Announcements and Upcoming Events

Preventing Pest Problems at Seeding - Urban & Community IPM Webinar Series

March 16, 2023 at 1:00 pm

Learn how to prevent and manage pest problems, like damping off and fungus gnats, at the time of seeding new plants. 

Prepping for a Healthy Fruit Harvest March 9, 2023 12:00 MT (Webinar)

Whether you grow fruits conventionally or organic, or if you have one tree or twenty, this presentation is for you. Pruning trees, applying dormant sprays – these are not the only tasks for your backyard fruit trees in spring. Get a leg up on what you might need to do now and for an entire season of pest management for tree fruits, from pre-bloom to fall.

Aphids, Scales, Mealybugs, Oh My! - Urban & Community IPM Webinar Series

April 20, 2023 at 1:00 pm

Insects such as aphids, certain scales, mealybugs, and others can produce a sticky substance called honeydew that can creates a big mess around gardens and landscapes. Learn how to identify, prevent, and control these honeydew-producing insects and their damage to plants.

Tree Care

Tree Pruning Techniques

Proper pruning creates more beautiful, healthy trees and can increase the life span and productivity of fruit and shade trees

Training Young Apple Trees to the Central Leader System

The purpose of training and pruning is to maintain desired tree shapes that are capable of early production of large, high-quality crops with balanced vegetative and reproductive growth.  If growers or home gardeners do not want to use high-density planting, the central leader system still is a good training system for apples and pears.

Jujube Training and Pruning Basics

Jujube is a new fruit to most of the American population, and there is very limited information about pruning jujubes. Jujube’s shoot structure is different from apples or peaches in that its secondary branches always accompany the primary shoots. 

Pruning the Home Orchard

Fruit trees are pruned to regulate growth, increase yield, and improve fruit size and quality. Pruning is used to shape trees for ease of management and to repair damage. Many home gardeners also do pruning for decorative purposes. How you prune your trees affects the way they grow and how much they fruit.

Old School Solution Found to New Tree Trouble

 Sheep are proving useful in helping new trees gain a better foothold in cutblocks. Cutblocks are areas with clear boundaries that have been approved for harvest. Companies like Weyerhaeuser that are granted licences for these areas are responsible to reforest the cutblocks with the same species they harvested.

Early Tree Care

Proper early care of young trees is pivotal to the long-term health and success of your orchard as it matures. Young trees are more susceptible to pests, diseases, and competition from other vegetation when they are young. 

Common Tree Care Myths

The MSU Broadwater County Extension Office takes a look at some tree myths.

Flowers and Shrubs

Annual Flowers May Solve Many Landscape Problems

We've got tips on planning, planting, growing and harvesting your annual flower garden.

Why Planting Wildflowers Makes a Difference

In this National Geographic article, Christina Nunez shares why planting wildflowers can be a big benefit.

Trees and Shrubs in Montana

By learning how to identify trees and shrubs, you will improve your
knowledge about Montana and about the growing things near streambeds,
mountain slopes-practically everywhere that plants grow.

Growing Lilacs in Montana

The earliest homesteaders brought lilacs to the state and found them to be one of the few exotic flowering shrubs to thrive on the Great Plains. Even today, many of these hardy shrubs survive next to long-abandoned homesteads.

Master Gardener Q & A

Master Gardeners answer the question "Now that the snow has melted, what should I be doing in my yard and garden to ensure I have a good season?"

Plant ID Guide of Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Useful plant identification guide for ornamental trees and shrubs.

Growing Shrub Roses in Montana

Montana's climate is only marginally suitable for growing most types of roses, but shrub roses do well here.

Deer Resistant Ornamental Plants for Your Garden

Deer can wipe out a garden faster than any other pest.

