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Showing posts from March, 2019

NEW VIDEO: How to Prune for Grapevine Trunk Disease

We are learning more and more about grapevine trunk diseases and the impact they can have on reducing the vigor and production of grapevines in our region.  While research continues here at the University of Minnesota, you can do something about it right now. And it all comes down to pruning!
Make grapevines produce more this season If you cut a cordon (one of the "arms" of the grapevine) and look at the inside, you may see brown staining or discoloration.  That could be caused by one of several grapevine trunk diseases. 
In this new video, Extension Educator Annie Klodd explains how you can use pruning to compensate for the disease(s) that may be present in your grapevine. She also offers these other pruning tips: How to create a new, more productive cordon "arm" on your grapevineWhat to do with dead grape clusters that may linger from last seasonWhat's the best time to prune? Winter? Spring? The last thing most grape growers want is an unproductive vine. With…

Become a Smarter Gardener in 2019: Why do bulb cut flowers need special food?

Cut tulips can bring spring into our dreary ever-lasting winter in Minnesota. Cheerful, bright and sunny, who would not love to see these fresh cut flowers in their home?
Why do my tulips 'grow' in a vase? Flower scientists, called floriculturists, (yes there is a group of scientists who study just flowers!) have found that cut bulb flowers, like tulips, respond differently than say, carnations when placed in water. Tulips can keep growing and have stem elongation, which can produce some rather interesting arrangements!

To prevent this, special cut flower food for bulbs has been developed which has reduced sugar and added plant hormones to keep the tulip stems from elongating. Locally, Bachmans has this flower food available as free packets in their stores.
Special food for bulb cut flowers It's used just like the traditional flower food. Mix a packet in 1 quart of room temperature water and your tulips will last long and without dancing stems! This cut bulb flower food w…

Test the Extension website: Win a $50 VISA gift card!

UPDATE: Thank you for your interest! These studies are now closed. 
University of Minnesota Extension is looking for feedback on its website, and we’d like to hear what you think. 
You'll be asked to download an online tool to complete the test. The tool will ask you to try to complete different tasks on our website. This information helps us improve the website experience.  The details on how to win... We only need 10 participants per test, so act fast to be entered to win a $50 Visa gift card. Be sure to enter your name and email address at the end to be entered to win.
Participate in one or both usability tests. If you participate in both, that will count as two entries to win. Each takes less than 10 minutes to complete. 

NEW VIDEO: How to Prune Grapevines with Winter Injury

It's time to prune now--March is an ideal time or you can wait until early April, when it's a bit warmer! As expected, the extreme winter cold in February impacted grapevines in Minnesota. I discussed this in a previous Yard and Garden News article on February 6. While the cold hardy grape varieties we grow in Minnesota will survive this winter in most cases, grapevines still sustained some winter injury to their tender buds. Fortunately, grape growers can alter their pruning methods this year in order to compensate for winter injury and still produce a crop of fruit in 2019.

In this video, I'll walk you through how winter injury impacts vines, and how to prune grapevines that have sustained winter injury:


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

Become a Smarter Gardener in 2019: Start your seeds early with 'winter sowing'

I’m looking outside at the piles of snow that February 2019 has brought!  As a gardener, I am highly motivated to attempt a fun method for starting plants outside (yes—outside!) for the spring.  It’s called “winter sowing.”
Turn a milk jug into a mini-greenhouse How about it—a growing season longer than 4 months??? All it takes is a milk jug, a ruler, a sharp knife, magic marker, plastic labels, some potting soil and seeds.  This method is typically used to give your vegetables a good start--it's great for cool season veggies in particular like kale and spinach. UMN Extension Master Gardener Theresa Rooney says annuals and perennial seeds also work just fine. However, she's found that seeds for more tropical plants will not grow.
Easy step-by-step instructions Here’s the “how-to” info:
Make your mini-greenhouse by taking a plastic milk jug (the see-through kind) and cut the jug in half—but be sure to leave a 1" hinge under the handle. Also, leave room for 2 inches of soil…

Gardening Tasks for March: Time to prune your apple tree

It may be frigid and cold outside with mounds of snow everywhere you look! But this is a great time to prune your apple trees to keep your tree healthy and produce a good harvest of good quality apples. In fact, did you know? Annual pruning is a crucial part of the care of an apple tree.
Why prune? Annie Klodd, UMN Extension Educator-Fruit and Vegetable Production: Pruning is essential for reliable fruit production from year to year. If left to their own devices, apple trees will develop dense canopies and many small fruit with uneven ripening, reduced quality, or generally lower productivity. Pruning focuses the tree’s energy into producing larger, higher quality apples and increases airflow through the tree, reducing disease potential.
How often should I prune an apple tree? Apple trees should be pruned every year during dormancy. Early spring is a great time to prune, after the coldest winter temperatures have passed but before the trees break dormancy and bloom.

Step-by-step inst…

2019 Perennial Plant of the Year: Try ‘Hummelo’ betony

As we plan and dream of our gardens this year is the 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year on the top of your list? Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’, or betony, is the 2019 winner. Selected each year by the Perennial Plant Association, these superior perennials are voted on by hundreds of growers, designers and perennial plant geeks. The competition is tough! The winners are good plants, hardy in a wide range of the country, with few pests and really are winning plants.
What's special about Betony? Betony is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and has rose lavender flowers that appear on dense 1 ½ to 2 foot spikes held above the basal scalloped foliage. ‘Hummelo’ means bumble bee in German, an indicator of the attractiveness of the plant to pollinators.
How to care for it Site it in full sun to partial shade, usually in the front of a border, due to its shorter height. It is deer resistant and has few if any pests.

In the same genus as lamb’s ears, this species has no resemblance to that drought tol…