Lawns, Gardens & Trees


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NDSU Horticulture Field Day Set for July 22

July 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to noon
NDSU Horticulture Field Day Set for July 22


NDSU-Plant Sciences Department will host a horticulture field day on July 22, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Festivities will begin at the NDSU Horticulture Research and Demonstration Gardens located at the corner of 12th Avenue North and 18th Street in Fargo. Tours will be conducted of the various gardens and of horticulture faculty research plots.

The NDSU Daylily Garden is an official display garden of the American Hemerocallis Society and features over 1400 daylily cultivars. “This is the largest public daylily collection in the nation,” says Esther McGinnis, Extension Service horticulturist and assistant professor. “The collection is truly a hidden treasure for our state.”

The field day will also feature the All-America Selections bedding plant display garden. “Walking through the gardens is an education and you can see which flowers perform well in our challenging North Dakota climate,” McGinnis says.

New this year, NDSU horticulture faculty will be on hand to offer tours of their campus plots demonstrating their research on raspberries, chokecherries, blackberries, grapes, vegetables, and turfgrass.

Light refreshments will be served.

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Master Gardener Registration

Is Master Gardener training on your bucket list? Do all your friends and neighbors come to you for gardening advice? Would you like to learn even more about horticultural topics from NDSU professionals? Registration is now open for the 2013 North Dakota Master Gardener Program! We are delighted to offer both classroom and online training. The classes will run from September 27 through November 15th. If you have questions, contact Esther McGinnis, Master Gardener Coordinator (701-231-7406) or your local Extension agent. See the following website for more details:


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NDSU Daylily Garden Open House

NDSU Daylily Garden Open House

Red Resplendence daylily

NDSU-Department of Plant Sciences will host an open house to celebrate its historic daylily collection on July 29, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The NDSU Daylily Garden is an official display garden of the American Hemerocallis Society and features over 1200 pre-1980 cultivars. This is the largest daylily planting at any land-grant university in the nation. The garden is located at the corner of 12th Avenue North and 18th Street. A brief presentation will take place at 10:00 a.m. to honor Mary Baker, former regional vice president of the American Hemerocallis Society. Ms. Baker was instrumental in saving the garden from being destroyed by construction and mounted a national letter-writing campaign that ultimately convinced former NDSU President Joseph Chapman to preserve this unique garden. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Esther McGinnis at 701-231-7406.


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Variegated Solomon's Seal: 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year

Perennial plants
Variegated Solomon's Seal:  2013 Perennial Plant of the Year

Note the white variegation around the leaf

Every year the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) chooses one outstanding perennial to be designated Perennial Plant of the Year. The plant must be suitable for a wide range of climates and be low maintenance. This year the PPA chose variegated Solomon's seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum'). Solomon's seal is a zone 4 woodland plant that prefers partial to full shade and moist soils.The white variegation around the leaf's edge brightens a shady garden. The arching shoots and dangling spring flowers add an interesting architectural form to the landscape. As the season progresses, interesting bluish-black fruits form. Care should be taken not to consume the poisonous berries. In fall, the leaves turn yellow. All in all, this is a plant that has a long season of interest. The plant spreads by rhizomes and looks great naturalized in a hosta bed.

by Esther McGinnis, Extension Horticulturist

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Vole Damage: A Rite of Spring

Vole Damage:  A Rite of Spring

A network of vole tunnels.

Does your lawn look like this? Do you notice small tunnels of dead grass snaking through your yard? Even worse, you may observe feeding damage on small shrubs and trees. Voles were very active this winter under our heavy snowpack. Insulated and protected by snow, voles feasted on grasses and roots during the course of the winter.

Voles are rodents with short ears and a stubby tail. While mistakenly referred to as “field mice”, these rodents are meadow voles and are common throughout North Dakota. Their populations peak every 2 to 5 years depending on environmental conditions. Snakes, hawks, owls and other predators help control the population.

While highly visible in early spring, vole damage to lawns is usually minor. Homeowners should rake the dead grass and soon rhizomes from surrounding plants will cover the damaged area. If the damage is more significant, then these areas can be reseeded.

Little can be done in the spring to eradicate voles. As the snow recedes, voles leave the now-exposed turfgrass and seek cover in areas with taller vegetation. Fall is the best time to prevent excessive vole damage.  Homeowners should practice good yard sanitation to avoid creating an attractive vole habitat. Grass should be cut short in late fall. Shrubs should be limbed up a bit to avoid creating cover near the ground. Furthermore, areas of plant litter should be cleared. A little prevention in the fall will go a long way to discouraging voles from using your yard as their winter home.

by Esther McGinnis, NDSU Extension Horticulturist

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