Xeriscaping and Other Thoughtful Landscaping Practices to Conserve Water

Drought conditions and limited water supplies in much of the semi-arid West can reduce water availability for irrigating home landscapes. This makes water conservation an important component of gardening in Montana and beyond. Xeriscaping, a term originally developed by Denver Water (derived from the Greek word “xeros,” which means ‘dry’), is a method of landscaping that incorporates water conservation strategies to minimize water waste and reduce the need for supplemental irrigation.

Fruits and Vegetables

Growing Tomatoes in Montana

Extremes in temperature, dry climates, poor soil quality, water shortages, and short growing seasons can make the production of fine tomato fruit difficult. But there are plenty
of ways to improve the chances of producing all the vine-ripened fruit your family can eat.

Tomato Diseases and Disorders

Here are some things you'll want to be aware of when growing tomatoes in your garden.

Growing Raspberries in Montana Gardens

Just about everything the home gardener might want to know about growing raspberries is explained in this MontGuide: differences among cultivars, how to choose a good site, preparing the ground, planting, pruning and training, fertilizing and irrigating. It also touches on insects and diseases.

Growing Fruit Trees in Montana

The keys to a successful fruit tree orchard discussed in this publication include site evaluation and preparation, good rootstock, proper cultivar selection, proper irrigation, reducing plant competition, maximizing the potential of the soil, testing for nutrients, and using proper fertilization.

Growing Cold-Hardy Berries and Small Fruits in Montana

Currants, gooseberries, dwarf sour cherries, aronia, and haskaps (or honeyberries) are hardy fruits that can be grown almost anywhere in Montana.

Rhubarb

Technically a vegetable, rhubarb or “pie plant” can produce for 20 or more years and grows to a size of two feet high and six feet wide. Learn all you need to know about growing rhubarb.

Summer Squash

Growing, harvesting, using and storing summer squash are all covered in this article from MSU Extension Services.

Grapes

Learn more about producing and using this wonderful fruit.

Harvesting and Saving Garden Seeds

Saving vegetable seed is fun but takes time and must be done right. Find out more in this MontGuide issue.

Asparagus in the Home Garden

This publication offers basic instructions for successfully growing asparagus, from choosing plant materials to maintaining beds.

Successful Home Vegetable Gardening

Having a successful vegetable garden depends on how you garden and on planting enough of the right vegetables at the right time to supply a family’s needs. Whether starting with an existing vegetable garden or contemplating an in-ground plot or raised beds, read on for essential information to assure success.

Late Blight in Garden Potatoes

Late blight of potato is a disease of great concern wherever potatoes are grown. The organism responsible for late blight, Phytopthora infestans, is known as the “plant destroyer.” All parts of the potato plant are susceptible to late blight. The disease often appears following periods of very wet weather.

Seed Potatoes

Need to purchase seed potatoes for your garden?

Yard and Garden Safety

Minimizing Pesticide Contaminated Soil Around the Home and Garden

This publication was developed as a tool to reduce the prevalence of contaminated manure, grass clippings and compost while teaching homeowners to recognize toxicity symptoms and purchase only noncontaminated soil amendments.

Chemicals and Animal Safety

Pesticides are part of a routine pest management strategy for most pet owners. Animal safety on your property and the surrounding area should be integrated into any management decisions you make. Accidental animal poisonings can be prevented by following these guidelines.

Calibrating Home and Garden Sprayers

This publication contains instructions on steps to calibrate
home sprayers while saving time with easy to follow steps.

Safe Handling of Pesticides

The safe handling of open containers of concentrated pesticides requires familiarity with the compound, preparation of the work site, appropriate barriers to limit exposure, and observance of proper procedures for mixing, loading and cleanup, and for dealing with spills.

Poisonous Plants in the Home Landscape

The list of selected landscape plants with known toxicity tells which part is poisonous and whether people are affected through contact or ingestion.

Articles and Useful Links

The Difference Between Potting Soil and Potting Mix

Shopping for a growing medium to use for potted plants can be a confusing experience because the terms “potting soil” and “potting mix” are often used interchangeably.

