Autumn is my favorite season of the year. The changing fall colors, the cool nights and shortened days are a welcome fanfare to the quiet, cold winter days ahead. With a sigh of anticipation, I look forward to peaceful days of garden planning, and placing our seed orders for next year. That being said, I can’t ever quite give up the need to nurture growing things and dig in the dirt, and many of our outside containers become inside gardens for the cold winter months.
Hot off the presses! The 2014 Minnesota Gardening Calendar has arrived at the University of Minnesota Extension Office, Douglas County. T his award winning 12-month calendar , produced by University of Minnesota Extension Horticulturalists, is filled with timely gardening tips, beautiful garden photography, and a vegetable garden planting guide.
This has been the summer for “stressed tree” questions, specifically regarding conifers. Just drive around Alexandria, and you will see dead and dying conifers, some of them mature trees that have thrived for many years. What is causing this and what can be done about it? “A number of factors, including prolonged drought and spruce needle rust, can lead to dead or dying evergreen trees this time of year”, says Jana Albers, DNR Northwest Region Forest Health Specialist. Minnesotans have experienced moderate to severe drought for eight of the past eleven years.
Many of our area gardeners are finding themselves with more tomatoes than they know what to do with. Tomato harvesting is under way; unfortunately so are tomato diseases. Noticing any discoloring on you leaves? Or funny spots on the fruit? Fungal diseases are common this time of year, particularly early and late blight. With proper care and a careful eye, you too can end up with an abundant amount of tomatoes this season and for many seasons to come. Early Blight Symptoms of early blight usually appear near the end of the season.
While enjoying these glory days of summer, keep an eye out for one of the season’s most notorious party crashers – stinging wasps and bees. These insects build nests underground, in trees, shrubs, overhangs, eaves, utility poles, tires, houses, sheds and other structures. People often mistakenly call all stinging insects “bees”, however, wasps and bees look and behave differently.
The warm, humid days of summer have finally arrived, and with them come a variety of insects that threaten our gardens. Colorado potato beetles, aphids, leaf hoppers, cucumber beetles and numerous others are very active this time of year, and many home owners choose to use insecticides to rid themselves of these pests and the damage they wreak. If you go out to your garden and discover an insect invasion, the first thing you need to do is identify the invader in question. There are many beneficial insects in Minnesota, and you don’t want to destroy these populations.
I have received many calls recently requesting information about how to get rid of ants in the home and lawn. Ants are the most frequent and persistent pests encountered around homes and buildings, and they have been a particular nuisance this year. Dealing with ants can be very frustrating. The first step in implementing an ant management program in your home is to learn what type of ant you are trying to remove. Ants have a wide variety of nesting habits and food preferences.
By Jessa Kokett , Horticulture Intern University of Minnesota Extension Enjoying the warm weather is one of the many perks of summer. These glory days bring many great opportunities to the people of Minnesota; such as spending time on the lakes, camping, and gardening. Unfortunately, heat and humidity often lead the way to severe weather. Summer storms have proven to be just as damaging as some of the blizzards we experience. After a storm, you may find “old oaky” to have lost branches or even the whole tree to be completely uprooted.
This cold, damp weather has encouraged many garden wildlife pests to be active in and around our area. At our flower farm, we face an unending battle with ravenous deer. Deer love to make a feast of the new tasty plant buds just emerging from the soil or from the tips of perennial branches.
The phone in the Extension office has been ringing off the hook with pine questions. Photos and branches are accumulating, and worried homeowners are standing in line to ask “What’s wrong with my pine?” If you are concerned about reddish brown needles on your pine trees, consider the following. Evergreen needles do not stay green forever! Older, inner needles turn brown and drop off after a few years. Depending on the type of tree you have, this can happen gradually or all at once. White pines (needles 2-5” long in clusters of 5) are the worst of the bunch.