Dibbles And Bits

Welcome to our weekly Plant Exchange Blog about plants of the Northern Plains and people who grow them. This week’s Dibbles And Bits is about winter sunscald, growing nut trees and winter projects with plants for elders.

Does tree wrap help prevent winter sunscald?

Tree trunks exposed to warm sun on a winter day, followed by rapid evening temperature drop are sometimes injured. Trees with thin bark are especially susceptible to splitting from sunscald. These include maples, linden, and crabapple trees. Pictured is a honey locust with plastic tree guard. Wrap and clear area beneath the tree may also deter damage from rabbits.

While tree wrap helps, tree stress from lack of moisture, transplant stress, mowing scars, and improper pruning are other contributors to tree injury in winter. Wrap should be removed in spring so that wrap doesn’t harbor insects harmful to the tree. More information provided by Dr. John Ball, John Ball, Forest Health Specialist SD Department of Agriculture and Extension Forester SD Cooperative Extension. See “The Update” at http://sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestry/forest-health/tree-pest-alerts/ IMG_0298


Want to find information for growing nut trees?

Darrell Ausborn of the Yankton area grows nut trees. He is trialing several kinds of nut trees to see if local growing conditions favor varieties less common to the area. For example, Ausborn’s hazelnut or filbert clusters shown below represent the first bearing year of these shrubs planted in 2008.

Ausborn has found these organizations’ websites helpful: are Nebraska Nut Growers Association http://www.nebraskanutgrowers.org/and Northern Nut Growers Association at http://www.northernnutgrowers.org Nebraska Nut Growers will have their fall meeting in September. The meeting is generally held at a member’s orchard where others can view and discuss techniques used to promote their orchard and the products of the orchard, according to Ausborn. Northern Nut Growers annual meeting will be in Nebraska City, NE in July.



Looking for thoughtful ways for elders to lift their moods and create social interaction around plants?

Candice Miller of the University of Illinois Extension presented “Using Floral Design as Therapeutic Horticulture” at the 2015 International Master Gardeners Conference in Council Bluffs, IA. These are simple projects for consideration this winter season: Plant paper white bulbs. Plant a terrarium. Make your dream bouquet by cutting flower pictures from magazines and glue to a board in the shape of a 
bouquet. Make a dream garden by cutting out flower or vegetable pictures from seed catalogs and 
glue to board. Make a wreath or swag using evergreens or cover and fill an evergreen container. Create ornaments out of garden materials like pinecones. Use various seeds and glue to create seed art.
Create bird feeders and place them where birds can be seen. In the photo below, dried hydrangeas and seed pods become a winter bouquet.



Thanks for your visit. We appreciate the “Likes” from all visitors and the loyal “Followers” who come to see what gardeners share about plants. See you next week!








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