Habitat Restoration for Streambanks and Shorelines: Lecture & Field Tour

Learn how natural plant habitat restoration improves stream and river water quality with Katie Himanga, a Goodhue County Extension Master Gardener and Certified Forester. The first part of the course, on October 20th, consists of a lecture at the History Center and outlines the steps necessary to restore a site’s natural habitat while preserving or enhancing scenic quality. On October 22nd, apply the knowledge to Wells Creek in Old Frontenac and see natural habitat restoration in progress. Contact Red Wing Community Education (651-385-4565) or online to register.

Thursday, October 20th Lecture at the Goodhue County Historical Society | 6-7:30pm
Saturday, October 22nd Field Tour at the Villa Maria Grounds in Frontenac | 9-11am

Time to Remove Buckthorn

Weedwrench

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.

Stop Oriental Bittersweet in MN

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Goodhue County Extension Master Gardener Genella Mussell
answering questions about invasive Oriental Bittersweet

by Genella Mussell, Goodhue County Extension Master Gardener

As leaves, trees and undergrowth begin to fill out and eventually paint our world green I want to remind folks to be on the lookout for invasive species. We have heard the awful news about the Emerald Ash Borer for our Ash trees. How many of us as gardeners are aware of Oriental Bittersweet?

Bittersweet? That beautiful berry and vine used to make those fall wreaths often seen at craft fairs and stores? Well, yes and no. The bittersweet that should be used in these wreaths is the American Bittersweet. Unfortunately there may be wreaths made with a variety named Oriental Bittersweet.

The bittersweet causing concern for the Minnesota DNR is the Oriental Bittersweet. Unfortunately it was introduced to the US as an ornamental vine. It is a climbing woody perennial vine. It has proven to be very aggressive. It can grow to heights of 66’. Because of this aggressive growth it can smother trees, shrubs and other vegetation. It had been known to cover entire trees and pull them down due to the heaviness of the growth. The vines can girdle and kill grown trees.

The Oriental Bittersweet looks very similar to the American. Differences that can be noted are in how the fruit and flowers grow and the color of the berries. The Oriental Bittersweet has fruit and flowers located in the leaf axils along the length of the stem. American bittersweet, however, only has fruit and flowers in terminal clusters. The berries of the American Bittersweet are orange and those of the Oriental yellow. These are best seen in the fall.

Why the warning? As stated, this vine is very aggressive. The Oriental Bittersweet has at present a limited distribution in Minnesota, which is why we need to stop it now.  As gardeners we should be on the lookout for it or at least aware of it. Because it is a favorite in ornamental wreaths it may be unintentionally introduced. So as a warning, when attending craft fairs or shows, take a careful look at the wreath and make sure they are not compromised of the Oriental Bittersweet.

Sadly, we have any number of invasive species of which we must be aware. If we take a moment to familiarize ourselves with the plants around us or those with which we may come in contact, we can perhaps slow the spread of some of these species. We should remember the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Online Resources:

Events Calendar

Our calendar filled with yard and gardening classes, garden events and garden tours all around the southern Minnesota and Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Click the Agenda tab to get a full listing of all the current events or click each separate date for a description and map that shows you how to get there.