Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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Cool Season Annuals are Here!

3 hours 56 min ago

Spring has now officially arrived.   We have received our first shipment of cool season annuals.

We have Snapdragons, Stock, Dianthus, Violas, Alyssum, Pansys, Dusty Miller, Petunias, and for the cool season veggies you’ll find Cauliflower, Brocolli, Kohlrabi, and Brussel Sprouts.

There are a limited number of succulent bowls available and the pansy bowls are beautiful!

Stop in this weekend and get a dose of Spring!  Temperatures are going up next week – above normal or so the weatherman says for the rest of April!

We also have ideas for Hostess Gifts for your Easter celebration!


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Categories: Businesses

Spring on Hold – Birds in Need

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 8:11pm

Colder than normal weather this week of April 13-19 will slow the arrival of spring flowers and hinder gardeners eager to get started.  If there are some times during the week when soils are firm and partly dry, clean up of gardens can proceed.  If these conditions are absent this week one of the best activities may be providing some food sources for birds and other wildlife.  We are the stewards of the wildlife.  Resident birds and migratory birds would appreciate an assist during this late winter/spring of our discontent!  By turning up the leaves under shrubs, not only does this disturb the soil a little – but it will also interrupt the insects which will provide a meal or two for our feathered friends.

Put out new birdhouses, remove last year’s nests from existing houses, place small lengths of string, yarn and wool out for birds to use in making new nests, and think about planting bird friendly trees and shrubs that mimic natural habitat.   Some of these trees and shrubs include the Serviceberry, Red Osier Dogwood, Cotoneaster, Burning Bush, Bush Honeysuckle, Flowering Crabs and Showy Mtn. Ash.

Clean out your feeders and keep food fresh and provide a water source for the birds.  If birds that are early arrivals are able to find a few extra morsels of food during a colder than normal week, it could help them get by under warmer days arrive and naturally occurring plant and insect food sources become available.  Typical bird seed and suet are a good food source for some birds.  For other birds, try putting out a variety of foods such as sunflower seeds, millet (which is great for small billed birds who can’t handle the sunflower seeds as well),   orange halves, and grape jelly.   Softened raisins and over-ripe fruit that has been cut up is another offering for your “bird menu”.   With nesting occurring and new  young to be fed – crushed up egg shells are a good source of calcium for the birds.

Blue bird enthusiasts have found that providing mealworms and a special concoction called Bluebird Banquet by Linda Janilla from Bluebird Trails book can be a lifesaver during the winter to spring transition.  Other sources of food for these birds can include chopped up hard boiled egg yolks, corn bread and even small amounts of canned dog food.

Bluebird Banquet Recipe:   1 cup peanut butter; 4 cups yellow cornmeal; 1 cup rendered suet, melted; 1 cup flour; 1 cup small raisins; 1 cup small sunflower chips; and 1 cup peanut hearts.  (If organic cornmeal is used, omit the flour)

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Categories: Businesses

Primula – Springtime Perennial

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 7:03pm

Our Primula Belarina collection is blooming with beauty in both the Buttercup and Cobalt Blue varieties. These springtime flowers create eye-catching floral arrangements that can later be planted for long lasting enjoyment.

With Easter celebrations right around the corner, Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping is offering these bright blossoms at a featured price of $12.99 for a decorative pot for your holiday table, or at $10.99 in a standard nursery pot.   Come see them in person and bring their radiance home to glorify your Easter dinner table.

‘double flowers with crinkled foliage, perfect for woodland or shady rock gardens, prefers consistent soil moisture – Zone 4 hardy!’

Thanks to one of our new employees, Jill Olson, for submitting this blog!   Look for more photos and blogs by Jill!

