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January 2011 Archives

A new ONLINE Diagnostics class is now open to all Master Gardeners.

The class fee is $10 for Master Gardeners payable via Paypal.

Follow these four easy steps:

1, Go to the website is:
2. At the Course list, scroll to and click on Master Gardener
3. Scroll down to Diagnostics for Master Gardener Volunteers: Approaches to Plant Diagnostics and click on the class name
4. Set up a username and password for the moodle course site

The page will automatically go to the class site with the PayPal info at the bottom of the page.

Count the actual hours you actively spend on this class toward MG CE hours.

Copy of bulkweb.JPGTake advantage of the wealth of information from Master Gardeners! Horticulture Days are full-day events in different locations hosted by local Master Gardeners. Visit the Master Gardener websites and find out what's happening in your community: County websites & hotlines.

CE Opp: NEW Bed Bugs Class

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What: NEW 'Bed Bugs Class: What you NEED to Know when the Public Asks'
Instructor: Jeff Hahn

When: March 31, 6:30-9pm

Who: LIMITED to 50 Minnesota Master Gardeners ONLY

Register: By e-mailing Jamie Aussendorf:
Ph: 651-704-2053
Fee: Minimal $5 fee--bring payment that night, made to University of MN

Where: 490 Hodson Hall, University of MN St Paul Campus
Parking: Park in the parking lot on the top of the hill by Hodson (or
you may park for free in the residential neighborhoods just to the
west of campus)

Read more about bed bugs in the Yard & Garden News
Due to some unforeseen conflicts, we have made some schedule changes to the Master Gardener Core Course @ the Arboretum.

Here is the revised schedule:

Friday, Jan. 28
9 am - noon: Indoor Plants (J. Weisenhorn)
1 - 4 pm: Living with Wildlife (J. Loegering)

Saturday, Jan 29 (no change)
9 am - noon: Plant Pathology (M. Grabowski)
1-4 pm: Diagnostics (M. Grabowski)

Friday, Feb. 4
9 am - noon: Fruits (K. Foord)
1-4 pm: Vegetables (V. Fritz)
Bob Mugaas talked aboP1070935.JPGut lush, green lawns at core course yesterday. That's a goodsign that the 2011 growing season is right around the corner!

Please sign up on the MG State Website to volunteer at the Arboretum Yard & Garden Desk (Saturdays and Sundays) and to take questions off the Arboretum Y&G Phone Line (daily).

Thanks to Lynne Hagen, Anoka Program Coordinator, we have three excellent online tutorials on how to answer questions and volunteer at the Y&G Desk and on the Phone Line. The activity has changed. Please review these tutorials - even if you are a long-time Master Gardener. Click HERE for Online training modules.

About the Arboretum Y&G Desk and Phone Line on 2011:
As the UMN Ext Master Gardener Program, we have a great collaboration with the MN Landscape Arboretum. It is part of our Dept. of Horticultural Science and an premier arboretum in the world.

One of the ways Master Gardeners support the Arboretum is by volunteering to answerThumbnail image for Copy of P1020137.JPG questions at the Arboretum Yard & Garden Desk and on the Arboretum Yard & Garden Phone Line. The Arboretum supports our program by providing space and facilities for Master Gardener events and education. Master Gardeners can also enter the Arboretum any time of the year for free by showing the gatekeeper their Master Gardener badge. This includes MG interns.

Starting Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, the Arboretum Yard & Garden will be back in the Great Hall of the Oswald Visitor Center at the main Information Desk on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am - 1 pm and 1 pm - 4 pm. This is temporary however as Extension and the Arboretum are funding a separate Y&G Desk that will be located in the Great Hall apart form the Information desk. This desk / counter will do double duty as it will be used for class registration by the Arboretum education programs.

There are four volunteer slots per day for the Phone Line and the Desk. Counties in the metro area have been assigned to two of these volunteer slots on specific days throughout the year. The other two volunteer slots are available for MGs from unassigned counties to volunteer. A Google calendar has been created for program coordinators and volunteer leaders, and the volunteer slots are available for sign up on the MG state website.

