For Immediate Release Media Contact: Barb DeGroot, 952-443-1459
Subject Expert: Prof. Mary Meyer: 952-443-1447
Chanhassen, MN (Aug. 31, 2012) - "The 10 Plants that Changed Minnesota" public lecture series will meet at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, on Thursdays, Sept. 13-Nov. 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This series is part of a U of M Freshman Seminar, Horticulture 190.
The public is invited to join in weekly discussions on each of the 10 plants that changed Minnesota. You will gain a rich understanding of how these plants influenced our economy, culture, health, food, arts and the environment. Bring your questions and come prepared to learn about the plants that have made our state what it is today.
Admission to all 10 lectures: $65 members/$77 non-members (or $10 for each individual lecture). Call 952-443-1422 or visit www.arboretum.umn.edu/gardening.aspx for more information or to register.
Here's the lineup of topics and speakers:
Thursday, Sept.13: White Pine, Pinus strobus, Speaker: Professor Alan Ek, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota. Is it true that only 2 percent of the white pine forests of Minnesota remain today? Is your basement or cabin built with white pine paneling? What were the ecosystem differences before and after white pine logging in northern Minnesota? What other plants, animals, insects and forms of life are dependent on or affected by white pine? What is the growth rate and average life expectancy of a white pine tree? What are the challenges to reforestation today with white pine?
Sept 20: Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, purple loosestrife. Speaker: Dr. Neil Anderson, associate professor, U of M Department of Horticultural Sciences. From a garden ornamental, thought to be 'sterile' to a widespread aquatic invasive weed, purple loosestrife has become the poster child for invasive plants. Management with biological and chemical controls has given us much to learn about managing invasive plants in the future. How has purple loosestrife affected our lakes and waterways? What changes have we seen in wildlife, other plants and native plant communities? Are we managing purple loosestrife today or is it still increasing? What has been the cost to manage purple loosestrife and who is paying for this? Is management worth the cost?
Sept 27: Wild Rice, Zizania palustris; Speakers: Dr. Ervin Olke, emeritus professor, U of M Dept. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics; and Beth Nelson, executive director, Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council. Wild rice determined early human settlement of Minnesota. What does wild rice mean to Native Americans today? How much wild rice is grown in Minnesota today? What differences are there in cultivated and wild rice? Who manages wild rice harvests and why does that matter to the environment?
Oct 4: American Elm, Ulmus americana. Dr. Chad Giblen, research scientist, U of M Dept. of Horticultural Science. Hundreds of thousands of American elm have come and gone across eastern and central United States. One of the toughest, fast growing urban trees that rapidly succumbed to Dutch Elm
'Disease (DED), the American Elm is making a comeback with new disease-resistant varieties. In Minnesota, we still have many urban and rural elms. Why was this tree so favored and so widely planted? What is the cost of prevention of DED and is total prevention ever possible? Have we found enough new genetic material to overcome DED?
Oct 11: Soybean, Glycene max. Dr. Seth Naeve, associate professor and extension agronomist, U of M Dept. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. Soybeans are a relatively new crop, especially the use of the seeds for oil, which has increased greatly since the 1940s. Both soybeans and alfalfa are legumes, and fix nitrogen which greatly affects soil and plant health. Who is eating all these soybeans? What role do soybeans play in crop rotation, soil health and productivity? Discussion will include forage versus oil usage, world wide consumption and use.
Oct 18: Wheat, Triticum species. Dr. James Anderson, professor, U of M Dept. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. From the Red River Valley "bonanza farms" in the 19th century to the mills at St. Anthony Falls, wheat was the crop that built the city of Minneapolis and much of Minnesota. Why did it happen here? Why is wheat no longer the largest acreage in Minnesota? How does a monoculture affect soil health? How has agriculture in Minnesota affected the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers and the Mississippi Delta? What practices reduce the effects of a monoculture and can improve soil health? What role has disease played in wheat as a successful crop in Minnesota? Do we eat too much wheat?
Oct 25: Corn, Zea mays. Dr. Jeffrey Coulter, professor, U of M Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. Another monoculture, are they all the same? Where does all this corn go? Topics for discussion: food versus fuel choices for farmers; inputs for corn compared to soybeans, or alfalfa; hybrid corn yields of today compared to 1950, 1975, cold tolerant hybrids; changes in cultural methods; nitrate runoff. Does corn contribute more to water pollution than other field crops?
Nov 1: Apples, Malus species. David Bedford, research scientist and apple breeder, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. From Wealthy to Haralson and Honeycrisp, apples have a long history in Minnesota. Why do we grow different apples in Minnesota? How do apples grown in Minnesota differ from Washington State apples? What is the typical timeline from a field cross to a new cultivar of apple? How do apple orchards affect the environment as compared to wheat, corn or soybeans? What are the goals of the U of M's apple breeding program?
Nov 8: Alfalfa, Medicago sativa. Dr. Craig Sheafer, professor, U of M Dept. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. The Grimm variety of alfalfa honors a Carver County farmer, Wendelin Grimm, who selected winter-hardy seed from plants that survived on his farm from 1857-1895. Alfalfa is a major source of forage for dairy cows and sheep. Minnesota is home to two of the largest farm cooperatives, one of which is Land-O-Lakes. How does alfalfa differ from annual crops such as corn and soybeans in terms of environmental impact? How does alfalfa improve soil? How do dairies impact environmental quality of soil and waterways? How is manure managed on most Minnesota dairy farms today?
Nov. 15: Lawns and Turfgrass; Poa species. Sam Bauer, U of M Extension horticulturist, and Dr. Jeannine Cavender- Bares, associate professor, U of M Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. Lawns cover a huge area of Minnesota. Why do we plant lawns and spend so much time managing them? What does a lawn mean socially? Is a lawn good or bad for the environment? How easy is it to change our love of lawns and what else would, could or should we be growing?
For more info, visit www.arboretum.umn.edu/gardening.aspx or call 952-443-1422.
(Editor: Call Barb DeGroot if you'd like to interview Mary Meyer for a feature story on this series: 952-443-1459 or via email: email@example.com.)