Maintaining Successful Lawns in Montana

This MontGuide contains insights and information on maintaining a lawn. Topics include fertilizers, mowing, water, disease, and weed and insect control.

Yard and Garden Water Management

This publication lists efficient water management tips that benefit plants as well as your water budget.

Frost and Freeze Data for Montana

Freeze / Frost Occurrence Data.

Mushrooms in the Lawn

Mushrooms are the above-ground fruiting bodies of fungi that live in the soil. These fungi feed on decaying organic matter, such as old roots, stumps and thatch.

Plant Hardiness Zone Map

This page allows you to find and download state, regional, and national Plant Hardiness Zone Maps at various resolutions. Scroll down to find the map you are interested in, or begin by clicking on a location in the map to access maps for that area.

Can I Grow That Here?

Includes information on days to maturity, planting dates, sun requirements, weeks to transplant size and frost tolerance for 34 vegetables.

Montana Conservation Seedling Nursery

The Montana Conservation Seedling Nursery is part of the Montana DNRC and is overseen by the Legislature. Our Mission is to provide plants for conservation projects that occur throughout the State of Montana. View the seedling inventory and prices here.

Home Composting

This MontGuide describes the essential ingredients for effectively composting organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves, and some kitchen food scraps into a high-quality soil conditioner at home.

Building and Maintaining a Pollinator-Friendly Garden Landscape

In Montana, we have a plethora of pollinators that call the various ecosystems, agricultural lands, and urban areas across the state home. These pollinators play important roles in the pollination of agricultural crops and other flowering plants that help sustain native plant diversity and ecosystem functions.

 

Pests and Bugs

Blister Mites in Apple Leaves - Statewide

This article takes a closer look at the Blister Mite.

Backyard Guide to Codling Moth Management

Codling moth (CM) is a major pest of apple, pear, quince, and walnut.

Honeylocust Podgall Midge

Honeylocusts have been looking thin, showing brown tips, and defoliating. This is likely due to the honeylocust podgall midge. These midges are common every year, but damage from the pest is more evident this year. 

Social Wasps in Montana

We have several social wasps in Montana. Except for the Western yellowjacket, social wasps are typically not aggressive unless their nest is disturbed. Most are beneficial and feed on a lot of our garden pests. 

Asian Giant Hornets

Asian Giant Hornet is the largest hornet species in the world and ranges from 1.5-2” long and can be distinguished from other similar species by their large size and yellow-orange head.

Bumblebees in Montana

Bumble bees are important native pollinators in wildlands and agricultural systems. Creating habitat to support bumble bees in yards and gardens can be easy and is a great way to get involved in native bee conservation.

Voles

 Vole damage to trees and shrubs primarily takes place in the fall and winter. During winter months and sometimes during drought, voles will move from surrounding uncultivated areas into landscaped yards and gardens to find food.

Grasshoopers in the Yard and Garden

Grasshopper outbreaks are occurring in several areas in Montana. They are difficult to control due to their migratory nature and voracious feeding on several host plants. They tend to avoid feeding on trees and large shrubs unless outbreaks are heavy. 

Saving Bees and Other Pollinators

This story by ABC news outlines the importance of saving bees and other pollinating insects.

Flea Beetles in the Garden

When holes appear on the leaves of garden plants, there is a likely culprit: the flea beetle. The flea beetle is a yearly visitor in Montana and a frequent guest in most places where potatoes, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables are grown.

Homeowner Guide to Spiders Around the Home and Yard

Valuable information about spiders found in our homes and yards.

Flea Beetles in the Garden

When holes appear on the leaves of garden plants, there is a likely culprit: the flea beetle. The flea beetle is a yearly visitor in Montana and a frequent guest in most places where potatoes, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables are grown.

 

MSU Extension Services has information on their website on a vast number of topics.  Visit the MSU Extension MontGuide page to find information on whatever you might be curious about.