Regular pruning throughout the life of the tree promotes healthy growth, maintains the shape of the canopy, and reduces stress on the tree. Dead, diseased and damaged branches should normally be removed right away. One exception is Oak, which is susceptible to Oak Wilt disease, and best pruned while dormant.
Early spring is an ideal time to identify branches and limbs requiring removal. Some trees such as Maple may bleed sap, but this will self-seal and is not harmful.
“Proper Tree Pruning” published by the WI Department of Natural Resources illustrates some key pruning basics.
This All-America Selections winner in the annuals category hasn't got the most alluring name but the Zinnia Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor is an outstanding zinnia new for this year, 2021. The outstanding feature that wowed the judges was that as the growing season progresses the colors will morph from the red/yellow to apricot, salmon, and dusty rose.
Pollinator friendly, this variety can be grown in containers, hanging baskets or beds. Use them for groundcover, low edging or as a medium-height divider. Expect compact mounds of 8 to 14 inches in height. Plant in multiple clusters to get the full impact of the range of striking colors you can expect from this winner. Bloom size is about two and a half inches.
Plant in full to partial sun. No deadheading or staking are necessary. Typical of zinnia, this variety is heat, wind and rain tolerant. If starting your own seeds, first flower will come at 60 days. Transplanted from seedlings, flowering will be at about 30 days.
Article by Pam Davies, UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
This is a repost of a Wisconsin Horticulture, Division of Extension article. The original article can be found at:
Bypassing Plant Pathogens: Promoting Tree and Shrub Health Through Proper Pruning
Posted on February 3, 2021
Pruning in the winter can reduce the risk of disease-causing organisms infecting trees and shrubs through pruning cuts.
By Brian Hudelson, Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic
Although it doesn’t seem like the optimal time to be gardening, February is actually a great time to be out pruning your trees and shrubs to make them more structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.
Why prune now? Whenever you prune, you create wounds that potentially can serve as entry points for disease-causing fungi and bacteria. If you prune in the spring and summer (when it’s warmer and often wetter), these organisms are very active and more likely land on fresh pruning cuts and infect. When the weather is colder and drier (as it tends to be in February in Wisconsin), disease-causing organisms are much less active and the chances of them infecting though pruning cuts is much reduced.
How do I go about pruning? Check out University of Wisconsin Garden Facts XHT1013 (Pruning Evergreens), XHT1014 (Pruning Deciduous Trees) and XHT1015 (Pruning Deciduous Shrubs) for pointers on how to prune.
Prune only when it’s dry, and decontaminate pruning tools between cuts (or at a minimum between each tree or shrub) by treating them with 70% alcohol (e.g., rubbing alcohol right out of the bottle, spray disinfectants containing ~70% alcohol) or (in a pinch) 10% bleach. Decontaminating tools kills off disease-causing organisms that you might pick up as you prune. Once done pruning, if you’ve used bleach, be sure to thoroughly rinse your tools, and oil them to prevent them from rusting.
By pruning regularly and taking a few simple precautions as you do, you will end up with trees that are beautiful, structurally sound and healthy.
Cost: $10 covers all four presentations
The Spring Garden Seminar will be presented via You Tube Live. Attendees will receive the link the
week prior to each presentation. All presentations are open to the public and we welcome both new
and experienced gardeners. Registration at https://www.eauclaireareamastergardener.org/
Brought to you by Western Wisconsin Master Gardener Associations from the following counties:
Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pierce and St. Croix
The Ashland/Bayfield County Master Gardeners are hosting two virtual programs “Unsung Heroes of Nature” on February 11 from 6:30-8 pm and “How to Attract Pollinators to Your Home Gardens” on March 11 from 6:30-8 pm. You can find out more about each program and registration information by clicking on the links below. A program link and password will be provided the day before the program by Sarah DeGraff, UW-Extension Bayfield County.
Living here in northern Wisconsin, and being a gardener, I wanted to break the barriers to gardening that our harsh winters create. This year, I am experimenting with hydroponics. Hydroponics, in its simplest form, is growing plants by supplying all necessary nutrients in the plants’ water supply rather than through the soil.
Plants need water, nutrients, light, air, and structural support for the roots.
There are two types of hydroponic systems: active and passive. I have had a passive system when our Master Gardener Kids in the Garden program repurposed plastic bottles that had a “wicking” material to draw up the liquid nutrients for the roots to access by simply suspending the plants in the inverted bottle top and placing the container in a sunny window. That works well in Summer, but not at all in Winter. There is simply not enough natural light for the plant to grow, given our shorter winter daylight hours.
