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The Best Time to Seed Grass

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 5:29pm

The period from mid-August to early September is probably the best time of the year to seed grass in southern Minnesota.  Here are a few tips to improve your results.

1)  Eliminate all perennial weeds in the planting area before working the soil to create a good seed bed.  We have found that spraying a mix of Roundup and Weed-B-Gone at least two weeks ahead of planting to be the most efficient and effective method.

2)  Create a nice seed bed by hoeing, cultivating, tilling and raking so crumbly soil can mix with the seed.

3)  Apply grass seed generously, AND lightly rake the seed into the top 1/2 inch of soil.  Do not leave grass seed lying on the soil surface.  The seed germinates much better and more quickly when mixed with the soil.  Avoid mixing the seed in too deeply.  Mixed into the top 1/2 inch of soil is perfect.  Use a spring tine leaf rake and be sure to rake it both directions.

The picture shows the worked area with grass seed on top of the soil surface and what it looks like when the rake goes over it.

4)  Keep the area moist with morning and afternoon watering for 7-10 days and you will have great grass!

5)  Use / install erosion control fabric on slopes.

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Categories: Businesses

Hydrangea Trees Put on a Show

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 6:30am

From mid-summer all the way into fall, it’s hard to find a class of ornamental trees that can put on a show as breathtaking and long lasting as the hardy hydrangea trees.  Hardy is an understatement.  The entire paniculata family of hydrangeas are so cold hardy that there are several really nice ones growing in front yards in Ely, MN where it hits 40 to 50 degrees F below zero almost every winter.  Those tough hydrangea trees in Ely appear to be 30 to 50 years old and are still blooming beautifully.

Some of the nicer varieties of tree hydrangea we have grown are Pink Diamond, Limelight, Pinky Winky, Tardiva, Quickfire, Vanilla Strawberry and Phantom.  The Phantom Hydrangea tree and Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea Tree are brand new this year and both are producing large and dense white blossoms that last for two months and gradually turn from pure white to pink.

When I first planted a Tardiva hydrangea tree in a large planting bed on the valley side of my home, I wasn’t really sure how much I would like it.  Twelve years later, I am a raving fan.  Throughout these 12 years, we have enjoyed the large white blossoms of our Tardiva tree hydrangea every August, September and even October.  On Tardiva, the blossoms stay fairly upright, which really presents them well for a great visual impact.

Come on in to the garden center this August and see for yourself the many lovely tree hydrangeas we have in stock and ready for adoption.  I’m sure that when you take one home it will become one of your favorite trees.  It’s also really pretty easy to control the size of hydrangea trees so that you don’t overwhelm a landscape.

Mature sizes range from 5′ to 10′ tall and wide so hydrangea trees can fit in fairly small ares of a landscape.  Plant in a location with part sun up to full sun.  The more sun, the more lush the blossoms!

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Categories: Businesses

Vines for the Shade

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 8:42pm

I have two favorite vines that I go to for shady areas.  While both are rated for full sun (six or more hours) to partial shade (four to six hours), I have had good results with both in areas that I would consider full shade.  In a location where they receive less than four hours of sun they are not as vigorous as their part shade neighbors and they did not bloom prolifically, but they did grow and climb the trellises I had provided.

The graceful, Silver Lace Vine

Polygonum aubertii

Silver Lace Vine won‘t waste a moment and will quickly cover a fence or trellis.  From late summer to early autumn it will be covered with an abundance of nearly white, fragrant flowers.  The green summer foliage turns a nice yellow in the fall.  These deer resistant vines will grow up to twenty or thirty feet and are adaptable to a wide range of soils, preferring a semi-dry location once established.

The elegant, Variegated Porcelain Vine

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’

This vine will grow ten to twenty-five feet. Uniquely variegated, grape-like, leaves are splashed and speckled with white.  The newest growth tends to blush pink just enough to add an additional layer of intrigue to this already lovely vine.  An abundance of small white flower clusters bloom from mid to late summer, and become multicolored clusters of speckled berries ranging from creamy yellow to lilac, deep purple to brilliant turquoise. A truly elegant looking plant that will make quick work of a fence or trellis. Ampelopsis prefers a well-drained location.


