The trees most likely to die from oak wilt infection are in the red oak group, including northern pin oak, northern red oak, red oak and black oak. The white oak group is more likely to survive infection and includes bur oak, swamp white oak, white oak and English oak.
Tree paint or wound dressing is not normally recommended on pruned or wounded surfaces, but for damaged oaks an immediate light application of these products may be the only defense against oak wilt infection from April through July.
Pruning in spring can be damaging to any deciduous tree because their energy reserves are low as they produce new buds and leaves following the winter months. In general, the best time to prune is in winter when trees are dormant.
As of January 31, oak wilt has been found in all Wisconsin counties except Ashland, Iron, Forest, Taylor, Door, Kewaunee, Calumet and Manitowoc counties. Several of these counties contain the highest abundance of healthy and productive oak forests in the state. Taking recommended precautions will help keep them that way for years to come.
Oak wilt and other diseases move easily on or in firewood logs year-round, so keeping firewood local, or purchasing Wisconsin-certified firewood, is another important component of protecting trees and keeping forests healthy. Visit the DNR firewood page for more information and a directory of certified firewood vendors.
More information, including a recently released oak wilt video, is available at the DNR oak wilt page. Additional information about proper pruning techniques is available from community foresters or through DNR resources such as this tree pruning poster.
An additional Early Seed Starting Webinar has been added
Wednesday, April 3, 6:00 - 7:30 pm @ your computer
Offered through WITC
See below for registration info
Late winter and early spring are the time to check out catalogs, place seed orders and start seeds. Learn more about several seed starting techniques from Sue Reinardy, UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in an upcoming webinar. Sue has volunteered her time to create and deliver this webinar that will feature: deciphering catalog and seed package jargon, proper planting conditions and several techniques including the winter sown planted method that you can start now.
This webinar can be attended from any home computer or device with an internet connection, microphone and camera. Instructions to access the course will be provided a few days before the start of the class. Registration is required through WITC at courses.witc.edu Enter "Early Seed Starting" in the search box. The registration fee is $13.50, and for those 62+ it is $9.00 .
On Saturday, September 8, 2018 a group of gardeners met in the Spooner Agricultural Research Station Teaching and Display Garden for one of the last programs of the growing season. If you missed the program, here are links to the handouts and a few pictures of the morning.
Mowing: According to David Bayer from UWEX Outagamie County the most important cultural practice associated with turf care is proper mowing. Mow high (3 inches) during the spring and summer months when grass reaches 4 inches. Continue mowing in the fall until the grass stops growing. Mow shorter in the last few mowings. For the last mowing set the mower 1 inch shorter to prevent snow mold in spring and to discourage moles, voles, and mice from burrowing in your lawn all winter.
Fertilizer: A fertilizer program is recommended based on your personal preference. A minimum maintenance program is to apply a winterizer fertilizer (26-0-12) in early September. If you prefer a more lush lawn, fertilizer can be applied two times; add an early June application to the September application. For our area a maximum application of three times is recommended; for a high maintenance lawn apply fertilizer in early June, July, and early September. The July fertilizer application can be skipped if a mulching mower is used. These are the active grass growing periods in Wisconsin. Never apply fertilizer during dormant periods.
Seeding: The best time to establish a new lawn or reseed is between August 15 and September 20; mid-May is also a good time. It pays to buy quality seed; it will contain less weed seed and better grass varieties. According to the University Extension, “the only way to evaluate the quality of a mix is to read and understand the label. “ Extension recommends paying attention to these points when checking out labels:
Kentucky Blue Grass is one of the most popular grasses in Wisconsin. It is winter hardy, grows by rhizomes, is soft to touch, and mows well. However it goes into summer dormancy, does not tolerate heat well, is shade intolerant, and has high fertilizer needs. Most sod is Kentucky Blue Grass.
Perennial Rye Grass is quick to germinate, but is not very winter hardy and is intolerant of summer stress of heat or drought. It is usually put into seed mixtures because it is quick to germinate and helps with early erosion control.
Fine Fescues ( Hard, Red, or Chewings) have low fertilizer needs, are slow growing (less mowing), can be grown in shade or sun, and have some drought tolerance. However they are susceptible to disease in high traffic areas, and can get summer patch and snow mold. It is good to have a mix of Fine Fescues to help offset the negatives.
The type of seed will determine the number of fertilizer applications needed and how much you want to mow. For example, a mix with a high percentage of Kentucky Blue Grass may not do well if you plan to fertilize once per year. Each seed type has its advantages and disadvantages. There are none that are perfect for every situation.
UW Extension Bulletins
These bulletins and more can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF file or purchased from the
Seed Saving, Harvest, and Fall Clean-up
August, 2018 Spooner, Wisconsin. On Saturday morning at 10:00, September 8, gardeners will be meeting in the award-winning Teaching and Display Garden at the Spooner Agriculture Research Station and all are invited to discuss late season gardening. The program will focus on harvesting, seed saving and clean-up. Learn tips and resources on storing and preserving fresh produce. Several types of seed saving techniques will be demonstrated and there will be checklists for fall clean-up. The garden will still be at its peak to enjoy. University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will share their tips gathered through experience and university-based research.
This year’s theme is “Get Social in the Garden”, a part of the All American Selections #AASWinners. The Garden is one of eight in Wisconsin that display vegetable and flower varieties who have been awarded this designation as an outstanding cultivar.
Remember to bring your own lawn chair for the Meet Me in the Garden Seminar. The session is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine – please dress accordingly. In case of inclement weather, the program will be held at the Station Building at W6646 Highway 70, Spooner. The garden is located on Orchard Lane, 1.5 miles east of Spooner on Highway 70 or 1/2 mile west of the Hwy 70/53 interchange. Watch for garden meeting signs.
