Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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Updated: 4 days 13 hours ago

Beautiful White Barked Birch Trees

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 2:19pm

Oasis Paper Birch in the Fall

White barked birch trees are easily among the most beautiful of landscape trees for use in Minnesota and most northern tier states.  There are a number of good varieties now available, including Renaissance Oasis Paper Birch, Renaissance Reflections Paper Birch, Dakota Pinnacle Birch, Parkland Pillar Birch and Whitespire Birch.

Many people shy away from these birch trees because they believe them to be short-lived.  This is due primarily to the attacks on white barked birch trees by the bronze birch borer insects which tunnel around under the bark and slowly kill the tree.  stressed trees are most vulnerable to attack, but happily there is a quick and easy way to protect these trees by applying a one minute, once a year dose of the systemic insecticide imidacloprid.

Imidacloprid is very easy to apply.  Simply mix a few ounces with 1 1/2-2 gallons of water, and slowly pour on the soil immediately next to the tree trunk.  You are done for a year.  Repeat this easy one minute treatment a year later.  The stunning beauty of your white barked birch will endure for years with the quick and easy bit of maintenance.

Be sure to treat white barked birch trees even if literature you see claims resistance to birch borer for a certain variety.  In our experience, only River Birch trees are truly resistant to birch borer, but unfortunately they do not develop the beautiful white bark.

We only recommend the use of imidacloprid for plant materials that are not pollinated by bees.  Avoid the use of imidacloprid on all flowering plants to reduce negative impact on pollinating insects such as honey bees and many of our native bees.

At our nursery we have several formulations available to help protect the white barked birches and other plants not pollinated by bees.  If you want a really beautiful landscape tree, you may want to try Oasis Paper Birch or Dakota Pinnacle Birch or one of the other varieties that quickly turn the bark color from green to brown to white as they grow vigorously.

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Categories: Businesses

Air Root Pruning Nursery Containers

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 2:06pm

On Monday, July 14th, Knecht’s Nurseries hosted a group of nursery industry business owners, growers, consultants and suppliers to discuss methods for improving the quality of root systems of container grown trees.

Specially designed and constructed air root pruning pots have been used by growers more and more to produce proper root structure and reduce the formation of circling roots that could compromise or even kill the tree.  Knecht’s Nurseries has been actively working for over ten years on perfecting the use of air root pruning pots, and customers are seeing the results in trees that grow vigorously right from planting day and for decades to come.

We invited a select group of nursery professionals to meet with Tom Spring, the President of Nursery Source to discuss the use of air root pruning containers, and design features that growers would like to see built into the next generation of larger air root pruning pots.  Lots of ideas were shared and with some good brainstorming on the fine points of design for larger air root pruning pots to make larger high quality trees available to the public in handy, easy to plant and affordable containers.

Using the feedback received from our gathering and meetings with other nurserymen, Nursery Source will complete the design for and build the mold to produce a 15 gallon size air prune pot by the end of July or early August.  It’s great to know that by spring we will be able to use these improved #15 air root pruning pots to produce even better trees that will establish faster and grow better for our customers.

Attending the meeting were Terry Mulligan, Jerry Skluzacek  Ryan, and Dave Maloney from Bridgewater Tree Farms,  Aaron Smith from Hoffman-McNamara, Bert Swanson from Swanson Nursery Consulting and past president of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association,  Rock Kelly from Bachman’s Wholesale, and Kendall Klaus from Klaus Nurseries.

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Categories: Businesses

Cherry Trees and More

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 7:11am

Fruit trees and the installation of home orchards have become extremely popular these last few years.  Larger home lots in town can easily support several fruit trees and even smaller lots can have apple trees with the introduction of the Triple Play apple tree. and two new columnar apple tree varieties.   Larger lots and country acreages can easily have more fruit trees and with a variety of trees.

This week, we harvested enough cherries off of one of the young cherry trees to make our first homemade cherry pie!  What a treat!  Most cherry tree varieties are self-fertile so you only need to have one tree!  We carry a selection of cherry trees including Evans Bali Cherry, Meteor, Mesabi and North Star.

On our Plant Page we have our listing of all the fruit trees, small fruits and two different information sheets showing bloom time, ripening and what each variety offers as far as flavor, uses such as fresh eating, pies, jams, etc.  These are quite helpful in guiding you through the variety that provides you with what you want for your particular needs.

Here is the recipe I found for our first Cherry Pie!

Cherry Pie

4 cups fresh tart cherries (pitted) – 1 to 1 ½ c.  granulated sugar – 4  T. cornstarch - 1/8 T. almond extract

Your favorite pie crust (2 crust pie)

1 ½ T. butter - 1 T. sugar- to sprinkle

Place cherries in a saucepan and place over heat.  Cover.  After the cherries have lost considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat.  In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch.  Pour this mixture over the hot cherries and mix well.  Add the almond extract, if desired, and stir.  Return the pan to the stove over low heat and cook until thickened, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and let cool.  f mixture is too thick, add a little water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare your favorite pie crust, and using a 8 – 9 inch pie pan,  pour cherry mixture over the bottom crust, dot with butter and place the second crust over the top, fluting the sides of the crust.  Cut 2-3 slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape, and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes and remove to a rack to cool.


