Although northern Minnesota has not yet experienced heavy rains, we can never anticipate when they might occur. Mitigating the repercussions that not only affect our yards but also water quality, costs for municipal services and even fishing is something we all can work on. Slowing runoff from roofs and our many impervious surfaces prevents overloads from entering storm sewers, streams, lakes and rivers willy-nilly. Rain barrels are helpful, but they can overflow quite quickly, especially from large roof surfaces.
Hopefully: 2016's fallen leaves are decomposing in your compost pile and you have it covered to keep it working; strawberry beds have a spun polyester row cover over them to protect those early "king" berries and are awaiting an airy mulch after freeze-up; trunks of smooth-barked trees have been protected from sun scald with a tree wrap or burlap and further protected from rodent damage with metal hardware “cloth;" deer repellant has been applied to fruit trees and arbor vitae, the deer candy species.
Before daylight decreases and temperatures drop, August is the time to take cuttings or “slips” from summer plants you want to reproduce. Later timing reduces your chance for success. What is a cutting or slip? It means that you take a stem of new, healthy growth to stimulate root production resulting in a true clone of a parent plant. Why would you want to reproduce a plant when so many new and different ones are available in the spring at nurseries? 1. It may not be available next year.
Sterility is not an attribute many of us aspire to possess, but when we seek out a landscape plan for our homes, are we following ways to achieve a vital landscape? We look for “low or no maintenance.” We want grass we don’t have to mow often, grass without weeds; shrubs that grow slowly and don’t require pruning; trees that don’t drop seeds. We use big rocks or driftwood on stony mulches with a few obligatory plants. Talk about a lifeless landscape.
The tomato season is almost as long as that of Major League Baseball; what they have in common is that a winning season depends on the health of the players. With the wet weather and the very hot weather upcoming, conditions are ripe for tomato disease problems, those related to the weather and what we as gardeners do to the plants and soil.
Spring can be a tease—full of transitory enticements or even the prelude to a long romance of soft rains, balmy days and nights and great gardening promise.
Just as the brilliant autumn colors had merged into the subtle golds of grasses and parchment white of hostas, portents of winter arrived this past week: gray skies and white snow. Planning your landscape to include colorful plants and sculptural elements can dispel the gloom. You can keep it lively by selecting plants that attract birds, create interesting shadows, and by adding shelter and feeders, woo colorful birds.
It has been the year of weeds, according to complaints Master Gardeners have heard. One of the culprits that is becoming more prevalent is poison ivy.
Another animal invader entered the United States, in California in 2009, and has exploded across the country, reaching Beltrami County just this summer. This invader won’t get the headlines and action that zebra mussels has, but you may want to pay attention. The economic damage is not inconsequential. In New York alone, on a single crop of 500 acres of raspberries in 2010, losses reached 80 percent, a $3 million dollar loss. This does not account for the home gardeners who lost food for their tables and freezers.
This spring, a woman told me of driving past a large property being sprayed for turf weeds with a tractor and pull behind sprayer. It was a windy day and the chemicals drifted across the roadway, entering her car. It caused her considerable respiratory distress.