From Peter Moe, Director of Operations, MN Landscape Arboretum:

The Arboretum research staff are probably some of a small group of Minnesotans who are very happy that the temperature dropped to -24.8 F. at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen at 6:23 this morning.  This means we are having a real test winter and the plant breeders and scientists will know that plants that survived uncovered and above the snow with no winter injury are hardy in USDA Zone 4.
Although batches of small twigs can be artificially frozen  to -50 F. in special low temperature freezers at the HRC and examined for winter injury - the best information comes from knowing a grape seedling or selection or a possible new shade tree introduction or other plants being evaluated survived the coldest night of the winter.

One of the reasons it takes a long time to develop new  hardy plants is that  flower buds are often the first part of a plant to be injured if the plant is not fully hardy.  There is no reason to grow an azalea, apple or many other plants unless they will bloom reliably in east central Minnesota and ideally - further north.
2011 Master Gardener Core Course Schedule.pdf

HORT 1003, the Master Gardener Core Course / Horticulture for the Home Garden, is moving right along. The Arboretum class - 120 students strong - is over half over and will wrap up on Feb. 4. The online class - 97 students strong - is underway and Moodle (the education delivery software) is working out well. Winona will be doubling its Master Gardener population (24 interns!) as they host the core course starting Jan. 29. Morris is the fourth location and will start March 15. Registration for that class closes Feb. 15.

Certified Master Gardeners can attend the face-to-face classes (space permitting) for CE, and attend the online class. The process for attending the online class is a little different this year. Instructions have been sent out via the MGSTATE listserve. Please follow them carefully.


Ecosystem Services - The Significance of Contributions by Invasive Plant Species
Stephen Young, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
1:00p.m. ET

Registration: There is no fee for attending this webinar.

For instructions on how to participate on this webinar, scroll down.

About the webinar: The threat to natural systems by invasive plant species was the topic of a one day symposium at the annual meetings of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Experts in biological systems, ecological restoration, computational technologies and policy development spoke to a large audience of conservationists and practitioners. The list of speakers included representatives from across the country, including California, New York, Michigan, Washington, D.C. and Nebraska.

The goal of the symposium was to gain an understanding of the contribution that invasive plant species are making to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. While invasive species continue to threaten many natural and man-made environments and most efforts are in their control or removal, they do provide services to these ecosystems, which have yet to be quantified on a range of scales. The invited speakers addressed several topics, including 1) the current state of invasive plant species, 2) ecosystem services related to invasive plant species, 3) research for quantifying ecosystem services by invasive plant species, 4) mapping invasive plant species in relation to ecosystem services and 5) policy related to ecosystem services and invasive plant species.

Invasive plant species can establish in diverse environments and, with the increase in human mobility, they are no longer restricted to isolated pockets in remote parts of the world. Cheatgrass in rangelands, purple loosestrife in wetlands, and saltcedar in riparian areas are examples of invasive plant species that are common to the United States and can be found in monocultures and patches covering many thousands of hectares. Across the world, invasive plant species like water hyacinth, cogon grass, and mile-a-minute weed have choked waterways, altered fire regimes, or caused the abandonment of farmland due to their dominating and persistent characteristics.

Goals for managing invasive plant species could be the eradication, reduction or containment of a population.The methods available for obtaining management goals include mechanical, chemical, cultural and biological. Under the concept of ecosystem service valuation, a whole new approach may be warranted to help expand current efforts to effectively manage invasive plant species.

About the Speaker: Dr. Young is a Weed Ecologist at the University of Nebraska Western Research & Extension Center in North Platte. The focus of his research and extension program is invasive species in riparian areas and weed management in rainfed cropping systems. His background includes facilitating federally funded research on biofuel production, leading state funded research on vegetationcontrol in rights-of-way, and providing technical support for private industry field research and development on pesticide products for registration.

Before taking his current position, Dr. Young conducted research at Washington State University Center for Precision Agricultural Systems and the University of California, Davis in irrigated and rainfed crop and non-crop systems. While in California, he also managed two large-scale research demonstration projects on pre- and post-plant weed control techniques for establishing native perennial grasses in rights-of-way.

