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Early Fall – A Time of Preparation

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:23pm

These hands hold the first hints of Fall and the forests of tomorrow

As we approach mid-September and the days grow ever shorter, the entire web of life is preparing for the time of year when growth slows, energy and food are stored, migrations begin, and for many species, the chain of events that lead to winter dormancy is underway.  The plants that are able to survive a harsh Minnesota winter must undergo the change from the full tilt growth of spring and summer to a dormant condition.

The more energy various plants are able to store, the better they are able to compete vigorously during next years’ growing season.  While some oak trees are already dropping acorns, other oak species I’m watching at the nursery are still filling out their acorns, trying to pack in every last bit of starch, sugar, oils and proteins, even as the autumn equinox is only about ten days away.

One simple way you can assist the trees, shrubs and perennials in your landscape to prepare for winter is to make sure they all have adequate moisture available as they prepare for dormancy.  When September and October rains are generous, no additional water is needed, except for plants near or under structures that prevent them from getting rain water.  Give some good waterings to plants under large roof overhangs and those that may be in the “rain shadow” of a large wall.

When fall rains are meager, try moving a sprinkler around your landscape and really soaking the soil well in each area.  For leafy plants, the water they receive in September is more valuable than in October when leaves are falling.

For evergreens, moisture availability in both September and October is important since many spruce, pine, arborvitae, cypress, cedar, yews, juniper and fir varieties enter dormancy 10-30 days later than leafy deciduous plants.

Enjoy the spectacle of the time of change, and don’t forget that fall is an excellent time to add plant materials to your landscape.  Cool conditions make for easy planting and there are bargains available all around the nursery as fall sales begin.

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Categories: Businesses

Fall is Here!

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 7:54pm

Fall is such a fun time of year for outdoor decorating!  The gorgeous colors and cool weather make it easy to create a welcoming entry or porch/deck.  We have pumpkins, straw bales, corn stalks, mums, asters and more! 

Heidi Brosseau reminds us that now is the time to plant your spring blooming bulbs!

Spring blooming bulbs need their beauty sleep.  Get them planted in their beds before winter pulls up the snowy blanket and you will be rewarded with well rested spring bloomers that are ready to rise and shine!  Some will even sprout up and blossom with a little early spring snow still on the ground.  Tulips, Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacinth and Allium, to name a few, are ready for planting.  Don’t forget to pick up a bag of bone meal while you’re here just in case your bulbs get hungry for a little bedtime snack.

 

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Tannebaum Mugo Pine

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 7:45pm

One of the very best small to medium sized pine trees for use in urban landscapes Tannenbaum Mugo Pine.  Last winter when many evergreen trees and shrubs suffered moderate to severe winter burn, Tannenbaum Mugo Pine trees came through in pretty good shape.

Tannenbaum Mugo Pine trees grow best in well drained soils, so avoid placing them in areas where soils are chronically soggy, and pick as sunny of a location as possible.  Full day sun to 1/2 day sun should meet the light needs of Tannenbaum quite nicely.

Stiff sturdy needles about 2 to 2 1/2 inches long and a structure that creates a medium density, gives Tannenbaum Mugo Pine trees a pleasing uncrowded appearance, and make it just dense enough to provide a nice privacy buffer.

While most pine trees grow to heights of to to 100 feet tall, and 30 to 60 feet wide, Tannenbaum Mugo Pine is size rated at 15 feet tall by 6 feet wide in a 10 to 15 year time frame, so it is definitely more compact than other pine varieties.  Do keep in mind that over a 20 to 50 year time period, Tannenbaum Mugo Pines will continue to grow larger at a modest rate, but will never achieve the size of an Austrian, Red or White or Scotch Pine.

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Categories: Businesses

Amur Maples

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 7:37pm

Property owners who want a small to medium sized maple that turns a beautiful red fall color may want to consider using Amur Maples.  Among the first of the maples to turn color each fall, Amur Maples are available as smaller single stem trees, or as multi-stem clumps.

The most commonly available selections are the standard Amur Maple, Flame Amur Maple, Embers Amur Maple and Compact Amur Maple.  Most Amur Maples grow to a mature height of 20 feet or so, while the compact form is size rated at 6′ to 10′ tall.

