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Showing posts from November, 2018

Making a Holiday Wreath? Avoid the 'killer vine' Oriental Bittersweet

Oriental bittersweet, identified by its YELLOW capsules around the berries. Photo: Mn Dept of Agriculture It's the time of year when crafty folks are using greenery and plants from their own yard to make their own holiday wreaths. But here's an attractive plant you'll not only want to avoid, but make quick work to get rid of ASAP--called the "killer vine," the "Boa constrictor" of Minnesota plants, it's Oriental bittersweet ( Celatrus orbiculatus ). Once again, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has pronounced Oriental bittersweet its November "Weed of the Month," and for good reason.  This invasive plant has caused property damage and altered ecosystems with its prolific seed production and aggressive growth. Is this killer vine in my backyard? The Minnesota Department of Agriculture reports it was confirmed in the Twin Cities metropolitan area in 2010, and since then has been found in multiple counties. A particularly seve

Biggest Black Willow in America lives in Minnesota!

A DNR staff member officially measures the black willow which stands  just 150 yards  from the St. Croix River. Photo: Just try to get your head and arms around this story! In early September, a black willow ( Salix nigra ) tree in Minnesota was named a National Champion by the National Forests organization in Washington, DC. The tree on private property in Marine on St. Croix knocked off the podium a New Hampshire champ. It means its bigger than any other known tree of this species in the United States and is now included in the Champion Tree National Register . According to the National Forests website, the conservation organization recognizes trees because  "we recognize the beauty and critical ecosystem services provided by our biggest and oldest trees." What makes a tree a champion? The tree was also named a "State Champion" last year by the Mn Department of Natural Resources. Trees are nominated on a state and national level based

VIDEO: Make your garden 'pollinator friendly' for the winter ahead

Bee on a Bottle Gentian flower. Photo: Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator You’ve planted pollinator-friendly plants in your yard like coneflowers, milkweed, bee balm and more. Now take the next step this fall and create a habitat for Minnesota's native bees that will make your yard pollinator friendly all year long! As you're cleaning up your fall landscapes this year, think about our pollinators and what you can do now to help them through the winter and in the spring.  Watch our new video: 'Fall Cleanup for Pollinators' Extension Educator Julie Weisenhorn shows you how to do this in a few simple steps. FAQ's about 'bee hotels' One of  tips Julie suggests is creating a bee "hotel" for native bees.  Roughly 60-70 percent of bees nest in the ground. The other 30 percent are cavity-nesting, using hollow plant stems or holes in wood. Here are some common questions about houses for wild bees with answers from UMN Extension Bee

VIDEO: Mice damage among ornamental grasses

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Grass Collection Photo: Gail Hudson, Extension Communications Specialist Are mice having a party among your ornamental grasses?  As UMN Professor and Extension Horticulturist Mary Hockenberry Meyer explains, you can answer this question if you know what to look for. See what Mary found at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Grass Collection in this video.  She'll also talk about what they're doing to manage this problem. For more "how-to" information, read this article. Author & Video Producer: Gail Hudson, Extension Horticulture Communications Specialist

Fruit gardening: Frequently Asked Questions of 2018

Apples ready for harvest at the UMN Horticultural Research Center. Photo: Annie Klodd Growing fruit is rewarding and exciting, but there is also a lot that goes into producing good fruit. Extension Educators Annie Klodd and Jeff Hahn share some of the most common questions they received about growing fruit in 2018. Why are my apple tree’s leaves wilting and dying in May? Winter injury on apple trees is common in Minnesota. When a tree has been injured by winter temperatures, it is normal for the branches to leaf out in the spring and then wilt, or not leaf out at all. While the affected branches die, the tree will usually still produce fruit since often only a portion of the tree is affected. Click here for more information on the causes of wilting leaves in apples. How do I plant a fruit tree orchard? Gardeners, farmers, or organizations aiming to install large plantings of fruit trees should establish a management plan and business plan (if applicable) prior to planting.

How to properly clean your garden tools & pots

Soil covered tools in need of cleaning at the end of the gardening season Photo: M. Grabowski, UMN Extension  Lower the risk for plant disease in next year's garden! Before you store your garden tools for the winter be sure to clean them. Many plant pathogens can survive from one season to the next in infected plant debris, soil, or on tools, trellises, stakes, or pots that were used to grow the plants. How to clean tools, pots, and other garden supplies Remove all soil and plant debris attached to tools, trellises, or old pots. Most plant pathogens survive best when sheltered by soil or in plant material. Potting soil, annual plants, leaves and stems killed by frost can all be placed into a compost pile. Use a brush or a hard stream of water from the garden hose to completely remove soil and other organic material.  Disinfectants available to home gardeners 1) Bleach (5.25% Sodium hypochlorite) Make a 10% solution by mixing one part bleach with 9 parts of water. Dip o