Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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Tickseed, Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:52pm
Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’ Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Summer is in full swing, and so are summer flowering perennials like coreopsis (tickseed). Coreopsis has long been a favorite of mine. Their cheerful, bright golden flowers shine like the sun, recalling fond memories of small bouquets for the table, and the image of my older sister tucking them into lovely arrangements for the annual flower show each summer. Coreopsis are hardy, long-lived perennials. They prefer average, well-drained garden soil, but will perform nicely in gravely, sandy or heavier soils that have been amended with good quality compost or composted manure. Of the many wonderful varieties we carry, Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’, is an All American Winner. ‘Early Sunrise’ is a compact selection. Clumps mature at 12” tall and wide, making it a great choice for the front of the border. Its long-lasting, golden-yellow, double 1.5-2” flowers add a ruffled softness to these strong and sturdy plants. Keep your coreopsis blooming longer by removing the spent blooms as the flowers fade. This keeps a clean looking plant and encourages more buds.

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Astilbe, False Spirea

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 12:09am
Astilbe ‘Delft Lace’ Photo Courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Astilbe are a favorite perennial for shaded garden beds and borders. Sturdy flower stems rise up above their bushy clumps of dark green foliage in early to mid summer, sporting showy plumes in shades of red, pink, purple and white. Astilbe make a perfect companion plant to hostas, ferns, woodland grasses and brunera. Their flowers make fun and long lasting additions to fresh cut bouquets and dried arrangements. They are deer and rabbit resistant, and supportive of bees. Astilbe thrive in part shade and average to slightly acidic soils. Their one requirement is moisture. Regular watering will produce and maintain vigorous and long lived plants. Plant in mass, along woodland borders, or as a specimen.

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Crimson Sunset Maple

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 6:28pm
Photo courtesy J. Frank Schmidt & Son Nursery

Each spring Crimson Sunset Maples develop a beautiful canopy of colorful reddish purple leaves that continue to  add nice color to the landscaping throughout the whole growing season.  Purple leafed Norway Maple varieties such as crimson King Maple and Royal Red Maple have been enjoyed for many decades, and the relatively new Crimson Sunset Maple appears to be a good improvement.

I have observed that Crimson Sunset Maple holds its reddish purple color very well through the heat of summer, and displays some reddish  highlights during the fall leaf color change.  The leaves of Crimson Sunset also  have a very nice shape  with well defined edges, and a very slight cupping near their edges that makes for a handsome and healthy appearance.

Toughness also is an excellent characteristic of Crimson Sunset Maple, which is a hybrid of the older purple Norway Maples and a Shantung Maple from China.   The bark of Crimson Sunset Maple seems to resist cracking and sunscald, and we have seen good resistance to salty road spray being blown off the highways during our long Minnesota winters.  These attributes make Crimson Sunset Maple a real winner for people who love purple leafed trees, and they are available in #7, #15 and #30 container sizes so you  can have a variety of price points to choose from!

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Making your Trees Stronger and more Valuable

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 6:16pm
This is a correct pruning cut.

Trees can be a sizeable investment of hard earned dollars.  One of the surest ways to protect and increase the value of your property is to prune the trees  you plant every other  year the first ten years after planting.  These early years in the life of a tree are the years when fairly aggressive pruning yields the best results, and are the years when pruning is easiest.

The day you plant a tree, make up your mind that you will prune that tree every other year without fail during its first ten years.  By doing so, pruning wounds will be small and heal quickly and you will be shaping a tree that will be much stronger during storms.

Try to avoid delaying the pruning of your tree.  If you wait loo long it may become exceedingly difficult or impossible to achieve good structure and great beauty.

After the first ten years, pruning every 3 to 5 years by a skilled arborist should be sufficient to  maintain sound structure.  A tutorial on pruning by the University of Minnesota extension site is a good reference.

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Garden Phlox

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 11:19pm
Pink garden phlox, perfectly spaced, in a mixed perennial bed.

