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Showing posts from February, 2020

My Favorite Plant: 5 Grasses to Try in 2020

UMN Prof. Mary Meyer talks about 'Blackhawks' Big Bluestem grasses at Northern Green  conference, January 2020. Photo: Gail Hudson, UMN Extension Do you have a favorite plant? It's fun to compare plants when there's snow on the ground outside!    At the January 2020 Northern Green  conference in Minneapolis, 19 people shared their favorite plants as one of the educational events. Each person had three minutes to show a picture and tell about their selection. Five people selected grasses or sedges--in other words, one-fourth of the speakers selected grasses or sedges!!!  Hakone grass. Jayne Roberts covered her front yard with it! Photo: Gail Hudson, UMN Extension What were these favorite grasses or sedges? Oehme palm sedge, Bowles’ golden sedge, hakone grass, ‘Blackhawks’ big bluestem and ‘Goldtau’ tufted hairgrass made the cut as favorites. I agree with all of these great plants for Minnesota.  Hakone grass Hakone grass ( Hackonechloa macra ‘Aureola’)

Smart Garden 2020: It's time to ...

A good tree cut leaves the "collar" a source of healing tissue for the tree. Prune trees Trees to prune now: Oaks, apple, crabapple, maple, birch, honeylocust, showy mountain ash, hawthorne, butternut, walnut, ironwood, blue beech.  Note some trees like birch, maple and walnut may drip sap from the cuts. That's ok - it's a natural occurrence. Tools for pruning: hand pruner, lopper, hand saw, polesaw, chainsaw. Tools with telescoping handles are handy for reaching branches in the canopy.  Read more: Pruning Trees and Shrubs Start some seeds Start seeds that take a long time to germinate / grow to planting size: geraniums, pansies, wax begonias, leeks, onions, alpine strawberry, browallia, clarkia, dusty miller, fountain grass, impatiens, larkspur, lobelia, nemesia, stocks, torenia, celery.  Use peat pots or other biodegradable pots for starting transplant-sensitive clarkia and nemesia. Rip off the bottoms of biodegradable pots and plant them right in

Ask Extension: Will a rabbit-eaten evergreen tree recover this spring?

Rabbits  can do a lot of damage like the bark  eaten on winged Euonymous. Q:  I have a newly planted 6' Evergreen Tree, (dwarf tannenbaum). This winter the rabbits have had a field day eating the green needles, from the ground and up about 2'+. Can you give me any information on how I can get the tree back in shape come spring? A:  It is possible that the damage may be too severe to actually do anything about it. If they have eaten up 2 feet of it it may never be able to recover.  About all you can do is protect it from any more damage by caging it with chicken wire or something to keep them away for now and see what it does in the spring. That is when pines will shoot growth only.  Here is a link with info about pruning. Make sure that you open the links under "when to prune and evergreens." Pruning trees and shrubs Here is a link with a little more info about the pine. Mugo Pine ----------------- Have a gardening question? Ask Extension all your g

Iron Clad Hosta

Photo: Gail Hudson, Y&G News Editor Hosta is a workhorse perennial in Minnesota. It’s a plant we can count on no matter what….unless the deer and slugs have their way! But despite winter, shady difficult sites, slopes, heavy clay soil, even dry soil, hosta are the go-to plant for cold climates. Did you know there are 6,100 registered cultivars or varieties according to the American Hosta Society ? Many more likely exist that are not registered.  Chimera hostas Photo: Gail Hudson, Y&G News Editor Why are hostas striped? Many hostas are chimeras ….with different cells growing side by side and this accounts for the variegated or striped, patterned foliage. Propagating or slicing hosta crowns often reveals new cells with new color patterns and so we see a lot of variation in hostas. Fun for gardeners! The best for slug resistance Nursery owner and designer Steve Kelley gave a talk entitled Iron Clad Hosta at the 2020 Northern Green conference in January 2020.

Indoor gardening with houseplants - Extension can help!

Suitable for our dry homes, bromeliads have graphic-rich foliage Houseplants are growing in popularity (pun intended!) and that means you may be regularly adding new plants to your collection. Sometimes undesirable pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale and fungus gnats can hitchhike on new plants and cause a lot of grief for the plant owner. How to buy the right houseplant When looking over the many plants at your favorite garden center, stay away from the plants that are less than robust (and those on the Clearance rack!) Take your time to look over and under leaves, on stems, and examine flower buds.  Use technology to help: there are smart phone apps that turn your smart phone into a smart magnifier. You can even snap pictures! I downloaded one for my android phone simply called "Magnifying glass". It works slick. Desert rose ( Adenium obesum ) is a drought-tolerant plant for warm sunny windows and patios. Help your new plant adjust  If you're wrapping

Six New Weeds Added to Minnesota State Noxious Weed List

Euonymous alatus , winged burning bush is now a Specially Regulated MN noxious weed Six new weeds have been added by the MDA to Minnesota's Noxious Weed List. The state's Noxious Weed List provides specifics on how to control these weeds, and is divided into these four categories: Prohibited Eradicate - Most serious threat; remove all parts of the plant above and below ground Prohibited Control - Landowners must manage to prevent plant from spreading Restricted - Landowners encouraged to manage, but not legally required to remove Specially Regulated - Special management plans have been developed by the MDA to minimize potential harm Learn more about these category definitions:  www.mda.state.mn.us/noxiousweedlist .  What makes a plant a noxious weed? The MDA is the lead agency responsible for regulating noxious weeds. Along with the Noxious Weed Advisory Committee, the MDA updates the list every three years. Additions to the list are approved by the Commis