Trott column: Free webinar gardening collection focuses on timber and shrubs – Alexandria Echo Press

Trott column: Free webinar gardening series focuses on trees and shrubs – Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA — University of Minnesota Extension Educators is proud to present the Fourth Annual Gardening from the Ground Up Zoom Webinar Series. From February 20th to 24th, free virtual workshops will take place every afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The series focuses on trees and shrubs in the home landscape. Webinars will cover topics ranging from tree planting to proper pruning techniques to tree pest control – all useful for any curious novice gardener or garden owner.

Monday, February 20: Establishment of resilient tree and shrub plantings

When we plant a tree, we often think about the future and what that tree will do for our landscape in 10, 20, 50 or even 100 years. In order for our trees and shrubs to reach their full maturity, we have to give them their best chance from the start. In this session, local educators Katie Drewitz and Quincy Sadowski will share insights into preferred soil types for different trees, planting considerations, and common mistakes to avoid. We will also lay the groundwork for the rest of the week’s sessions.

Tuesday, February 21: Dealing with pests on trees and shrubs

Insects and diseases can take a toll on our trees and shrubs, but there are several things we as homeowners can do to ensure our trees are overall healthy and more resilient to stressors. Emily Hansen and Claire LaCanne, the local extension educators, will speak about pest control by addressing general tree health and applying the principles of integrated pest management.

Wednesday February 22nd: Growing healthy fruit trees and shrubs

From blueberries to plums, apples to honeyberries, Local Extension Educators Troy Salzer and Tarah Young will explore management techniques for woody perennials. In this session we will discuss cultivar selection, tree, shrub, and shrub pruning, mulching, fertilizing, wildlife management, watering, and harvesting techniques to help you succeed with fruit growing at home.

Thursday February 23: Management of invasive species in forests

Dandelions and creeping charlie tend to plague our lawns and gardens, but what’s taking over the backyard woods? Local Extension Educators Robin Trott and Shane Bugeja will delve into invasive shrubs, plants, vines and trees that are damaging Minnesota’s forests. How to distinguish these forest weeds from doubles? Do we have to report these plants? What’s the best way to control these invasions without hurting nearby native plants? Addressing these important questions (and more!) will be our goal for the day.

Friday February 24th: confrontation with common conifer problems

Over the past three years of Gardening from the Ground Up, we’ve received numerous questions about conifers. Although several of our sessions touched on these issues, we felt it was time to devote an entire session to conifers. Shane Bugeja and Katie Drewitz, the local extension educators, will share common issues faced by our needled friends and tips on how to keep evergreens in your landscape longer.

Gardeners and garden owners throughout Minnesota and the Midwest may find this series useful. Gardening from the Ground Up is brought to you by local extension teachers from the University of Minnesota across much of Minnesota who include Benton, Blue Earth, Douglas, Fillmore, Houston, Hubbard, Le Sueur, Meeker, McLeod, Morrison, Rice, Sherburne, Stearns, Steele represented St. Louis and Wright counties.

To attend all or any of these webinars, please register at Registering for the series gives you access to all five sessions. Pre-registration is required to receive the webinar link. Webinar recordings will be sent at the end of the series.

If you have questions about the webinar series or need help registering, call 320-762-3890.

Until next time, happy gardening!


A garden is a great teacher. It teaches patience and careful vigilance; it teaches diligence and thrift; above all, it teaches full trust. – Gertrude Jekyll

Robin Trott is a horticultural educator at the University of Minnesota Extension. Contact them at 320-762-3890 or at trot0053@umn.