Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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Jim Westlund

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:40am

Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping is pleased to announce the promotion of our long time Landscape Division Manager, Jim Westlund, to the position of General Manager, Vice President and Partner.

For the past ten years, Jim has blended his amazing work ethic, winning personality, attention to detail, intelligence, boundless energy, and plenty of common sense to create beautiful landscapes for our customers, and has helped the plant production and retail nursery sales parts of Knecht’s grow into a premier destination for southern Minnesota plant lovers.

We are confident that Jim’s increased leadership role will enable Knecht’s Nurseries to continually improve the quality and wide selection of the new and exciting perennials, shrubs and trees we will be making available to our retail customers; and also for our landscape design/build customers who entrust us with the mission to bring enduring beauty to their landscapes.

Congratulations Jim!   We look forward to having you as our partner in bringing beauty to the eyes, and joy in the hearts of the many people who choose to do business with Knecht’s!

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Categories: Businesses

Winter Hardiness

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 2:39pm

The significantly colder than normal weather we have been experiencing during February 2015 is a good reminder that an important key to success with landscape plantings is choosing plant varieties that have enough winter hardiness to prosper in the locations where they are planted.

The genetic makeup of each plant variety is usually the first thing we think of when we consider winter hardiness and good, tough cold climate genetics are truly very important.  Without a good set of cold tolerant genes, perennials, shrubs and trees are unlikely to succeed in a Minnesota landscape.

Another factor in improving winter hardiness is good site selection.  A plant that can tolerate cold temperatures may fail if it is planted where it has too much exposure to winter sun bouncing off snowbanks, and too much exposure to fierce winter winds.  The same plant may perform really well when planted in a location where there is some protection from the worst of the winter winds, and where long winter shadows prevent most of the winter sunlight from repeatedly striking the bark of the trunk, twigs, bark or the needles of certain varieties of evergreens.

Other factors that can enable a landscape plant to avoid winter damage are the soil pH, proper soil drainage, absence of soil compaction, the amount of organic matter in the soil, and the amount of sunlight the plant receives during the growing season.  If a plant is completely happy going into the winter, it is more likely to have little or no winter damage.  Plants that are stressed by unfavorable site conditions are far more likely to suffer winter injury.

The Northfield area currently has a Zone 4 hardiness rating.  Zone 3 covers most of the northern half of Minnesota.  Most trees, shrubs and perennials rated for Zones 4, 3 and 2 will over-winter quite well here without injury.

Quite a few plants that are rated as hardy in Zone 5 will do well in the Northfield area IF they are planted in rich, fertile, soil with ideal pH, good drainage, protection from winter winds and protection from winter sun, and if they get adequate sunlight during the growing season.  Quite often these borderline hardy landscape plants can give 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years of good service in the Northfield area despite the fact that they are rated as hardy only to Zone 5.

If this all seems confusing, we stand ready to help you sort through the varieties and site conditions to avoid winter injury.  Call us or stop in for a visit during April when our plant materials will be uncovered and available for sale.  We’d be happy to show you around.

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Categories: Businesses

Mark Your Calendar – Upcoming Events

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 1:43pm

Home and Garden Show time is near. This Spring you will find us at the Lakeville Chamber of Commerce sponsored Landscape & Home Expo & Consumer Showcase on Saturday, March 14th, 2015.  This Expo will be held from 9 am to 3 pm at the Lakeville North High School, 29600 Ipava Avenue, Lakeville, MN.

On April 11th,  we will have our booth at the annual Northfield Business Expo.  It will be held again at the Northfield Ice Arena, located at 1280 Bollenbacher Drive, right off of Hwy 3 South in Northfield.  It also runs from 9 am to 3 pm.

We look forward to meeting everyone and be sure to stop by our booth for a coupon that you can use this spring!   Our designer, Chris Lambert will be available on both dates.  Also look for Leif Knecht, Jim Westlund and Heidi Brosseau who are anxious to share their experience with you and answer any questions you may have about Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping.

Also on Saturday, April 11th, the Annual Bluebird Expo is being held here in Northfield, at the Northfield Middle School, 2200 South Division, Northfield.  Leif will be a guest speaker in the afternoon talking about habitat for birds and pollinating insects and measures to ensure success for both!

