Master Gardeners will be at the Dakota County Fair Monday, August 7 – Sunday, August 13 offering you and your family the opportunity to tour and learn about the Heritage Village gardens, explore the Children’s Garden and get your gardening questions answered.
Master Gardeners of Dakota County recently assisted the City of Mendota Heights and other volunteers in creating a pollinator garden at City Hall. Take a couple minutes to watch the video summary of the project and its goal to protect and provide for pollinators. The gardens is a great way for residents to see many beautiful, easy care native plants and get an idea of how the plants could be used in their own gardens to provide for pollinators, other insects and wildlife.
July brings you two fantastic Tuesday Evening in the Garden sessions for you to expand your gardening knowledge. On Tuesday, July 11th the topic is Confessions of a Hostaholic presented by Deborah Snow. She will show how to create the perfect hosta garden through an understanding color, shape, size and companion plantings. Learn how to divide a hosta and create a border from a single plant.
On Tuesday, July 18th we have A Prairie Walk hosted by Carolyn Harstad. Tour the extensive prairie garden at the Fairgrounds with author and native plant expert Carolyn Harstadt. Learn how you can incorporate these hardy natives into your own landscape.
If you have been noticing some fresh holes in your roses, crab apples and raspberries the likely culprit are the Japanese Beetles. The adult beetles can be very destructive and not very selective in what they eat. The beetles start as a white grub and the adult beetles typically come out in late June and hang around through August. During that time they eat, mate, and lay eggs to overwinter in your lawn.
When in feeding stage the grubs eat the roots of lawn grass and can reduce the root system enough that grass can die in the summer heat and dry winds. The adult beetles chew on leaves, leaving them with a lacy or skeletonized look. Their favorite plants include grape vines, crabapples, hollyhock, roses, plum, apples, lindens, and birch to name a few. Bring a sample of the insect and damage they are causing to one of our Events and our Master Gardeners can help you identify the issue and suggest solutions.
There are several ways you can help reduce the damage to your plants however it can be difficult to eliminate the beetles from your yard. Adults beetles can fly for miles! For turf, make sure you have a large infestation before applying an insecticide for grubs. Look for areas of brown grass and search in adjacent green areas for grubs and pupae. Insecticides are needed to control grubs and adults if the damage is extensive.
Removing beetles by hand may provide protection for backyards if beetle numbers are low. Beetles on a plants attract more beetles so by not allowing beetles to accumulate, plants will be less attractive to other beetles. Shake beetles from small plants into jars filled with soapy water.
If you choose to use an insecticide, foliage and flowers should be thoroughly treated. Follow label directions and avoid spraying under windy conditions. Never spray when bees are foraging. Be sure the insecticide is registered for use on the plants you want to spray. If it is a food crop, note the minimum number of days that must be observed between the date of the last application and the date of harvest.
Research has demonstrated that more beetles fly toward traps then are caught; resulting in surplus beetles that feed on your plants. Think twice before purchasing and installing a pheromone trap. If you are really frustrated with the number of beetles you see, try this method and see if it helps.
For more information on beetle identification and lifecyle visit the U of M Extension – Japanese Beetle Management.
Source: University of Minnesota Extension
The 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year is Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Add this plant to your pollinator friendly garden. The flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and the leaves are a food source for the monarch butterfly caterpillars too. Butterfly weed does best in full sun and can tolerate dry soils. Once established it is very drought tolerant. There are no notable disease or pest problems and the deer tend to leave it along too.
Butterfly weed attracts butterflies like crazy and also makes a great long lasting cut flower. Cut when the buds are at least half open since they won’t open once cut. Deadhead to prevent reseeding if desired and to promote additional blooms.
Regardless of what you think is the cause of pollinator problems, we can all agree that pollinators serve a very important role in our ecosystem and help us grow the food we eat. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture states that “More than one third of all plants or plant products consumed by humans are in some way dependent on insects for pollination.” What can we do to help? Over the next couple of weeks we will be posting on a variety of things you can consider to help do your part to protect our pollinators.
One of the easiest things we can do to help pollinators is provide the right plants in our gardens. Encourage bees and butterflies in the garden by providing different kinds of plants that produce nectar and pollen from early spring in March through frost in September to maintain a reliable food source. Perennials plants that come back every spring can be selected with bloom times in mind. Here a just a few of the perennials you can add to your garden now to provide for pollinators.
Joe Pye Weed blooms in August and September and is a large perennial reaching about 5′ tall and forms a rather large clump. Prefers part to full sun. Smaller cultivars of this native can be found in garden centers.
Anise Hyssop is a pollinator friendly perennial for full sun and growing about 3′ tall with pretty lavender flowers. The name anise comes from its minty-licorice scent.
Purple Coneflower is a very hardy, sun loving perennial flowering in July and August. Purple coneflower is also very drought tolerant and will attract tons of pollinators and birds too.
For a more complete list of pollinator plants, the U of M has a great list of plants at Plants for MN Bees .