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Garden Update: Minnetrista in March

March is a busy month.  Apple trees are getting their annual maintenance pruning, branches are being cut for a project on the riverbank, and early spring flowers are blooming!

This is the time of year when the Minnetrista gardeners get out on ladders and cut off all of the flexible, tall upright growth that grew last year on the apple trees. None of this growth will produce fruit and will only shade the branches that will produce apples this coming fall. The Minnetrista gardeners and I try to get this work done every year before the leaves start to grow, and you should too if you have apple trees at home. 

Minnetrista is also gearing up for a project that is contracted with FlatLand Resources, a local restoration company that Minnetrista has worked with in the past, to remove the Bush Honeysuckle from the three acres of riverbank. 

This time they will be adding livestakes, living branches, to the toe of the riverbank. The Minnetrista gardeners and I have been harvesting the livestakes from our property, cutting down stands of willow and dogwood which will grow back. The cut branches are then cut down even more, to a two- to three-foot length and stored until they get planted into the toe of the riverbank by the contractor. Minnetrista is harvesting 2,000 stakes to plant in 700 feet of riverbank toe. The riverbank toe is the area where the riverbank meets the water. If riverbank toe is present, it will look like a shelf at the base of the riverbank.

The livestakes will root and over a few seasons will grow into shrubs that will spread along the toe, breaking up the force of the water as it runs into the riverbank and slowing down soil erosion. This is an easy and low cost solution technique if you are seeing erosion along a stream or river on your property.

These March projects are exciting, but I have to admit that my favorite part of the month is the bits of bright yellow and white that start to appear in Oakhurst Woodland. Spring is on its way! 

The yellow flowers you can see is Winter Aconite and the white flowers are Snowdrops. Minnetrista has at least three different kinds of Snowdrops in Oakhurst Gardens. If you look closely at the flowers, you may see one that has many petals and one that looks like a bell with a single ring of petals. You can buy these bulbs to add to your garden too. Look for them in fall bulb catalogs.