As part of his extension program at UNL, Steve has developed a new program on the ecology and management of invasive plant species, which will help educate and inform land owners, managers, policy makers and graduate students working on invasive plants in North America (see the website for more information). His research program recently received funding to 1) investigate the competitive interactions between invasive plants and an established perennial grass community and 2) determine how geospatial technologies can be used to predict the spread and distribution of the non-native Phragmites australis. Dr. Young is also working with a group of researchers on developing a real-timesensor for identifying invasive plants in the field.

Instructions for Accessing the Webinar:
Following is the link you will use to access this free webinar:

After opening the link, you will notice "enter as a guest" is by default already chosen. Please type your name into the text box provided, and click on "enter room." You are now in the meeting room for this webinar and the facilitator will guide you with any next steps. If you have never attended a Connect Pro meeting before:

Test your connection:

Get a quick overview:

This meeting will deliver audio through your computer speakers or headset. Please connect to the meeting space five minutes prior to the start time to verify your connection and audio volumes. If you've never used Adobe Connect on the computer you will be using, please use the "Test your connection" link above and do a test connection to the actual meeting space well in advance of the scheduled meeting time. If you have technical difficulty connecting, please call the Library Help Desk at 1-800-500-1554 or 5-2345 (MSU campus) and indicate you are having trouble connecting to the Adobe Connect meetingspace at

Keep in mind that many people will be linked into this conference. To facilitate Q&A's, participants submit questions via the Chat Function in Adobe Connect.
Phaseolus vulgaris Provider fruit flwr1.JPGOnce again, we need dedicated Master Gardeners to test various vegetables, cosmos, and/or morning glories in their own gardens throughout the state. For a small service charge, we will mail you enough seeds to start one crop of each variety. We'll also send forms on which to record yield, flavor, etc., for the crop being tested.

You may count the time you work on your trial(s) as volunteer hours. You may also choose to include outside groups to do the trials such as school groups, boy / girl scouts, community groups, etc.

We'll test six varieties in each trial. You may select one or more of the following to trial: cilantro, zinnia, eggplant, fennel & kohlrabi (three varieties of each), morning glory, snap peas. You need to devote a minimum of eighteen (18) row-feet to the test, and evaluate all varieties in your chosen test. Note that both morning glories and snap peas will need space to climb. We will mail you your seeds and forms on March 1st.

Please click the following link to the sign up form:

The sign up form is self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, please contact Bridget Barton at 612-625-4211. Your evaluations of the trials MUST be submitted to the state office by October 1, 2011, or you will not be eligible for future trials.

For Becker, Hubbard and Otter Tail Counties. All are invited. Attendance counts as continuing ed hours for Master Gardeners.

WHEN: 9:30AM - Saturday, January 15, 2011

WHERE: Conference Center at M-State, Detroit Lakes, MN (Hwy 34 East)

CONTACT: Jaime Omberg, Pelican River Watershed District
Ph: 218-846-0436; Email:

9:30AM - Informal reception for all attendees and legislators (coffee/juice/rolls)

10:00 - AIS Legislative Summit

10:10 to 11:10 - Presentations
Pelican River Watershed, RMB Laboratories, City of DL, Becker County Commissioners, DL Regional Chamber of Commerce, Regional Business Owner, Lake Association, COLAs, and Minnesota DNR; St. Paul
11:10 - Public comments

Noon - Adjourn

Pizza courtesy of Tom Hanson, Zorbaz
I posted this reminder about the Yard & Garden News because it is such an excellent source of factual University research-based info. It's also free and electronic, so it's cheap and green. As a Master Gardener, you shouldn't even think twice about reading the Y&G News when the link comes in your email InBox.

In the latest issue, scientist and UMN Extension Master Gardener, Grace Anderson, has an excellent update on Hosta Virus X (HVX) that you all should read and take note of for the upcoming growing season. Thanks Grace - awesome article!

Subscribe for free to the Yard & Garden News by clicking on the title "Yard & Garden News" and clicking on the link "Subscribe Here" located on the right hand side.

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