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Categories: Businesses

Signs of Spring Coming

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:53pm

Some of the Goldfinches coming to our feeders are starting to show a little bit of the bright gold color that will grow more intense as spring arrives.

Tom Turkeys are beginning to fan their tail feathers as they practice showing off for the hens.  Love is in the air!

Today at 1:30 pm, I went into one of our empty greenhouses.  The outside temperature was 6 degrees F, but inside the unheated house with a single lay of clear plastic was about 50 to 55 degrees.  The sun felt pleasantly warm on my face.  The sun is definitely getting stronger.

Spring is on the way!

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Categories: Businesses

A Time to Plan

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:44pm

Even though we have definitely been in the grip of a long stretch of frigid winter weather the last two weeks, Spring is just around the corner and it’s a great time to begin planning for a beautiful landscape that will make your property a place to have fun, entertain friends, decompress and make connections to the natural world that renews the spirit and feeds the soul.

The days are growing longer, the sun stronger, and in four short weeks, we can celebrate the first official day of Spring.  During March the world of plants begins the process of breaking out of winter dormancy.  Sap starts flowing in sugar maples and other varieties, even as snow still covers the ground.  Animals of all kinds prepare for raising their young by beginning courtship rituals, staking out breeding grounds and building nests.

Avid gardeners are sowing some of their first flower seeds and vegetables indoors, with many more varieties to be seeded in the next 3-6 weeks.  Even if you don’t want to be growing any of your plant materials from seed, you can get started on enhancing your landscape by making a plan for what you want to accomplish this year.  Many people enjoy the challenge and creative process of doing the planning for landscaping improvements themselves.  This can be a lot of fun and very satisfying.

If you prefer to enlist some professional help in planning for improvements to your landscaping, we’d be happy to help.  Our landscape designer, Chris Lambert, is great to work with, and will work hard to tailor a landscape plan that will fit the unique character of your property, and be in step with your tastes and practical needs. To get the process started, just give us a call and we will provide you with more information and will get you in contact with Chris.

It’s time to prepare.  Enjoy the journey!

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Categories: Businesses

Ironwood Trees

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 11:14am

Also known as American Hophornbeam, the Ironwood is a tough native tree that is commonly found mixed with the oak, maple and basswood of the Big Woods forest ecosystems.  Ironwood carries the botanical name of Ostrya virginiana, and grows to a medium size of 40 feet tall by 25 feet wide, and provides a nice option to add a tree to our landscapes that has some interesting characteristics.

As the name Ironwood suggests, this tree variety has wood that is extremely hard when it has dried thoroughly, and provides plenty of heat when burned.  Pioneers are reported to have used Ironwood trees for tool handles, levers, sled runners, wooden dishes and various items of wagon gear.  The hardness of the wood made it difficult to work with, but once items were completed, they were virtually indestructible.  When growing in the wild, Ironwood can often be found pioneering out into sunny meadows or woodland edges, but also demonstrates fairly good shade tolerance.

My greatest appreciation for the Ironwood is its ability to retain many of its leaves throughout the winter, adding layered highlights of rusty tan color to the dormant landscape.  Late in the day as low light streams through the leaves still clinging to the branches of our Ironwood trees, they take on a beautiful glow.

During spring, Ironwoods produce crisply defined and deeply veined leaves that usually stay blemish free the whole growing season. It’s a very nice texture to add to the landscape, and in summer an unexpected treat is the seeds that form with an appearance of a little bit like hops.  Layered scales are gracefully arranged in a fan shape, are light in color, and contrast well with the dark green leaves.  The hummingbirds love to perch on the branches in one of our Ironwood trees in between their visits to our feeders, and when we’re not enjoying the amazing flight of the hummers, we can enjoy the ornamental appeal of the Ironwood seed clusters.

Ironwood can be used as a larger ornamental tree, or in a location where a tree of medium size is wanted for shade rather than a full sized oak, maple, linden or elm.  Ironwood is also useful where a visual buffer planting is desired other than commonly used spruce, pine and arborvitae.  The tendency of ironwoods to hold quite a few of their leaves gives partial screening throughout much of the winter, and is a nice “out of the box” choice.

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Categories: Businesses

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