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Categories: Businesses

6th Annual Kid’s Planting Day

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 6:44pm

Mother’s Day is just around the corner which means it’s time for two things…

SPRING and our 6th annual Kid’s Planting Day!    Here are the details:

Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping presents our 6th Annual Kid’s Planting Day!  Saturday, April 26th from 10:30 am to 11:30 am

We provide the pot, selected annuals, soil, and all the care the plants need until Mother’s Day Weekend, when kids can pick up their planters decorated with a bow and Mother’s Day Pick!

The cost is $6.00 per planter.  We encourage pre-registration so we know how many to plan for.  This event is hosted in one of our heated greenhouses, where it always feels like spring, so it will be nice and warm even if the weather is cool or rainy.

Please join us or pass this information along.

Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping   1601 Hwy 19 West, Northfield · 507-645-5015

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Categories: Businesses

The Awakening

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:45pm

Just a few days ago winter’s grip on the land was still quite visible.  Last Friday, a snowstorm was blanketing much of Minnesota in up to a foot of fresh snow.  One week later, a consistent stretch of above average temperatures have chased away the last snowbanks, and the land is awakening.

A faint green tinge is now evident on some grassy areas, and silver maples, elms, cottonwoods and red maples are swelling their leaf buds, and are about to begin pollinating for seed production.  Woodland wildflowers on south facing slopes are waking up and a few blossoms should be open this weekend.

For all Minnesotans who are lovers of the outdoors and their gardens, these are the days when we feel reborn, and almost as if we just got let out of jail.  Last night we made the short trek to our meadow and removed the white plastic trunk protectors from ten trees, the very first tending of our gardens for the 2014 growing season.  Now we are eager to clean up the debris from winter in other areas of our landscape, and will have to patiently wait to work in each area for soils to dry and firm up so we avoid compacting the soil and damaging roots.

Spring frost will surely dust the roof tops and gardens on some mornings over the next few weeks, but make no mistake, the awakening has begun.  Enjoy the journey.

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Categories: Businesses

Firebird Flowering Crabapple

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:30pm

Dwarf flowering crab trees have risen in popularity in recent years due to a desire for more compact ornamental trees to fit smaller yards.  My favorite dwarf crab is the Firebird Crab, because of its well behaved branching, prolific flowering, exceptional disease resistance, and the great fall and winter appeal of the small pea sized red fruit that adds color to a drab time of year.

Firebird Crab is what I think of as a true dwarf and is usually grafted onto the stem of a Dolgo Crab at a height of 32″ to 48″ above ground level to create a “lollipop on a stick” appearance.  Firebird Crab is a variant of Sargeant Crab, from which it draws its hardiness, dwarf genetics and the very best disease resistance.  Leaves stay clean in appearance and remain on the tree from spring all the way through late fall on the Firebird Crab, making it a delight to the eye in all seasons.

Each spring pink flower buds cover the entire crown of this tree, eventually opening to a lovely creamy white in such numbers that it looks almost like a puffy white cloud.

Plant the Firebird Crab in properly drained soil where there is plenty of sunshine to get the best results.  You can plant Firebird Crab under overhead power lines and there is little change it will grow into the lines as well as using it as the focal point of a landscape bed.

The size rating on this tree is 8 feet tall by 12 feet wide.  due to its small stature, pruning is quite easy.  If you find a place in your landscape for the Firebird Crab, I’m certain you will enjoy it for many years.

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Categories: Businesses

The Mighty Oaks

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 6:55pm

Yesterday, our crew peeled back protective layers of white plastic and closed cell foam blankets to reveal hundreds of small special air root pruning pots, each holding one or two acorns planted last October.  When those acorns were collected, culled to select the very best, and carefully planted,  it was with the great hope that someday each could grow to become a might oak tree.

The oak trees of our forests are an incredibly important part of the web of life.  While large majestic oak trees provide cooling shade, nesting and roosting sites for many creatures and very strong wood for building homes and furniture, it is the acorns from the healthy trees that help maintain healthy populations of deer, wild turkeys, birds, squirrels and more.  Acorns are densely packed with starch, oil and protein that provides some of the most important nutrition for wildlife.  Every spring I eagerly look  forward to the time when the fall planted pots of acorns are uncovered after a long winter under wraps.

