Podcast – Winter Sowing

In this podcast Goodhue County Extension Master Gardeners give tips on how to do winter sowing. Winter sowing is a method of starting transplants outdoors in milk jugs when the weather is still below freezing.

Find more info and a step-by-step video showing you how to prepare the milk jugs, etc. on the website of GCEMG Terry L. Yockey.

Time to Remove Buckthorn

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Using the Weed Wrench to remove buckthorn.

October and November are great months to get out and pull all the small buckthorn trees that have popped up during the season. Buckthorn keeps its green foliage long after other trees and shrubs have dropped theirs so it is very easy to identify this time of year.

The Weed Wrench tool makes short work of smaller trees and you can borrow it free of charge from the Goodhue County Extension Master Gardeners.

Call University of  MN Extension, Goodhue County at 651-385-3100 for more information.

Become a Master Gardener in Goodhue County

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GCEMGs at the Colvill Discovery Garden

If you have an interest in plants and gardening and would enjoy sharing that interest with others, apply to become a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteer.  Applications are being accepted for the Goodhue County Extension Master Gardener Program now until October 15th.

Individuals selected for the program begin an internship that starts with the Master Gardener core course training on January 9, 2015.  The course is taught online or in-person at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.  Instructors are University of Minnesota Extension educators and faculty.

Following the course, interns will complete 50 hours of volunteer service in the first year, working with local Master Gardener volunteers on a variety of projects that educate the public about gardening and horticulture.  You might answer plant questions by phone or at an information booth, write a newspaper column, or make a presentation to a community group.

After completing the internship, you become a certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener.  To remain certified, Master Gardeners must contribute at least 25 hours of volunteer service annually.

For an application packet and more information, call U of MN Extension Goodhue County, 651-385-3100 or 1-800-385-3101.  Also find more information about the training and the Extension Master Gardener program at http://www.mg.umn.edu.

GCEMG Presentation Topics

Goodhue County Extension Master Gardeners give presentations to garden clubs and other community groups all over the area on a variety of different horticultural topics. Here is a list of the available programs:

Installing a Rain Garden
Attracting Hummingbirds
Managing Oriental Bittersweet and other Woody Invasives
No-till Gardening
Hugelkultur Gardening
Monastic Herb Gardening
Shoreland Restoration
How to Prune Trees
Making a Faerie Garden
Understanding Plant Patents
Invasive Plants
Landscaping for Birds
Organic Gardening
Purchasing and Planting the Right Tree
Planning and Building a Public Garden
The MN Extension Master Gardener Program
Establishing Ground Covers
Planting for Fragrance
Planning a Potager (Kitchen Garden)
A Visit to Public Gardens Around the World

For more information about having a Goodhue County Extension Master Gardener speak to your group, please contact Terry L. Yockey at goodhuemgs@gmail.com or call the Extension office at 651-385-3100.

A GCEMG gives a presentation on No-till Gardening to a local garden club.

A GCEMG gives a presentation on No-till Gardening to the Horticultural Society in Red Wing.

Autumn Tree Care

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Oak leaves from Oakwood Cemetary, Red Wing MN (photo by Nancy Lizette Berlin)

This post is a University of Minnesota Extension News Release:

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, U of M Extension, (612) 626-4077, ajsandve@umn.edu

ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/14/2013)—Drought conditions over the last two-plus years have left trees and other perennial plants visibly stressed this fall. Tree stress symptoms include abundant seed production, leaf scorch, early fall colors, leaf drop, limb dieback and yellowing or browning of leaves and needles.

Fortunately, several measures can help enhance tree and shrub health.

Trees and shrubs–especially conifers (such as pine, spruce and cedar) and those planted in the last three years–should be watered generously until the soil freezes. Mulching newly planted trees also helps reduce winter root damage.

Young maples and thin-barked trees may benefit from sunscald protection to prevent the bark from cracking this winter and spring. This usually involves plastic tubes or tree wraps, which are removed in spring. These practices can also help reduce winter animal damage. Other fall management practices which will help reduce winter damage to trees and shrubs can be found at http://z.umn.edu/winterdamage

Protecting trees from rabbits, mice, voles and deer is another major winter concern. Mow or remove tall grass to reduce mice and vole damage. If the bark is removed or severely damaged around the tree, it will die. Protective physical barriers such as tree tubes, hardware cloth or fencing can be done when practical.

Odor, taste and visual repellents can repel many wildlife species, but may have inconsistent effectiveness. Human hair, soaps, garlic oil, hot sauce and animal repellents can be applied to branches and foliage to discourage browsing. Weather, application frequency, animal population and feeding pressure affect the success of repellents. Alternate the repellents since some animals become desensitized to them. A web resource that reviews prevention and control of wildlife damage can be found at http://z.umn.edu/critters

If you’re unsure about what’s causing problems in your landscape, University of Minnesota Extension has a great website to help homeowners diagnose tree, shrub and plant problems or identifying a weed or insect. This site also has links to the University of Minnesota Plant Disease Clinic and Soil Testing Lab: http://z.umn.edu/diagnose

Fall is also a good time to plant trees; water them until the soil freezes. Recommended trees for all regions of Minnesota are at http://z.umn.edu/rectrees. The best time to prune trees is during the dormant season from January to March. Flowering shrubs can be pruned in the summer after flowering.

Source: Gary Wyatt, University of Minnesota Extension agroforestry educator
For more news from U of M Extension, visit http://www.extension.umn.edu/news or contact Extension Communications at extnews@umn.edu. University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Soil Health and Cover Crop Class – September 11, 2013

Soil Health/Cover Crops will be presented by Thomas Steger from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 P.M. in the Red Wing High School-Courtyard Cafe.  The class will cover soil health including discussions on “soil critters”, recognizing healthy soil and the long-term ramifications of poor soil health.  Tom will also discuss the use of cover crops, mulch and plant diversity and how they can benefit soil health.  Soil glomalin effects on soil aggregation as well as soil stability and water infiltration will be demonstrated.

This class is sponsored by Goodhue County Extension Master Gardeners and Red Wing Community Education.  The cost is $5.  To register,  call Red Wing Community Schools at 385-4565.