Horticulture Display Garden News: Spring 2019

Saving Fruit from New Insect Pest

In late summer, just as fall-bearing raspberries are starting to ripen, researchers from the U of MN WCROC are attempting to protect the berry crop from destruction. Their main concern is to protect the fruit from a recently established invasive insect pest, spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), which feeds on many kinds of soft fruit, such as raspberries.  Saving Fruit

Developing an Annual Day-Neutral Strawberry Planting System with Biodegradable Mulches

The WCROC has developed a low tunnel system for growing day-neutral strawberries, which offers high quality fruit from late July to October. The strawberry plants must be planted into some type of mulch for adequate weed control and to maximize plant growth. In initial studies, we used white-on-black plastic mulch in the row which is a very effective weed control strategy. However, farmers expressed concern over the amount of plastic used, especially since the plastic mulch is not reusable. This concern led us to our current project of evaluating the effectiveness of biodegradable mulch in the low tunnel system. Biodegradable Mulches

Renovating the Larson Garden

The Larson Garden was created in the early 1990’s with the generous support of Roger and Barbara Larson from Montevideo, MN. The garden features an artwork sculpture, created by Minnesota artist, Jenny Nellis, resembling the milkweed flower pod.  It also includes a collection of Asiatic Lilies of which Barbara Larson was very fond of. Our Asiatic Lilies are popular with visitors of all kinds, even the deer. Therefore, a black iron fence will be installed to prevent the deer from consuming the flower buds of the Asiatic Lilies. Perennials, grasses, and dwarf conifers will be planted in the Larson Garden to provide seasonal interest and serve as a backdrop to the annual trial bedding plants on display for our visitors to enjoy.

2019 California Spring Trials

Steve Poppe, Horticulture Scientist and All-America Selections (AAS) judge from the U of MN WCROC traveled and toured the California Spring Trials (CAST) in March 2019. The CAST event is an annual event where the major flower companies showcase their new and existing varieties that show promising potential for being dependable and beautiful garden performers. While there, he took note of several stand-out annual performers to look for this season. Spring Trials

Outreach & Events

Planning is underway for several educational and fun garden events for the summer of 2019. We've got something for everyone: children, families, home gardeners, Master Gardeners, and flower enthusiasts. Check out details on our upcoming Horticulture Night, and the Children's Garden in Residence program. Outreach & Events

A Look Back - Reflections by Tom Holm

Back in January 2019, when I announced my intent to retire and agreed to continue to grow the crop in the greenhouse, May seemed a long way off. However, it has also given me a chance to reflect back on all the changes in the Horticulture program since I arrived in January of 2005.  A Look Back

Welcome Nate Dalman, Horticulture Researcher II

The WCROC is pleased to welcome Nathan Dalman as Horticulture Researcher II within the Horticulture Department. Originally from Pelican Rapids, MN, Nate is no stranger to the garden. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, Morris, Nate worked for us as a student worker for three summers as well as an intern with our strawberry low tunnel project. He is quite familiar with our greenhouses, the upkeep of our grounds, and the WCROC. Prior to joining the WCROC, Nate worked at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, MN. Nate will be overseeing the planting, transplanting, and care of bedding plants in both the greenhouses and in the Horticulture Display Garden. He will also be supervising our crew of summer students, as well as coordinating our volunteers. Nate is taking over the position that was previously held by Tom Holm, who retired as of May 1, 2019. Please join us in welcoming Nate to the horticulture team!

Make Way for Pollinators

If you’ve been on the City of Morris bike path in the last several months, you may have noticed a significant change in the landscape, especially between the Pomme de Terre Overlook and the Pomme de Terre Park. Last fall, we removed all non-native vegetation as the first step in our prairie restoration and pollinator education project. The WCROC received funding to restore 17 acres of native prairie for pollinators and to construct wayside shelters and kiosks along an existing trail to provide information to visitors on the importance of pollinators and native prairie ecosystems. Make Way for Pollinators

Love Impatiens and Basil? New Downy-Mildew Resistant Varieties Out Now!

Gardeners have struggled with downy mildew on two favorite plants, the shade tolerant and floriferous traditional impatiens and flavorful basil, an easy to grow annual herb. Plant breeders to the rescue! New highly resistant forms of these two favorites will be available in 2019 and 2020. Downy-Resistant Varieties

Soil Testing: A Sure Sign of Spring!

Get a soil test and make the most of this growing season for all your plants, trees and shrubs! As soon as your soil dries out, you can collect samples in your yard and garden for a soil test. Why do a soil test? A soil test will provide recommendations for fertilizer and lime application based on the soil you have and on what you want to grow (new lawn? fruit trees? vegetable garden?).  And while you can get a soil test any time of year (as long as you can sample your soil, that is!) spring and fall are optimal times for applying many soil amendments. Soil Testing