Just as I had hoped, a great many of the acorns have already germi
nated with the husk splitting to allow a root to penetrate the soil mix.  Within a few weeks small shoots with leaves will emerge and grow vigorously toward the sun.  I’m always amazed by the way the acorns can spend several cold and snowy months outside and still produce a beautiful little oak tree by the end of the summer.

You can help grow the forests of tomorrow by adopting some of these little oak trees and planting them in sunny locations.  Someday, under the wide spreading branches of the oaks you planted, your grandchild might be found collecting the acorns to grow yet another generation of mighty oaks.

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Categories: Businesses

Bonus Bucks Are Here!

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 11:09am

Our Bonus Bucks are back for another season!

This April and May, for every $25 you spend, you will receive one Bonus Buck.  Then anytime in the month of June, you can use these – just like cash – on any retail purchase!

Now is the time to start planning for new trees, shrubs or perennials!  Do you have some plants that need replacing?   Our greenhouses are full of perennials just waiting for the weather to warm up!    Make your list now on what you need to do.   Annuals will be available late April and in May.

Also – sign up for our e-news.  Each Friday, we send out an e-mail on new plants, advice, happenings, etc.   Then twice a month, we send out coupons that are only available for the customers on our e-news list.  Our first coupon for 2014 comes out next week – April 11th!

Our website has been going through many updates and revisions the last month.  If you have a problem signing up on the form on the sidebar, just use the contact us form and we’ll get you on there for next week’s kickoff coupon!


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Categories: Businesses

Great Flowering Shrubs, Landscape Design & a $5 Coupon

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 5:58pm


Leif will be presenting a seminar this Saturday, April 5th, 2014, at the Northfield  Area Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Business Expo here in Northfield .  The topic will be Great Flowering Shrubs for Southern Minnesota.    His seminar will start at 11:00 am!

Amy Voight, our landscape designer, Heidi Brosseau and Leif will be at our booth to answer any questions you may have.   Amy is busily meeting with customers and designing projects which will be either installed by our crew or tackled by the homeowners themselves.   Our landscape design services are described under our landscape tab.   An article written by Amy – ‘Gardening as Art’ is also found on our Design Services page.  It is sure to fire your imagination.

In the April issue of ‘The Entertainment Guide’, you can catch a sneak preview of his talk.  The article touches on three of the ten flowering shrubs that he’ll speak on in detail on Saturday.  Is the Northern Sun Forsythia, the Ann Magnolia or the Regent Serviceberry going to be the one that does it for you for your yard this spring?

Also in the April issue of the Entertainment Guide you will find our first coupon of the season – be sure to clip it out and bring it with you this April!

The Home Show will be at the Northfield Arena, located at 1280 Bollenbacher Drive, Northfield, MN from 9 am to 3 pm.


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Categories: Businesses

Winterburn on Evergreens

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 3:46pm

Modest winterburn

Severe winterburn

We are starting to get calls about concerns people have for evergreen trees and shrubs with needles that are turning brown, which is a condition called winterburn.  Winterburn is generally worse in years when there has been a really long period of snow cover, especially if continuous snow cover has existed for more than 60 days.  This winter, I think we have had 100-120 days of snow cover, so winterburn is probably going to be widespread on susceptible varieties.

The evergreen shrubs and trees most vulnerable to winterburn are those most recently planted that do not yet have a large and well established root system.  White Pine, Red Pine, Scotch Pine, Austrian Pine and some varieties of Arborvitae develop winterburn more easily than the other evergreens.  The bad news is that winterburn is an issue once every few years.  The good news is that most trees that look poorly i the spring will push out nice new growth in May or June, and will look good again in a relatively sort period of time.