For more information and a map visit the station’s web site at: http://spooner.ars.wisc.edu/ or contact Kevin Schoessow or Lorraine Toman at the Spooner Area UW-Extension Office at 715-635-3506 or 1-800-528-1914.
6 Tips for maintaining healthy soil ecosystem:
For more info on soil testing go to:
UW Soil Lab - Lawn & Garden Testing Information
Each season Master Gardeners answer a plethora of questions for the public about gardens, turf, trees, flowers, vegetables, insects, and plant diseases. Some people have methods of gardening that have been passed down through generations that have no basis in fact and can, in fact, be downright detrimental to the landscape.
One very common practice is using salt for weed control in an asparagus patch. This old practice involves pouring salty water or granular salt in among the asparagus plants to kill the weeds. While asparagus is deep-rooted and has a higher salt tolerance than shallow rooted weeds, this is still a poor practice. The salt destroys soil structure, creates a crust on the soil surface, and results in poor water penetration. Ultimately it will kill the asparagus along with the weeds. Mechanical (shallow tilling or hoeing in the spring), cultural (applying mulch), or chemical (using preemergent herbicides) are all superior weed control methods.
Epsom salt application is another favorite of the garden misapplications. Epsom salt is high in magnesium and some gardeners use it generously when growing roses, peppers, and tomatoes. In reality, unless the soil is extremely deficient in magnesium, it will not be of any benefit. Even then, the application may result in environmental harm that negates any benefit. A soil test would be the first line of defense to determine if any deficiency exists. In that unlikely event, an addition might be necessary, but Epsom salt would be a poor choice for an amendment. Magnesium is not a macro element needed for ideal growth. Healthy soil and the three major elements, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, will produce ideal growing conditions.
A common misconception when planting a tree or shrub is to dig the planting hole twice as wide AND twice as deep as the root ball. Only half of that statement is correct. The hole should be twice as wide, but only as deep as the root ball itself. Deep planting leads to stress, decline, and eventual death of the tree. Contrary to popular opinion, tree roots do not grow deeply like a carrot, but they spread widely. They will extend as far, or farther than the tree canopy. Ninety to ninety-five percent of the roots will be within the first three feet of soil, and fifty percent will be within the first foot. When planting a new tree, identify the first set of primary lateral roots and locate them at or near the soil level.
Another mistake is to add compost to the planting hole. Roots prefer to grow in this nice, soft soil and will curl around and try to stay in the area instead of spreading out. This will lead to girdling and eventual tree death. Instead, backfill the hole with native soil.
The last fantasy is a potentially deadly one: organic pesticides are not as harmful as synthetic ones. Keep in mind that arsenic, snake venom, and E. coli are all organic, and all can be deadly. A pesticide is defined as “any substance or combination of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, regulating, or controlling pests.” This covers both organic and synthetic pesticides and includes herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. The perception is that organic pesticides are gentler to the environment. However, if improperly applied, organic pesticides containing pyrethrins (a compound extracted from chrysanthemums) can be toxic to both humans and pets. Rotenone, another organic compound, can be hazardous to aquatic life. All of them are harmful to beneficial insects.
To determine relative toxicity on any pesticide label, look for the signal words “Caution” (least toxic), “Warning”, or “Danger” (most toxic). However, these words do not give an indication of environmental harm, only toxicity. In any case, use according to label directions.
When trying to determine if a practice is sound or is based on questionable data, always use university based research. Find sites that end in .edu or .gov when using the internet as a resource. Consult the County Extension Office or a Master Gardener for assistance.
Certified Master Gardener
Original Post at: https://dodge.uwex.edu/2017/04/ask-a-master-gardener-garden-facts-and-fantasies/
This is a guest post from Carol Shirk, UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer. She is from Dodge County and has been a Master Gardener for over 20 years, grew up on a dairy farm where they grew most of what they ate. She jokingly says that she was the original Cabbage Patch Kid, because she was literally raised in a garden. She has been gardening in some form or another for more than 60 years.
*Planting cover crops can improve a new or overused vegetable garden by adding nitrogen and microbes to the soil.
*They can improve soil texture by breaking up compaction.
*They can suppress weeds and after cutting them down can provide natural mulch between rows of vegetables.
*They can attract pollinators if they have flowers (ie clover, vetch, buckwheat).
*Rye establishes itself quickly and is a good cover crop to plant in the fall and overwinter.
*Cut or mow the crop before it seeds.
*Buckwheat can be a good early spring cover crop to plant before vegetables and it benefits the soil.
Problems that cover crops can help with:
Some resources for cover crop seeds are: Johnny Seed Company, Seed Savers, and Mother Earth Nursery in Minneapolis. Also UW-Extension's bulletin "Cover Crops for Home Gardens".
Mike Maddox will be a speaker at the Twilight Garden Tour on August 14, 2018 starting at 4:00 pm at the Spooner Research Station Teaching and Display Garden. For a preview, here are notes from the 2018 Upper Midwest Regional Master Gardener State Conference by Donna Amidon, MGV.
Some suggestions for adapting tools to avoid issues with arthritis might be : using ergonomically correct hand tools such as those with ratcheting ability; focus on your grip making sure the handle diameter is as large as the opening when you make the “ok” sign with your thumb and forefinger and that your thumb and knuckles do not overlap when gripping the handle; “stabbing” at the soil rather than pushing it away from you when using a hand digger (this will help you use your bigger arm muscles rather than the wrist and hand so much); making sure the handle length of longer tools allows you to stand upright; and using sprayers with button to turn on and off rather than squeezing the grip when handwatering.
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