Amur Maples are often used to frame a property line and provide a privacy buffer, while they also work well as a single specimen focal point where a tree of modest size is desirable.  Plant Amur Maples in moderately to well drained soils, and avoid wet areas.

Stop in soon to check out the Amur Maples.  In just a week or two they will begin to show their brilliant red fall colors.

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Categories: Businesses

Excellent Evergreens for Fall Planting

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 2:31pm

Some of the very best evergreen trees for fall planting are certain spruce, pine and arborvitae varieties that are quite resistant to winterburn.  Black Hills Spruce,  Colorado Blue Spruce, Meyer Spruce and Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce all seem to come through the winter in nice condition when planted in Sept/October/November.

Arborvitae varieties that also have shown good results when planted in the last 1/3 of the landscaping season are  Techny, Technito, Wintergreen, American Pillar and North Pole.

Mugo Pines have also performed well when planted in the fall.  These varieties include Dwarf Mugo, Tannebaum Mugo,  Sherwood Compact and Jakobsens Mugo.

If you have a fairly sunny site and want to have good luck fall planting evergreens, consider giving some of these conifers a try!

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Categories: Businesses

The Change of Seasons

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 2:09pm

This fine morning the cool crisp air of change is moving into the Northfield area.  Yesterday warm sticky air gave us another brief taste of summer, but change is definitely in the air.

The longest day of the year was 76 days ago, and today we will have approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes less daylight than when summer began.  Here and there a hint of fall color can be detected, the children are back in school, Labor Day and the State Fair have passed and football teams are battling for the top spot in their leagues.

The late spring means that September will be a very important time for the corn and soybeans to complete the maturation process that fills the  seeds with the starch, sugar, protein and oils that are an important part of how we produce food.  Local truck farmers have been harvesting and selling wholesome fruits and vegetables for almost three months now, and will be bringing their fall harvest to market all the way to Thanksgiving, and perhaps a little longer if winter comes late this year.

Trees, shrubs and perennials are gradually shifting from producing new growth to storing energy in stems and roots.  This stored energy will provide the fuel for an explosion of new growth next spring when the whole web of life reawakens.

When you see a leaf turn from green to yellow or orange or red, it means that the left has done its job, has shut down its photosynthesis and as the green chlorophyll disappears from each leaf the underlying colors of various sugars, starches and pigments are revealed.

All these things are sure signs that the seasons are changing and that it’s a good time to make the most of the pleasant autumn days that precede our rugged winter.

While change is definitely in the air, keep in mind that September, October and November offer some of the best opportunities of the year for doing outdoor projects.  Mild temperatures can make for great working conditions and successful landscaping projects are carried out all the way to Thanksgiving Day, and sometimes even later if cold weather stays away.

All this means that we have at least 70 to 80 days to be enjoying activities and doing projects in our yards and gardens, landscapes and fields.  When you feel that hint of change in the air, start making a list of everything you want to get done this fall and come see us if part of your list includes plant materials or design/build landscaping.  We’d be pleased to be a part of your journey of change.

 

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Categories: Businesses

Royal Wedding Hosta

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:41pm

The Royal Wedding Hosta is blossoming beautifully right now with large 3″-4″ white flowers.  A sport of hosta ‘Diana Remembered’,  it forms an upright mound of thick, shiny green leaves with very wide, creamy white to pure white margins.   An added bonus – the flowers are sweetly fragrant.

A medium sized hosta it can be used as a specimen plant, in a border planting or massed planting.  

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Categories: Businesses

Successful Tree Planting

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:30pm

Success when planting trees is something we all want to experience, and nothing is more important to assuring your successful tree planting than selecting trees that have healthy, properly structured and power packed root systems.

When they are properly raised, harvested, and maintained up to planting time, traditional balled and burlapped trees in a wire basket with a burlap liner can be successful, and offer the opportunity to plant a good sized tree.  Drawbacks of balled and burlapped trees are higher cost, weights of 300-1000 pounds, greater transplant shock, and a 2-3 year time period until the tree becomes established enough to regain a vibrant appearance.

Planting bare root trees is an excellent and economical way to get trees planted and be able to prune the roots prior to planting in order to assure good root structure.  Drawbacks to planting bare root trees directly into your landscape are generally smaller size, significant transplant shock, higher failure rates, fairly long time for establishment, and a very short period of about three weeks each spring when bare root trees are available and can be planted.