I do not have a lot of room in my home for racks of plants grown the traditional way in soil. So, I turned to an active hydroponic system. I purchased a system with an air pump that supplies 1 liter of Oxygen/min per 5 gallons to move the nutrients in and out of the root zone area and to provide aeration. All plants require light for photosynthesis, the process within a plant that converts light, oxygen, and water into carbohydrates (energy). An LED plant growing light with a timer keeps the light on for 15 hours daily. LED’s create little heat, are energy efficient, and the Red & Blue bulbs cast a purple light that is great for growing plants.
My choice is a water-culture system that does not use any medium other than water, which requires a support material such as wire mesh to keep the plants from drowning. I chose white fabric pots that are reflective in cold environments and can be reused. This provides regular contact between the plant roots and the nutrient solution. A PH meter with a built-in thermometer checks for the target temperature of 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes nutrients most available to plants and a PH target of 5.8 to 6.5. (PH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity on a scale of 1 to 14, with 1 being very acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being very alkaline). A fan is used to provide airflow. Leafy crops like lettuce and herbs tend to do better in water culture than do fruiting crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers. I started with herbs – basil (Genovese and Thai), parsley, dill, mint, and thyme.
I purchased a prepared hydroponic nutrient in liquid form. You can do it yourself, but I wanted a “sure thing” for my first hydroponic experience. Tap water is used that stands uncovered for a couple of days to eliminate any significant concentrations of chlorine, which can adversely affect plant growth. As on option, you could purchase distilled water and use it immediately. Nutrient solution is added every two weeks. Water levels are checked frequently and topped off with more water to avoid building up concentrations of mineral salts. This water will be recycled after harvesting the herbs by watering my other indoor plants, refresh my container, and get ready to plant lettuces.
After three weeks from plant date, I have been pinching off the dill to put in with my hummus, and the basil is being used for caprese salads. I am using the mint in my afternoon tea. The other two herbs, parsley, and thyme are almost ready to harvest.
I have always been a more traditional gardener, using only soil and soilless mixes, yet I have become a convert to hydroponics. This summer, I will use a “DIY” solution to prepare some PVC pipes to grow tomatoes and peppers outdoors hydroponically.
I hope you will give hydroponics a try! It will extend your growing season and give you fresh herbs and lettuces during the winter that will remind you Summer is not far away.
Submitted by Roseann Meixelsperger
January 29, 2021
Photo Credit: unknown author, licensed by CC BY-SA
The University of Minnesota Extension service has published Gardening with Native Grasses in Cold Climates online and is offering free access! What a great way to while away these long winter months!
Here is a link that will take you directly to the first chapter Introduction to Grasses. Notice the Contents drop down on the left of the title banner, click on the word Contents to link to these chapters:
Post by Pam Davies, MGV
I want to share a helpful book that a friend recently shared with me.
Raising Butterflies in the Garden ~ author Brenda Dziedzic
A little about Brenda Dziedzic. She is an award winning Master Gardener and an expert on the subject of raising butterfly and moth species. Her memberships include the Southeast Michigan Butterfly Association, Monarch Watch and the North American Butterfly Association.
I appreciated all the tips she shares on how to attract butterflies to your backyard. And why it is important to plant both nectar and host plants.
She also shares how to create your own butterfly nursery.
Black Swallowtail have been visiting and living in our garden for the past two seasons.
I was so happy to learn from Brenda, how to help our Black Swallowtail survive and flourish during the seasons by planting host plants and nectar plants.
Brenda goes into detail with the following butterfly and moth families..
Whites and Sulphurs
As the winter months are fast approaching and we soon will be looking at seed catalogs. We can start to plan our gardens around attracting our favorite butterflies.
Some people may feel they need to have a large garden to attract butterfly. Hey, no worries, butterfly enjoy small gardens and container gardeners too.
If you are a container gardener, Brenda gives tips for the container gardener on attracting butterfly.
If you like butterflies, you will enjoy this book.
Carla TePaske ~ NCMGV
Late Summer is here and Autumn is knocking on the door.
Flowers from our gardens are starting to slow down and we are seeing signs of Autumn.
We can still make lovely bouquets using a little creativity.
Dried grasses, broom corn and flowers work well.
Add feathers, pinecones, acorns and dried leaves.
"The goldenrod is yellow.
The corn is turning brown.
The trees in apple orchards with fruit are bending down."
Helen Hunt Jackson
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