Gardeners get advice from near and far

NEW ULM – Gardening enthusiasts got advice from near and far Saturday at a horticulture program sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Brown County at the District 88 administrative building.

John Ball, South Dakota State University Professor of Horticulture, Forestry, Landscape and Parks spoke about tree varieties he recommended local property owners consider planting.

He said some of the trees that thrive in this part of the country are Morton Miyabe and Northern Glow Maples plus Meyer Spruces.

“Most people prefer hearty, smaller maple trees now that produce less leaves than taller maples,” Ball said. “State Street maples grow to 25 feet tall in 15 years, are rounded and an excellent shade tree. Leaves turn to a pale golden in the fall. The trees are fairly drought tolerant once established and have exceptional tolerance to urban pollution, heat and cold.”

Northern Glow Maples are hybrids that originated from seed of cold-hardy Korean maples. Foliage turned from green to bright orange-red to deep red in fall, he added.

“They glow bright with fall colors,” Ball said.

Meyer Spruce, native to China, is similar in appearance to Colorado Blue Spruce, but are more disease resistant.

The author of a book on trees, Ball is particularly interested in the influence of urban development on forest fragmentation, how tree cover affects residential heating and cooling costs and the competitive relationships between ornamental trees and turf grasses.

Other show speakers were Heather Hacker Hammer, John Rodenberg and Mike and Cheri Tomschin.

The Tomschins raise about four acres of vegetables for area Farmer’s Markets. Mike Tomschin talked about raising onions.

“The earlier you plant them, the better they grow,” Tomschin said. “Start them in January, trim the tops several times, and they’ll transplant much better.”

“Let onions grow out of the ground. Don’t put dirt on top of them,” Cheri Tomschin said.

Mike Tomschin advised consumers not to plant anything the same day they buy it a greenhouse.

“Plants have to adjust to the outdoors before they are planted,” he added.

The Tomschins use a seaweed-based fertilizer and add mulch to their vegetables.

Hammer worked specialized in wedding flowers, promoting herself at shows in the Minneapolis Convention Center before she was married. Not wanting to raise children in the Twin Cities, she and her husband own and operate A to Zinnia near Center and Broadway in New Ulm.

New Ulm native John Rodenberg, now a judge at the Minnesota Court of Appeals, does much of the maintenance with his wife and son at A-Peeling Acres in rural New Ulm. In 1985, Rodenberg’s father Dick created the orchard that has expanded to a dozen apple varieties and nearly 700 trees.

Mel and Gwen Schrimpf of Amery, Wis. represented the Minnesota Gladiolus Society at the show by displaying several gladioluses. They’ll return to New Ulm for the State Gladiolus Show Aug. 10-11, 2013 at the Brown County Free Fair and the MInnesota State Fair Show, Aug. 24-25.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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