Container trees are trees that have become established in a plastic nursery pot, and this type of packaging has become very popular over the last several decades.  The reasons for this popularity are that container trees are generally a bit larger than bare root trees, are easy to handle and transport, fall into an affordable price range, suffer les transplant shock, establishe fairly quickly when proper planting technique is used, and have high success rates.  In Minnesota, container trees can be successfully panted from early April to late November, which presents a huge 8 month long window of opportunity.

Not all container trees are created equal.  In standard plastic nursery pots with solid side walls and 4-6 drain holes in the bottom, it is easy for roots to circle around inside the pot, and become root bound.  If the person planting the root bound tree fails to ultra-aggressively root prune the matted roots to eliminate all circling of roots on the outside of the root ball, there is a fairly high probability the tree will fail to develop a properly structured root system and will gradually decline and die.  When matted roots are aggressively shredded or removed prior to planting, long term results can be good, but transplant shock is significant.

Happily there are container trees being produced that have almost perfect root systems, transplant easily and establish quickly, and maintain a vibrant appearance right from the first day they are planted into your landscape.  These container trees are produced in a very special type of plastic nursery pot that has dozens of open slots in the sidewalls and bottom that air root prune the roots of the tree as it becomes established in the pot.  The result is an almost perfectly structured root system, with far more fine hair roots to reduce transplant shock, more stored energy to push new growth as soon as the tree is planted, high success rates, and very little chance of developing stem girdling roots that could cause the tree to have problems 10-20 years after planting. These air root pruned container trees are very affordable, and because of the wonderful performance they deliver, we are seeing a growing number of customers who come back and specifically request trees grown in the air root pruning pots.  At Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping, we call our trees in air root pruning containers Peak Performance Trees.  We offer Knecht’s Peak Performance Trees in pot sizes from one gallon to 30 gallons and heights of 6 inches to 16 feet tall.  Our huge inventory of Peak Performance Trees offers a wide choice of varieties and sizes to fit almost any budget and application.

We invite you to stop in and see for yourself the great selection of Peak Performance Trees we offer in state of the art air root pruning containers.  Prices range from $12.99 to $259 and everything in between.

 

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Categories: Businesses

Plants for Fall

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:59pm

Heidi Brosseau from our retail staff submits the following blog:

Feeling Fall – by Heidi Brosseau

 

 

 

School is in session.  Our spring is back in the company of teachers, crowded hallways, cafeterias, and library books.  Football practice has begun.  Plaid woolen blankets and stadium seat cushions are finding their way back into the trunk next to the umbrella and jumper cables.  Soon the ice scraper will join them there,  Painted leaves will line the sidewalk aisle through the yard.  I can imagine them rustling under someone’s step.  Sound and smell rising up for recognition.  The imprint of sounds and smells that have never disappointed.  Reminders of leaf piles, sweaters, blue autumn skies & scratchy woolen blankets.

Planters and window boxes all around town and across the street have replaced their summer petunias and geraniums with mums and ornamental kale.  Their swollen buds foreshadow a vivid and colorful fall.  They ease our transition as summer slips away degree by degree.  Fuzzy purple grass tails beg to be petted.  Can you keep from reaching out and feeling fall?

Give your tired baskets and containers a late summer boost!  Large and showy Minnesota hardy and decorative mums fill bare spots quickly and affordably.  Perfect additions for late season color!  Tuck in one or two flowering kale for texture, a very touchable ornamental grass for movement and grace and voila!  You’re ready for autumn.  Stop in for a little inspiration or let us do the work for you… We have an assortment of Fall Beauty Planters all potted up and ready to go!

Don’t forget your flower beds and landscapes.  Here is a list of our favorite fall performing perennials, vines and shrubs for Minnesota!

Perennials:

Amsonia – Bright yellow fall foliage.

Asters – Purple, Pink or Blue flowers.

‘Purple Dome’ Aster

Bergenia – Red fall foliage.

Cranesbill – Red and orange fall foliage.

Feather Reed Grass, Karl Foerster – Strongly vertical with buff colored plumes.

Flame Grass – Showy silvery plumes above flame colored grasses.

Hardy Mums – Yellow, Red, Russet, maroon, pink, purple or orange flowers.