In early spring, creeping phlox brightens our landscape beds and borders with carpets of bright pink, purple, blue and white. In late spring, as its vibrancy begins to fade, woodland phlox begins popping up along woodland edges and roadsides. Now, as we continue to grow into summer, we are treated to yet another floral and fragrant beauty from the phlox family…garden phlox! Garden phlox bloom in a range of colors that encompasses everything from white and soft pink to lavender, deep purple, coral, hot pink and red. These hardy perennials form sturdy, upright clumps. Dwarf and compact varieties will reach heights of 15-18”, while larger varieties can reach nearly 3′. Garden phlox require full sun and average, well drained garden soil. Powdery mildew can become an issue in areas with poor air circulation, or where the plant’s foliage is kept too wet. Help keep your garden phlox looking its best by avoiding over-planting. Good air circulation can make all the difference!

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Important Alert – Protecting Your Land Value

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 12:22am
Wild Parsnips

The rapid spread of the nasty weed known as Wild Parsnip along our public roadways is a threat to your land value, a threat to public health and a threat to the health of our environment  Wild Parsnip, better known as Poison Parsnip, is now spreading from public roadsides where control measures by units of government have been either non-existent or too little, too late.

Only a few progressive units of government have taken decisive action to halt the spread of Poison Parsnip from road rights of way onto private land and, these units of government should be commended for their efforts and encouraged by the public to greatly expand their eradication efforts of this dangerous noxious weed.  If human skin comes into contact with the sap of Wild Parsnip (Poison Parsnip) this time of year, very nasty chemical burns can occur that are worse than Poison Ivy and the affected area of skin may become permanently photo sensitive to sunlight and require avoidance of exposure to sunlight for years thereafter.

To protect your land value, and your ability to freely use your land without fear of harm to human skin, please talk to the public officials who are responsible for the maintenance of public roadsides, parks, walking trails, bike trails and nature areas to take immediate and decisive action to eradicate Poison Parsnip (Wild Parsnip) from the public spaces and prevent it from contaminating private land, and causing private property to become blighted and far less valuable land.

The speed at which Wild Parsnip (Poison Parsnip) is spreading along public spaces is remarkable and daunting.  A common response by officials responsible for the roadways is that they don’t have the money to combat Poison Parsnips.  The solution is two fold:  Re-allocated money and raise more money.  We will be far better off paying a little more in taxes to eradicate Wild Parsnips from the public roadsides and public lands than to have our land values decimated if the Poison Parsnip gets out of hand on our private land, and private landowners are saddled with the costs of combating Wild Parsnips.

Our land values are at risk if public governments and road authorities do not immediately implement very aggressive and widespread programs to eradicate Wild Parsnip from roadsides and public land and thereby prevent it’s spread to private land.  Please support the public officials and elected representatives of our townships, cities, counties, state and federal government that are brave enough to take decisive action immediately.  Time is running out to address the problem due to the very rapid spread of Wild Parsnip.  To make control efforts far more effective, other noxious weeds should be controlled at the same time, such as Poison Ivy, Canada Thistle, Bull Thistle, Leafy Spurge, Buckthorn,  weed trees and other problem weeds.

Please talk to officials at all units of government, and encourage them, support them and become part of the solution.  By doing so you will protect your land value and the free and safe use of your land.

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Prickly Pear Cactus

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:36pm
Opuntia macrorhiza (Plains Prickly Pear)

Summer is here! So says the calendar, and so says our patch of Minnesota Native Cactus. Every year the Nursery’s outstanding colony of prickly pear cactus announces the coming of summer by going all out with an abundant floral display of bright yellow cactus blossoms! This lovely cactus is truly hardy, and native to our Minnesota prairie. It lends itself beautifully to rock gardens and hillsides, stone outcroppings and well drained garden beds. If you enjoy plants that double as a conversation starter, then look no further. A well-placed patch of prickly pear is certain to turn heads, create conversation and impress. As you might guess, native cactus requires full sun and well drained soil.  The new elongated growth emerges in spring from the thick, paddle shaped leaves. The spines on the new growth are soft and tender.  As they mature, they become the intimidating spines that deter critters like deer and rabbits, dogs and cats. It’s worth a visit simply to see this unique plant in bloom, announcing summer’s return to Northfield Minnesota and to Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping!

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