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January 2009 Archives

What's Up With That?!


David C. Zlelsak

As eastern white pines (Pinus strobus) mature, they tend to develop a rounded upper canopy and interesting asymmetric form to their branches. The interesting branch arrangement, providing rich character to these trees, is due in part to how they have adapted to handle the stress imposed by the weight of snow and ice. The generally horizontal branches of white pine are somewhat brittle, and as they become excessively weighted down, especially in the presence of heavy winds, they respond by snapping and collapsing to the ground. The straight trunk typically remains in tact, helping to keep the tree standing tall. It’s impressive to see forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin where mature eastern white pines typically tower over neighboring tree species.

Photo 1: David Zlesak

The Moth Orchid Takes Off!

Christopher Currey University of Minnesota Graduate Student

Moth orchids (genus Phalaenopsis) have been taking the potted plant world by storm for the last decade. They are now second only in total sale value to poinsettias, yet per pot they are the most valuable crop on the market today. The advent of advanced tissue culture and production methods has brought the plant out of the elite Victorian glasshouse to the shelves of nearly every retailer, allowing them to become the most accessible orchid on the market today. Combine this accessibility with their ease of growing in the home environment and you have a wonderful, rewarding tropical orchid for the everyday home gardener.

Winter Carnival Orchid Show


Escape to the Tropics January 24 & 25, 2009

During the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, winter and all it's glory, snow, ice and frigid temperatures, are celebrated. One event stands out and gives attendees a way to escape to the tropics without even getting on a plane, the Winter Carnival Orchid Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory January 24 and 25.

2009 All-America Selections Winners

David C. Zlesak, University of Minnesota Extension Educator

All-America Selections (AAS) serves as the oldest (first award winning varieties were designated in 1933), most established, impartial international testing organization in North America. Breeders from around the world enter their best flower and vegetable seed varieties with the hope that their entries would prove themselves to be superior performers across the 46 trial gardens in the United States and Canada and earn this prestigious award. Performance of test varieties are compared with the best commercially available varieties of their class. In addition to the trial gardens, there are display gardens which feature recent and next year’s AAS winners. All together there are 176 AAS display gardens. The five AAS display gardens located in Minnesota are listed at the end of this article. Seeds and transplants of new AAS winners are widely available from leading garden centers and seed catalogs.


Photo 1: The Minnesota Green Expo will have hundreds of vendors representing a wide diversity of products. David Zlesak

The Minnesota Green Expo is one of the largest Horticulture Expos in the nation. It is geared towards all sectors of the Horticulture/Green industry (arborists, florists, nurseries, greenhouses, landscapers, turf specialists, groundskeepers, etc.). It is a wonderful opportunity to learn through educational seminars, networking, and seeing new products at the huge tradeshow where regional, national, and international vendors are represented. Many nurseries have forced into growth and flower their new and recent cultivar releases and landscapers have beautiful displays demonstrating their products and skills.

The Minnesota Green Expo is hosted jointly by the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation and the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. Although geared towards conveying information and highlighting products for industry professionals, it is a great opportunity for everyone who loves horticulture and wants to learn about the latest issues and products. To learn more, please visit: There are a lot of options to come and participate. One can purchase a three day complete registration (open to educational seminars and tradeshow), single day registration (open to educational seminars and tradeshow for the particular day), or tradeshow only access. With the event soon upon us, one can take advantage of the opportunity to just register at the door. The most affordable way to participate in this event is Friday only tradeshow access for $5.

Tree Care Advisor Core Course 2009


Mark your calendars for the 2009 Tree Care Advisor Core Course in St. Paul, Minnesota! Training includes education on several topics including: tree identification, plant selection, basic physiology and morphology, soils, site analysis, firewood identification, diagnosis of disease and insect problems, pruning, planting and more. These trainings are geared towards individuals who may not know much about trees but do know they want to learn.

Initiation of the Northern EarthKind™ Rose Trials

David C. Zlesak, University of Minnesota Extension Educator

In the spring of 2007 the Northern EarthKind™ Rose Trials began. There are literally dozens of old and new roses touted as being superior low-maintenance landscape performers for our region, but many do not routinely live up to these claims. As we read the advertisements, it is hard for us as consumers to find landscape roses at the garden centers not being described as hardy and disease resistant. The goal of this effort is to identify the most consistently beautiful, low-care, pest tolerant roses for our region through putting them through multi-year, multi-site trials under a typical landscape environment.

Landscapes with Healing in Mind

Jean M. Larson, Program Manager of the Center for Therapeutic Horticulture at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

If you are a gardener, or a nature enthusiast at any level, you already know the healing power of plants. Anecdotal evidence, personal experience and common sense support the fact that being around natural environments helps most people feel better. But what does science tell us about the healing power of gardens and landscapes?

Unexpected Insect on Houseplant

Jeffrey Hahn, Asst. Extension Entomologist


Photo 1: Tobacco budworm. Jeff Hahn

Garden Calendar for January

Contributor: David C. Zlesak

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