch long), some carpenter ant species are red and black and are smaller, only 3/16th inch long. Some species of field ants, a nuisance species, are black and a similar size to carpenter ants.

Finding carpenter ants in your home in the spring can mean that a nest is present, especially when persistent numbers are found. If you find a swarm of winged carpenter ants indoors, that is a sign of an indoor nest. However, if you find just a few carpenter ant queens (winged or wingless) in your home, they…