Thanks to Heidi Brosseau for submitting this blog!

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Categories: Businesses

Fast Growing and Beautiful Oaks

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 5:36am

Many people would be surprised to learn that there are a number of varieties of Oak trees that can grow quickly into handsome and large shade trees.  Northern Red Oaks, Heritage Oaks, Swamp White Oaks, Ancestry Oaks and Eastern Pin Oaks all have a demonstrated ability to produce a very nice sized tree in just six to ten years.

All five of these oak varieties have the genetics to take full advantage when given the opportunity to grow free from competition for sunlight, water and nutrition.  When these oaks are planted in full sun where the soil is fertile and drains properly, and competition from grass, weeds and other trees are eliminated, we have seen growth rates of two to four feet per year!   Providing these conditions may sound complicated, but is actually very easy to accomplish.

Come to the nursery someday soon to see our excellent selection of fast growing Northern Red Oaks, Heritage Oaks, Swamp White Oaks, Ancestry Oaks and Eastern Pin Oaks.  We

Oak leaf

will have a handout available that outlines the simple steps you can take to successfully and quickly grow beautiful and strong Oak trees.

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Categories: Businesses


Fri, 08/01/2014 - 4:07am

We have fielded many calls the last couple of weeks from customers with concerns about their plants – be it perennials, shrubs or trees.  Such as,  “Why are my birch tree’s leaves turning yellow?”   So we ask a couple of questions such as “How have you been watering it” and almost all of the time, the answer is we have had all this rain – I haven’t watered.  June 2014 – the wettest June on record (except at the Mpls/St Paul airport – the second wettest June)……     Now we have the driest July in many years.  We are at a rainfall deficit for July. 

This week we did some landscaping here at our home and I had to move a couple of perennials to another part of the garden.  I dug these up and the ground surrounding them was a nice black powder.  Yes, powder.  There was no moisture in the surrounding soil.  Being in the woods, I was surprised that it was this dry.

It is important that you water even your established plants now because lack of moisture will put a stress on them as well as any newly installed plant material.    If you have established plant material – set up the sprinkler and let it run for an hour or so in a given area, and keep moving it.  On new plants, you should follow the watering instruction sheet applicable to the size of plant material.

The forecast next week calls for some rain – let’s hope, but in the meantime – help out your landscape with a little drink!

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Categories: Businesses

Butterfly Gardening

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 7:09pm

Butterfly on Milkweed

Make your yard butterfly-friendly !

A Butterfly Garden

Butterfly gardens don’t have to be large. You can grow plants in containers on a patio or even in hanging pots and window boxes.  A 6’x6’ corner of your yard could become an incredibly beautiful spot with plants for the butterflies.  Add a little bit of white picket fencing, a bird bath or a metal chair and you will have a wonderful spot!

  • Place your garden in the sunniest location possible.  Butterflies need to maintain body temperature, so a sunny spot is very important.
  • The key to attracting butterflies is to provide them with lots of nectar sources; they also prefer to feed on open, tube-shape flowers.  We have the native Milkweed in our butterfly garden here at the nursery and it is by far the first choice among the butterflies.
  • All butterflies start out as caterpillars that require host plants on which to feed. Many of these are native plants—weeds and wildflowers that may already be growing on or near your property.
  • After a rain, you may see butterflies congregating around a puddle or damp area in the garden to drink and extract minerals from the soil. Keep a source of water in the same spot will keep butterflies coming back.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

Some of the plants that attract the butterflies are Alliium, Asters, Monarda, Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Weed, Daylily, Echinacea, Baptisia, Sedum, Coreopsis and Helenium.  We have all of these available so you can get started on your own butterfly garden.  This fall, we will have available seeds from our Milkweed.  For a more complete list and more tips on Butterfly Gardening, we have a page on our Plant Page that covers this topic more!

Thanks to the Farmer’s Almanac on information helpful for this blog.


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Categories: Businesses

BOGO and Crazy Days

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 5:08am

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday for Northfield’s Crazy Days!  We were definitely busy and appreciate your business!  We are extending BOGO through the weekend  on about 50 different varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials!  (This is about half of what was on BOGO yesterday).  Stop in this weekend and check out what’s on BOGO!

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Categories: Businesses

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