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Categories: Businesses

Successful Summer Planting

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 4:33pm

Contrary to what many people think, planting in mid-summer is an excellent time to get new landscape plants to establish themselves very quickly and very happily. All they need is just enough water and never too much, good planting technique, and just enough fertilizer and never too much.

The long days of summer will be a great ally in getting your new plantings established quickly. Here’s how it works. The more photosynthesis the plant can be doing, the more new roots it can grow to become established. The more hours of daylight, the more photosynthesis (growth) takes place in the leaves and stems of new plants, and the more new roots extend out into the surrounding soil of the planting area. Summer is when we have long days and lots of photosynthesis and is consequently a great time to add plants to your landscape.

Many people are afraid they won’t be able to water their new plantings enough in midsummer, and are surprised to discover how quickly you can accomplish a watering that delivers just enough and never too much water. It’s also often a surprise to learn that hand watering is actually the quickest way to water a group of newly installed shrubs, trees and perennials. We provide every customer with detailed easy to follow printed instructions to make planting and watering successful and efficient, and when followed closely will prevent overwatering, which is the most common cause of death in new plantings.

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Categories: Businesses

Hydrangea Time

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 3:39pm

Incrediball Hydrangea

This is such an incredible time of year as the Hydrangeas are starting to bloom.  They start now and will continue to provide color and excitement to the garden for the next 2-3 months!  Yes – a shrub that will flower for an extended period of time.

Bloomstruck Hydrangea

We have several varieties of Hydrangea in stock – with the white blossoms, white blossoms turning pink or green as they age, blue blossoms of the new Bloomstruck Hydrangea and those that have pink blossoms.

Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea

Hydrangeas like to be planted in part sun part shade, or if planted in full sun, they will need to be well-watered.  Hydrangeas are high water users.

A popular shrub for home landscapes.  Generally, they are trouble free and for the most part, low maintenance.   In the fall, you should prune off the flower heads so the weight of frost, snow and ice during the winter, does not break the branches.  (This is especially true for the hydrangeas in tree form).

Mature heights vary by variety – but you can certainly find a hydrangea that will fit your height requirement.   An added bonus of the hydrangeas is that you can clip the flower stems and bring inside for dried flower arrangements.  A great accent to fall decorating.

Bloomstruck – This re-blooming hydrangea flowers on old and new wood with intense flower color.  3′-4′ in height.  To maintain the rich blue color, you will need a soil acidifier.  It is also best to amend your planting site with peat moss.  With lack of a good acid base, this hydrangea may blossom more in rose/pink shades.

Incrediball – 4′-5′ in height – an improved version of the old standard – Annabelle – Hydrangea.  Incredibly large white blooms and much stronger stems which helps to eliminate the floppiness of the Annabelle.

Invincibelle Spirit – 4′-5′ in height – is a pink version of Annabelle which will bloom from mid-summer to first frost!

We carry the Bobo, Firelight, Polar Bear,  Pinky Winky, Mega Mindy, Limelight, Quickfire, Little Quickfire, Little Lime, Vanilla Strawberry, Strawberry Sundae as well as those pictured above.



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Categories: Businesses

The Price and Promise of Independence Day

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:22pm

When we celebrate Independence Day we celebrate our good fortune to enjoy a multitude of freedoms and opportunities of the United States of America at great cost.  Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago some very brave people declared their independence from the British Empire and many gave their lives in order that succeeding generations could determine their own destiny, speak their minds, and prosper from their ingenuity and hard work.

The application of the ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence has been a work in progress for 238 years as we have only gradually risen above the tyranny of slavery, landed aristocracy, and the oppression of women, minorities, new immigrants, and native Americans.  As a nation we have had our major blind spots, and fought a terrible civil war that eliminated sanctioned slavery, and began the process of tearing down racism.  This process is continuing today, as the melting pot we call America becomes an even more complex mix as people throughout the globe have become more mobile, and immigrants flee tyranny and their homelands.

While we enjoy so many freedoms here, we would do well to remember that with great freedom comes great responsibility, and sometimes great sacrifice.  Throughout our history soldiers of every description have fought to maintain our great experiment in Democracy, sacrificing life and limb.  Civilians have also fought and sacrificed to help our society evolve a more clear understanding of how our cultural stereotypes, religious intolerance, racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry limit everyone’s’ freedoms.  none of this came easy.  When we fight for freedom by taking up arms, or by speaking up to confront oppression both at home and abroad, we pay the price of freedom.

Today, let us all celebrate the ideals of a free nation, and the sacrifices of soldiers and civilians who fight and bravely speak up to keep us free.

Earlier this week, my wife and grandson took a brief road trip together, and in their travels discovered the beautiful Veterans Memorial in Montevideo, Minnesota.  This is a place of remembrance and honor evolving a deep sense of the precious nature of life, freedom and ultimate sacrifice.

