Seed Test Plots: Finding a Better Method

Brian Davis | Account Manager
Posted 4/13/2020

Minnesota winters present a number of challenges to our landscapes. Salt usage, deep snow piles, and the freeze/thaw cycle all contribute to one of these challenges called ‘winterkill’. Winterkill is used as a general term to describe grass (ie. turf grass, hereby referred to as “grass”) that has died over the winter, possibly due to the causes described above. Living in our climate, winterkill is an unfortunate and inevitable problem that we must tackle each spring to some degree. Over the years, Horticulture Services has tried a number of different methods for winterkill grass repairs, with the two main methods being sod and grass seeding.

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My Evergreens AREN’T! Are They Dead?

Catherine Nickelson | Horticulturist | Arborist
Posted 03/11/2020

Winter weather in Minnesota is harsh. Sub-zero temperatures for days on end, sunless days and long nights, and the worst – stinging Arctic winds. Everything scurries for cover from these blasts. Even native Minnesotans hunch and bundle when the stinging winds hit. It feels as though warmth is sucked right out of the body. Not isolated to people and animals, this problem is very real for our beautiful evergreens; we call it winter desiccation.

Winter desiccation is the removal of water from leaves in winter. For deciduous trees and shrubs this is not an issue as they have long since dropped their leaves. Evergreens, however, keep their leaves or needles all winter. During these months, trees are not actively transpiring, moving water from the roots up to the leaves to replenish what was lost. Therefore, if the existing moisture is removed the leaves or needles are left brown and dead or at least dead-looking. Desiccation is at its worst on windy days; water is blown right out of the leaves.

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Reflections on 30 Years: An Interview With The Guy That’s Been Here The Longest

Jeff Wilson | General Manager
Posted 12/6/2019

The following interview was conducted by General Manager Jeff Wilson with long time employee Chris Angus in November of 2019. Chris is the company’s longest tenured employee, having his 25th full-time employment anniversary in 2019. Chris has worked in almost every division of the company over the past 25 years (he claims that he has never done irrigation), and has gained vast experience in the industry. Chris presently is IPM division lead which means that he oversees all pesticide, and fertilizer applications, as well as supervising the detail crews. In the interview when Chris references Syd, he is referencing Horticulture Services founder Syd Stephan. He also refers to the leadership transition as Jeff stepped into the General Manager role in 2012 as Syd stepped away from the day to day management, He also references the ownership transition that took place when Syd sold the company to his daughter Cathy and her husband Trent in 2014.

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Reflections on 30 Years in Business: How We Got Here

Jeff Wilson | General Manager
Posted 10/16/2019

It’s not unusual to be asked about our history as we introduce our company to a homeowners association board of directors. I often start with the beginning, much of which can be found here at our website. But there is more to the history, how we tried, succeeded, changed course and discovered our identity as an organization along the way.

The story starts begins with our Founder Syd Stephan providing horticultural consulting to a couple key clients at the beginning. One being the developer of the master planned Wedgewood development in Woodbury (still a customer of Horticulture Services to this day), and the other being a commercial property manager, which managed large properties in Maple Grove, Minnesota and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Syd advised Wedgewood about plants and techniques that would be successful in the Minnesota climate and Woodbury soil. At the same time he was also helping the commercial property management company strategize how the landscape at their newly constructed properties should be maintained in a horticulturally appropriate way while providing the most curb appeal and sustainability.

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Syd

Reflections on 30 Years in Business: What I Learned From Our founder

Jeff Wilson | General Manager
Posted 09/05/2019

Despite what the title says, I can’t actually reflect on the full 30 years, but I can reflect on 25+. There were a few employees before me, but no too many. Only our founder Syd Stephan goes back to the beginning. You see in those early days Syd was a one man show, doing some basic landscaping services and consulting out of the back of his Oldsmobile station wagon. (Click here to learn more about those early years).

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lawn care showing a man dethatching his lawn

The Myth of Dethatching

Syd Stephan | Founder | Horticulturist
Posted 09/26/2017

Every year, thousands of gallons of fuel are burned and tons of debris are added to compost sites because of an unnecessary process called lawn dethatching. Dethatching, also called “power raking”, is generally done for one of two reasons: In spring, in an attempt to clean up a messy looking lawn just after the snow has melted, or, in the fall, to reduce the thatch layer present in the turf.

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Spruce branch

What’s wrong with my spruce?

Catherine Nickelson | Horticulturist | Arborist
Posted 11/15/2017

In recent years, the beauty of many spruce in the Twin Cities has significantly declined. This is not true for the entire population, but does speak to a large portion of these trees which many of us treasure in our landscape. A healthy spruce is a wonderful visual screen and wind block. It can also host strands of Christmas lights nicely, and when graced with a snowy white garment, there is little more beautiful in our winter wonderland. But lately, hordes of spruce have been discoloring and shedding massive quantities of needles. What is wrong with these plants and can anything be done?

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Ornamental grass

Why Cutoff Perennials?

Catherine Nickelson | Horticulturist | Arborist
Posted 10/13/2017

Along with cooling Minnesota temperatures and fading sunlight, fall brings special maintenance tasks for perennials. One of these tasks is the removal of foliage by cutting off the plant at ground level. This is recommended for aesthetic purposes as well as for the health and longevity of the plant.

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Aeration

The Benefits of Aeration

Syd Stephan | Founder | Horticulturist
Posted 09/26/2017

Aeration is one of the most beneficial practices in maintaining a healthy turf. Aeration is a low impact, sustainable practice requiring no pesticides or chemicals. Aeration improves absorption of water reducing the need for irrigation. By improving the vigor of the turf, aeration also reduces the need for applied fertilizer and weed killers. A healthy turf is more resilient to traffic and is less susceptible to diseases.

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