Ginger Cookies
¾ cup butter
(1 ½ sticks), room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus more for dipping
1 egg
4 tablespoons molasses
2 ¼ cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar together in large bowl until light and fluffy.

Add egg, molasses, and combine. Mix in flour, soda and spices. Roll into small balls, dip in sugar.

Place on cookie sheet and press flat with the bottom of a glass.
Bake 9 minutes.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Branching Out 
with Faith Appelquist

Questions, suggestions or comments are welcome.

Contact Faith
at (612) 618-5244
or by
Beetle Mania

I have observed something that is probably so obvious that some people may feel this statement is superfluous, but here I go...Any weak tree will be attacked by predatory entities. They may be beetles, aphids, scale, fungi, termites or various other diseases or animals.

It is a common reaction in humans to treat or blame the symptoms instead of the root cause. Do not assume that the predator is the initial cause of the tree's decline.

Such is the story of the red pine (Pinus resinosa) and pine bark beetles (Ips spp). Consider them old friends who have evolved together for thousands of years. In the circle of life, bark beetles are opportunistic members of Mother Nature's clean-up crew. Under favorable conditions healthy trees can defend themselves by drowning the tiny pine beetles in resin. But as temperatures have risen in recent years, the insect's population and winter survival rate have skyrocketed.

Additional stresses such as prolonged moisture deficit, logging, fires, construction, urban sprawl or other human activities, trees lose their ability to defend themselves from massive beetle onslaught. Compromised defenses combined with an excessive beetle population act like a pack of wolves attacking a moose. When they gang up on the tree in large numbers, they're able to overcome its resistance.

I suspect we will see more of this phenomenon with many species as the climate changes and trees are unable to adapt fast enough. A similar situation involving the Mountain pine beetle outbreak which 
occurred in Canada, one of the largest tree pest epidemics in the world, is attributed to the lack of prolonged freezing in winter.

What can you do?
  • Minimize beetle populations through removing, chipping or burning infected trees before April 1.
  • Proactively replant a diverse selection of disease-resistant, drought tolerant tree species.
  • Do not use nitrogen fertilizer which can increase tree stress.
  • In some cases, the application of an approved insecticide that coats the entire tree trunk and branches, may be warranted to protect high-value landscape trees from infestation.
  • Avoid compacting, physical damage, or pavement over roots.
  • Provide adequate spacing (15 to 20 feet) between trees.
  • Maintain proper soil nutrient and pH levels by using needle or pine bark mulch over the root zone in place of turf grass.
  • Provide supplemental deep watering during extended drought periods.

Besides girdling the tree, the beetles can transfer blue stain fungus, visible as blue-grey discoloration in the wood. This fungus stops the tree from producing resin to pitch out the beetle, further hastening tree death.

Beetle-killed trees can be distinguished by the reddish color of their foliage, compared with yellow for trees dying from other causes.

When beetles leave a tree, their emergence holes look like scattered shot-holes on the surface of the outer bark.

Beautiful galleries left by beetles as they feed beneath the bark give them the name 'engravers'.

Because beetles emit a pheromone to attract more beetles to the party, care should be taken to ensure that all infested trees are cut to prevent continued population growth from remaining infested trees.

Stressors such as turf grass, wounds and artificial lighting can weaken trees and make them susceptible to beetle attack.

What Shrubs Should Be Pruned Now?
Shrubs that bloom after June 15 should be pruned now in late winter or early spring, before new growth starts. Summer and fall flowering shrubs bloom on new wood or stems that will grow this year . Timing is everything because you only get abundant flowers and fruit on the new wood. What shrubs can be pruned now?

Potentilla, Viburnum, Purple leaf Sandcherry, Chokeberry, Dogwood, Hydrangea, Ninebark, Roses, Smokebush, Spirea, Willow

Many of these shrubs can be pruned by the scary rejuvenation method. It's scary because this involves the complete cutting of the entire shrub down to 4- inch stubs and people are hesitant to do that. Rejuvenation is best done in February and March.

Rejuvenation is used when multi-stemmed plants become too large or woody to justify saving any one to two year old growth. In other words, the shrub is a tangled mess of stems. I like to use the rejuvenation pruning method about once every three years.
New growth will come from either the base of the shrub or from dormant buds in the branch stubs. I nbetween pruning cycles, they look like a fresh new plant and rarely need any maintenance at all.

A tried and true favorite, Blue Muffin Viburnum will fruit and flower
better with spring pruning.

Quick Fire Hydrangea pruned in the spring will reward you
with abundant flowers in summer. 

Willows are best pruned by the rejuvenation method.

For more information on how to properly prune shrubs.    
Thanks for reading. Happy Planting!    


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


View our profile on LinkedIn