Heuchera, Tiarella, and Heucherella – Assorted foliage colors and textures including purple, maroon, rust, and gold.

Little Bluestem – Blue grass turns to purple-maroon in fall.

Sedums – Pink or ivory flowers in fall above succulent leaves.

Switch Grass, Northwind – Our 2014 Perennial of the year.  Graceful vase shaped clumps of clean green grass turn a brilliant gold in fall.

‘Karl Foerster’ Feather Reedgrass

 

Shrubs: 

Barberry – Green leaved varieties have red all color.

Blueberries – Surprised?! Yep these productive fruit bearing beauties have one more late season trick up their sleeve.  Showy fall color.

Burning bush – Tis the season for these guys to show how they got that name.

Chokeberry – Jet black fruit feeds migrating birds and a bright orange red mix of fall color attracts us.

Hazelnuts – Yes they do actually produce edible nuts and they also produce bright orange-red and yellow fall color.

Hydrangeas – Flowers mature in late summer to rosy pink for many varieties and blossoms last well into winter.

Serviceberry – Another favorite of migrating birds.

Red, orange and golden fall color on this shrub or ornamental tree.

Sumac – This is The bright red foliage you are seeing in the ditches.

Tor Birch leaf spirea – Maroon fall foliage. A newer favorite of ours.

Winterberry – Not so much the foliage color as it is the vivid red fruit.  The Cedar waxwings may steel them before you can enjoy them though.

Witch Hazel – Bright golden-yellow foliage disguises Witch Hazel’s fun little secret.  They bloom in the late fall.  Bright gold spider like flowers are a fun and unique surprise at the end of summer.

Vines:

Autumn Revolution Bittersweet – Bright orange capsule pop open to reveal vivid red fruit inside.  A favorite choice for drying and fall decorating.

Red Wall & Yellow Wall Engleman Ivy – As their names imply, one has red and one has yellow fall color.

 

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Categories: Businesses

Autumn Blaze Maple

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 5:46pm

In recent years, Autumn Blaze Maples have been among the most popular varieties of shade trees, and with good reason.  Autumn Blaze Maples grow quickly into sizeable trees that offer excellent shade, have a vigorous appearance, pleasing shape and intense red fall color.

Autumn Blaze Maples can tolerate a wide variety of soil types, but prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil over alkaline soils.  Able to grow in quite damp soils, Autumn Blaze Maples do best in soils with moderate to good drainage, and are hardy enough for lighter soils.  That’s pretty good versatility!

Consistent pruning is a key to having good, long-term success with all shade tree varieties and this is especially true with Autumn Blaze Maples.  During the first ten years after planting a shade tree, you should prune it aggressively every other year to remove branches that are at too steep of an angle and likely to be weakly attached in later years.

This aggressive removal of poorly structured branches will benefit all shade tree varieties, and especially Autumn Blaze Maples, due in part to their rapid growth rate.  Remove poorly structured branches before they get larger than your fingers.  By pruning early, the wounds will be small and will heal quickly.

If you have pruned aggressively and consistently on your shade trees the first 8-10 years, a good pruning every 4 to 5 years thereafter should keep your trees in good shape.  If you love red fall color, consider an Autumn Blaze Maple.  It will delight the eye and quickly grow into a handsome shade tree.

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Categories: Businesses

It’s Time to Protect Young Trees

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:34am

Now is the time to protect the bark of young shade trees and ornamental trees by installing white plastic trunk protectors.  Within 5-15 days, male white tail deer will begin rubbing their antlers on the trunks of young trees.  The damage to the bark of valuable young, shade and ornamental trees from antler rubbing can be severe, and in many cases is bad enough to cause people to remove and replace the tree which can be expensive and very disappointing.

The goods news is that white plastic trunk protectors are inexpensive, easy to install and reusable for several years, and will also protect tree bark from damage by mice, rabbits and winter sun.  FOr just $3 to $5 you can purchase white plastic trunk protectors that are available in several styles.

Be sure to avoid the use of black plastic drain tile for protecting tree trunks.  Black material fluctuates too  such in temperature during February and March and may actually increase the probability of bark damage from late winter freeze/thaw cycles.

Years of experience have taught us that the four-foot tall white trunk protectors offer better protection than 2 or 3 foot versions.  Stop in and see our display for the various styles of trunk protectors.

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Categories: Businesses

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