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September 2011 Archives

September 22 is Green for Life Day in Minnesota!

The Governor has proclaimed Green for Life Day on Thursday, September 22. MNLA received the proclamation this week, and we are excited to once again bring this event to the people of Minnesota. 

 Bailey Trees for Green for Life

Bailey Nurseries is donating 50 trees for Green for Life planting. the common sense stipulations are:

  • You must register in the MNLA's Green for Life program
  • You must be an MNLA member
  • The tree can only be used for a Green for Life school planting

The first 50 MNLA companies to let MNLA's Sue Flynn know they would like to receive a free tree from Bailey Nurseries will receive instructions via email. One tree per company. Contact Sue at and she will email your company the details and directions as to where to pick up your tree. Trees are still available!


For more information on Green for Life and to register online, go to:

Malus keepsake fruit1 254.jpgBy Emily Hoover, posted by J. Weisenhorn

Question: What is the implication of the freeze warning on the apple crop?

Answer: It depends on how cold it gets. The temperature within an orchard is not consistent. The "rule of thumb" is about 10% of the fruit on the tree will freeze if the temperature drops to 28 degrees Fahrenheit and remains so a few hours.  Ninety percent of the apples will freeze if the temperature drops to 25 degrees Fahrenheit and remains so for a few hours. 

However, the level of sugar in an apple also changes the severity of the event. The higher the amount of sugar, the lower the temperature has to be before freezing will occur because sugar lowers the freezing point of a solution. (Think Chemistry 101). Note that if the fruit freezes on the tree, but is not touched until it thaws, the fruit is fine to harvest.

Emily Hoover is a professor and department head in the UMN Department of Horticultural Science. Her research focuses on apple rootstocks.

Freeze tonight?

| 1 Comment
According to WCCO weather, weather tonight and Thursday night in the metro area  is colder - mostly clear with widespread frost after midnight and lows 30 to 35. So ... the big question around here is "what do I do to protect my plants from a freeze tonight?" Here are some tips:

This evening, cover plants with row covers, old blankets / sheets to trap warm air around them overnight. Remove the coverings as the day warms up.

Plants like pansies, kale, collards and cabbage do well in cooler temperatures. Carrots and other root vegetables are insulated by the soil and can be dug into colder weather, so no need to pull all these up today. They will "sweeten up" as cold temperatures cause sugars in the edible roots to concentrate.

Move houseplants indoors after checking them over for insects / disease issues. Prune off dead foliage and clean out debris that may have accumulated on the soil surface. Wash any soil, cobwebs, etc. off the pot - don't forget to check the bottom! This is a good time to re-pot plants with fresh, sterile soil. UMN publication: Houseplant Insect Control

Bring amaryllis bulbs indoors. Check them over for pests and debris, and prune off any dead leaves. Set them in a dark cool place and stop watering them. This is a resting period. Remove them in December, water them and put them in a sunny window for holiday bloom. UMN publication: Growing and Caring for Amaryllis

Remove or "lift" tender bulbs from the soil such as cannas, gladiolas, caladiums, begonias, dahlias, etc. once the vegetation is killed off by frost.

Got tomatoes? If tomatoes have started to ripen, pick them and bring them indoors in 55-70 degree temps (a kitchen counter works well or on top of the frig). Or, pull up the entire plant and hang it up indoors (works well for cherry tomatoes that are light-weight). If your tomatoes are still hard and green, chances are they are going to stay that way. Look for recipes for green tomatoe chutney and green tomato salsa. There's always fried green tomatoes as well!

Hi Master Gardeners:

Here is a Continuing Ed opportunity for you - a free webcast by the EPA on lawn fertilizer laws. This webcast is one in a series on the important issue of nutrient pollution.  To register for this Webcast, please visit Participants are encouraged to download webcast presentations prior to the webcast at the same URL.  Webcast participants are also eligible to receive a certificate for their attendance. See below for more information - jw

Since Minnesota is the first state to regulate the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizers, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been invited to present on this upcoming EPA webcast. My thanks to my MDA co-workers and to Drs. Brian Horgan and Carl Rosen, University of Minnesota, and Jerry Spetzman, Chisago County, for helping develop the presentation on Minnesota's law.  - Ron Struss, MDA.

Register for an EPA Watershed Academy Webcast on "State and Local Policies to Restrict the Use of  Lawn Fertilizers" on Sept. 21, 2011

 Join us for a free EPA Watershed Academy webcast titled "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: State and Local Policies to Restrict the Use of Lawn Fertilizers" on Wed., Sept. 21, 2011 at 12 pm - 2 pm Central.

This webcast will highlight legislation passed by Minnesota, Michigan and the Chesapeake Bay states to restrict the use of lawn fertilizers and will share key lessons learned. Featured speakers are:

Ron Struss, Research Scientist, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Bevin Buchheister, Maryland Director, Chesapeake Bay Commission 

Dr. John Lehman, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan

This webcast is one in a series on the important issue of nutrient pollution.  To register for this Webcast, please visit

Anne Weinberg
, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Communications Coordinator

Assessment and Watershed Protection Division

Phone:   202-566-1217

Fax:      202-566-1333


Turfgrass Maintenance with Reduced Environmental Impacts Workshop

September 27th, 2011
9:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Saint Anthony City Hall
3301 Silver Lake Road
Saint Anthony, MN 55418

 The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) invites property managers, private maintenance companies, schools, and park departments to attend this workshop. Attendees have the opportunity to attain MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) Level One Certification in Turfgrass Maintenance Best Practices. Certified individuals are listed on the MPCA website. Please visit the MPCA website for more information about the program and to see the list of individuals that already received the certification.

Topics include: equipment calibration, selection and application of fertilizers and pesticides, mowing techniques, best practices for turfgrass management, and an introduction to the "Turfgrass Maintenance with Reduced Environmental Impacts Manual."

By attending the workshop, you will receive a copy of the "Turfgrass Maintenance with Reduced Environmental Impacts Manual" and a complementary lunch. Don't miss this great opportunity!

·        Become Certified in Turfgrass Maintenance Best Practices

·        Improve Your Summer Maintenance Program

·        Save Money

·        Protect Our Rivers and Lakes

If you have any questions about the training or registration, contact:.

Kseniya Voznyuk
Office Manager

Fortin Consulting, Inc.
215 Hamel Road
Hamel, MN 55340
Phone: 763-478-3606
Fax: 763-478-3612

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