May we never forget that every generation must sacrifice to maintain our freedom, and grow our evolving understanding of cultural and institutional oppression.  We have come a very long way in 238 years, and our journey of growth as a society will continue as the years ahead unfold.

It’s Independence Day.  Enjoy and celebrate the freedoms.  Embrace the promise.

We are closed on the 4th of July.  We will re-open on Saturday, July 5th!

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Categories: Businesses

‘Acrocona’ Red Cone Norway Spruce

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 4:49am

This pyramidal evergreen spruce, provides more than just delightful winter interest, ‘Acrocona’ Red Cone Norway Spruce is a cultivar well known for producing showy, upright raspberry colored cones at the tips of their branches in the spring which mature through the summer.

Drought tolerant and deer resistant, you can plant this tree in average well drained soil.  Slower growing – up to 8″ per year – this is a perfect choice for a specimen plant gracing the edge of a garden.

We just received a limited number in.  Check these wonderful trees out and perhaps it will be the right plant for your!


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Categories: Businesses

Hosta Winter Snow and Tiarella

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 4:07am

Tiarella  cordifolia –  aka Foamflower – - an amazing shade perennial.

Perfectly compact and a great companion plant for hosta and heuchera.  My Tiarella has adorned this garden, tucked in close to one of my boulders for several years and has just started to bloom this week with starry white blossoms with just a touch of pink.

Also used as a groundcover, this Zone 3 hardy perennial grows 6″-12″ tall and 12″ wide.  An added bonus is a rich burgundy fall color!


A hosta that will fill up your space!  A giant hosta that has glossy chartreuse leaves with white margins with great color contrast.  A sport of Hosta Sum and Substance, Winter Snow will soon  become a favorite.

We’ve had this hosta in our inventory for the last couple of years and I planted one last summer and am very pleased with just one seasons growth.  It is proving to be a nice vigorous grower.  In this garden I also have shade perennials and hosta that are darker green and those with some blue tones which makes Hosta Winter Snow really show!


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Categories: Businesses

Peak of Summer – A Great Time to Plant

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 8:19pm

The really long 15 hour days of summer provide an excellent opportunity to plant new trees, shrubs and perennials into your landscape and have them establish new and healthy root systems extremely rapidly.  This understanding of how landscape plants establish themselves is at odds with the outdated notion that you should only plant in the spring and fall.

The biological processes of landscape plants establishing themselves in your landscape revolve around the length of day and the amount of available light, adequate but not excessive water availability, loose uncompacted soil to allow rapid root development, and adequate but not excessive nutrient levels.

I suspect that most of the hesitancy about planting during the summer has to do with the mistaken idea that it is really hard to keep new plants watered enough.  The reality is that watering new plantings is very quick and easy, and does not require nearly the amount of water that people think they have to provide.  The key to success with watering new plantings is to water small amounts often.

Most new landscape plants are purchased in plastic nursery pots and are established in a lightweight rapidly draining soil-less media of peat and pine bark, to keep them from root rotting in the unnatural environment of a plastic container. Once these plants are carefully planted into a well chosen location in your landscape, they use up the moisture in the root ball very quickly – generally in about one day.  When the water in the root ball has been used up, you need to add water to moisten the root ball, because there are no roots yet extended out into the surrounding soil.  Even if the soil around the root ball is very wet, not very much moisture will migrate into the root ball.  What’s needed to moisten the root ball is a small amount of water applied on a daily basis directly over the root ball so it can soak in via gravity.  This takes very little water if a small ring dike of soil is created around each plant to keep the small volume of water applied directly over the root ball.

When planting is done correctly, and with a small ring dike in place, it takes only a few seconds a day to hand water new plantings during the first month or so after planting.  A new planting area of 3-4 perennials, shrubs and trees can be watered just enough, and not too much in as little as 3-5 minutes per day the first month, and every other day the next month.

If new plants are watered for hours at a time, supersaturated soil conditions develop that could easily encourage root rot, and prevent new roots establishing.  Watering small amounts frequently helps avoid root rot and promotes rapid root growth when the soil is not super-saturated.  A key thought to hold onto is that hand watering frequently in small amounts is actually quick and easy.  In a few minutes you are all done watering for the day and don’t have to remember to turn off a sprinkler or a trickling hose.  You can go about the rest of your day without any preoccupation and the plants that got the modest daily hand watering will actually establish new roots more quickly and grow better.

We have created a great watering chart to make this even easier, and provide it to our customers with each purchase.

One last thing to remember about the benefits of summer planting.  The days are 14-15 hours long.  This means the plants are growing 14-15 hours per day.  This means they are growing new roots 14-15 hours per day.  Summer planting is a golden opportunity to get your new landscape plantings to establish quickly with a quick and easy program of daily / every other day watering that is not only easier, but better for the plants then when they get supersaturated.

Have a great summer planting with a planting project during the peak of the growing season!

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Categories: Businesses

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