January 10, 2020

Yard and Garden: Start Seeds with the Right Supplies

Principles of Pruning, Part 3: Included Bark


Pruning is an important part of tree care, and to keep a tree healthy and growing, knowing the proper techniques on how to prune is different situations is essential to being a responsible tree owner.

If pruning is not done regularly and started when the tree is young, situations could arise that could hinder the growth of the tree, like included bark. This is often caused by a co-dominant stem, or a competing leader.

Principles of Pruning, Part 2: Making a Good Cut


Pruning shade trees is important to keep the tree healthy and growing properly, and while there are many valid reasons to prune a tree, the three main reasons are for safety, health and appearance.

Dr. Jeff Iles, chair for the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University, said that it is important to be vigilant when it comes to pruning to ensure a long life for your trees.

Principles of Pruning, Part 1: When and Why to Prune


Shade trees can be a great addition to any landscape, whether a sprawling estate, college campus or the lawn of a homeowner. Pruning shade trees is an important step to take to ensure a long, healthy life for the tree, and can be considered both an art and a science.

“We prune for a specific reason,” said Dr. Jeff Iles, chair of the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University. “We try to correct the tree’s architecture, we try to make it structurally sound, and if we are lucky and good, that tree will have a long and functional life.”

Propagating Houseplants from Leaf Cuttings

Leaf sections cut up and ready to plant with rooting hormone.

Houseplants can be propagated by several different methods.  Indoor plants are most commonly propagated from stem cuttings.  (Stem cuttings are shoots with several attached leaves.)  However, some plants can be propagated from a single leaf. 

Leaf-Petiole Cuttings 

Garden Trends for 2020

Cartons of blueberries

While I have been perusing the never-ending supply of garden catalogs arriving daily in my mailbox, others like the staff at Garden Media (a garden communication/consulting company) have been out collecting data on the newest garden trends for 2020 and beyond. This information is compiled to help garden centers, nurseries, and garden writers become more aware of popular products, ideas, and cultural practices in the coming years.  Below are a few of the trends they expect we will see (or continue to see) starting this spring.

Master Gardeners Plan Winter Webcast Series


Beginning in February, the Master Gardener program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide a winter webcast series in county extension offices across the state.

Iowa Turfgrass Conference and Tradeshow a Success

An image of the tradeshow floor, with attendees chatting and turfgrass equipment on display.

Hundreds of lawncare professionals, sports field and golf course managers filled the Meadows Conference Center this week for the 2020 Iowa Turfgrass Conference and Tradeshow, Iowa’s premier event for the turfgrass industry, presented by the Iowa Turfgrass Institute.

Remember to Order Seeds

buckets of green tomatoes.

Even though the weather is cold and snowy, it’s that time of year again to start thinking about spring and your 2020 garden.

Now should be the time to decide what seeds you should order for the growing season, and get those orders in early.

“Some gardeners prefer to start some of the plants indoors rather than buying transplants at greenhouses or garden centers in spring,” said Richard Jauron, Department of Horticulture. “Crop times for flowers and vegetables vary from three to four weeks up to 12 weeks or more.”