Sometimes selected twigs/branches may get dried out enough to kill the twig/branch.  If this happens – wait until mid to late June before pruning out twigs you think are dead, to give them a chance to sprout new growth if the damage is light enough.

Most winterburned evergreens will make a comeback.  In cases where damage is extensive, a decision will have to be made to work with a tree or shrub that is misshapen, or to remove and replace.  It’s all a matter of degree, and what each property owner finds tolerable.

In years like this when winterburn is fairly widespread, I’m always amazed at how terrible an evergreen tree or shrub can look and still make a good recovery.  If needles brown out, but the surface of the twig is not shriveled, a good recovery is possible.  When the bark of a twig is shriveled the twig is probably dead, and it may be time to make plans for replacement.

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Categories: Businesses

A Good Time to Prune

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 1:21pm

This is a correct pruning cut.

As snowbanks disappear and soils remain frozen or too wet to work, it’s an excellent time to prune trees and shrubs.  During the next couple of weeks, most of the stored energy of trees and shrubs remains in the root systems.  When selected branches and twigs are pruned off to create better structure or a smaller size, the energy stored in the roots will still be available for new growth that will create a stronger, more beautiful tree, or a more dense shrub.

As you prune, try to pick times and places when the ground is firm enough to avoid compacting soil.  Sometimes this means pruning early in the morning when most snow has disappeared, but the ground is still frozen.  Another strategy is to wait until the ground in a sunny area has thawed and firmed up.  Avoid driving vehicles over soft ground.

A link here to the University of Minnesota’s Extension page – Yard and Garden – has a good deal of information on “How to Prune” and the tools needed.

We are all eager to get outside on a nice day, and get something done.  Maybe this weekend some pruning will be just the right activity to inaugurate your season in the landscape.

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Categories: Businesses

Magic Soil

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 9:20am

The soil we walk on every day is amazing stuff.  With a little help from us once in a while, it can become magic soil.

What else can you walk on, drive over, saturate with water, bake in the blazing sun until it’s almost hard as a rock, cover with poop, shatter into a million pieces, allow to freeze and thaw dozens of times over one of our long winters, pulverize with a cultivator once it dries out in the spring, and know you made it turn out almost perfect?   Sounds like magic to me.

Soil can be a mud hole that your vehicle sinks into up to the axels.  Soil (clay) can be molded into bricks and bakes in an oven and used to create grand buildings.  Soil comes in thousands of different consistencies and composed of hundreds of different minerals, organic compounds, trace elements, and bacteria and fungi.

At its worst, soil can be a horribly sticky, gooey mess, or an impossibly hard compacted barrier to root penetration and almost devoid of oxygen.  At its best soil can be wonderfully loose and crumbly, easy to dig and plant into, and teaming with millions of healthy bacteria and fungus organisms that create an inviting place for plants to flourish.

In most cases, we can choose which kind of experience we will have with soil.  If we are good stewards of the soil our gardening experiences are likely to be rewarding and pleasant.  If in the fall of the year we break up compacted soil and allow the freeze thaw cycles of a Minnesota winter to finish the job of eliminating compaction by putting hairline cracks in every chunk, we have almost gotten the soil to prime condition.  One of the last steps in restoring the soil is to allow it to dry in the spring, spread manure and till the soil just enough to bring it to a crumbly condition.  Once this has been accomplished, the soil in your field or garden will most likely perform like its magic soil.

The real magic is just getting started.  This happens when the neglected, compacted soil you used to have has been rejuvenated, and someone gently places seeds and covers them with soil.  Within a few days and in the presence of a little moisture, the miracle of life takes place as dormant seeds spring to life and shoots that are both tender and strong burst out of the dirt.

To me it is always magic to participate in the rebirth of our frozen landscape into a vibrant web of life.  Each and every spring it feels like a miracle all over again.

This year you too can experience the joy and satisfaction of nurturing the soil given to us by Mother Nature so that it becomes your own version of magic soil.  A miracle waits in your garden.

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Categories: Businesses

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