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Prairie Garden Seeding Begins

Part of the Arboretum's mission is to showcase native plants. We took a big step forward in that mission on July 1st, when the Prairie Garden was seeded with warm-season grasses.

Grass seeding is the first step in the 3-year process of developing the Prairie Garden. Next year (Year 2), the grasses will be allowed to grow and establish themselves. At the beginning of April, planters will spray for cool-season grasses and weeds. By mid-May, once the soil temperature reaches about 60 degrees, the warm-season grasses should begin to appear. Once the grasses begin to come up, planters will hand-broadcast additional seed to fill in bare areas and give the Prairie Garden a more natural look. In Year 3 (2016-17), planters will once again spray for cool-season grasses and weeds, and warm-season grasses will emerge May. Finally, with the grasses well established and weeds under control, the Prairie Garden will be seeded with native wildflowers.

The Prairie Garden grasses seeded this summer include a mix of tall grasses and shorter grasses. The tall grasses include big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), which can grow to six feet, and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), which can grow to five feet. Shorter grasses include sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis).

The Prairie Garden will give visitors an opportunity to get to know these perennial grasses, which are native to the Great Plains and play an important role in conservation in this region. Prairie grasses provide wildlife cover and reduce soil erosion. Their bunch grass structure is ideal for wildlife: they tend to grow in clumps, providing an open understory that allows wildlife to move easily, while still providing overhead cover. These grasses are well adapted to our sometimes difficult climate: they are drought tolerant and their stiff stems can withstand heavy loads of snow.

The seed grass was donated by Ray & May Schaefer and planted by John Parker, district manager for the Minnehaha Conservation District. The seed was purchased from Jason Tronbak of Millborn Seeds in Brookings. Tronback, a certified wildlife biologist and conservation specialist, also  designed the layout of the plants within the garden.
Mark your calendar now for upcoming events at the Arboretum:

August 2 - Unusual Houseplants and Succulents Class
August 6 - Senior Garden Tour/Park History & Family Tour
August 14 - Teaching Garden Ribbon Cutting
September 13 - Family Tour

The Arboretum's Jasper Educational Center is open to the public Tuesday - Friday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Museum of Visual Materials Sponsors Water Feature

Thanks to a generous gift from the Museum of Visual Materials, the formal garden pond will be augmented with a striking water feature.
In making this gift, the Museum recognized synergies between its history and the Arboretum's mission. The Museum of Visual Materials building has a rich history as the original anchor to the Sioux Falls warehouse district. Being close to the river and downtown, the building housed many functions vital to a young city’s growth during the building’s first 120 years. It was lovingly renovated in 2007 by Dr. Rose Faithe.

The Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum is also lovingly taming its wilderness area home in East Sioux Falls by featuring native materials and plants. As Museum board member Stacey McMahan explains, “As a highlight to the history and nature of Sioux Falls, the Arboretum’s mission and development are important to this area. We thought this was a great opportunity to be a part of their efforts. We made the water feature our support focus with its quartzite and running water, as it relates well to the Museum’s feel and history.”

Purchasing a Tree

In our last newsletter, Forestry Supervisor Duane Stall explained how to choose the right tree for the right site. Here he offers a guide to purchasing a tree once you've made that decision.
By Duane Stall, Forestry Supervisor, Sioux Falls

After selecting the right tree for the right site, it is time to begin locating the tree in the market place.  Begin by calling or visiting local nurseries or garden centers to check on tree availability. When ordering a tree, be specific by providing the scientific name of the tree and the cultivar. If a tree is not in stock, the nursery may be able to special order it. 
Trees can be found in four forms: Balled & Burlapped (B&B), Bare Root (BR), Potted (P), and Container Grown (CG). Each form has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which you should consider when purchasing a tree. 

Form Advantage Disadvantage
  • Can be planted leafed out
  • Larger planting stock
  • Soil ball contained in burlap-lined wire basket for transporting and handling
  • Advanced root system
  • Available during planting season
  • Can be very heavy
  • Transporting requirements
  • May have to remove excess soil on top of ball to find first lateral root
  • Must remove top third of wire and burlap
  • Light and easy to work with
  • Transports easier
  • Can inspect root system structure before buying
  • Can see the first lateral root when planting
  • Should be planted dormant
  • Harder for some species to break dormancy
  • Lack of fine roots
  • Limited availability during planting season
  • Can be planted leafed out
  • Some root growth after potting
  • Fairly easy to handle
  • Roots are pruned or cork screwed to fit container
  • Will generate encircling roots over time
  • Lower quality of soil medium
  • May become root bound
  • May have to remove excess potting medium to locate first lateral root
  • Can be planted leafed out
  • Can be light and easy to work with
  • Smaller-sized growing stock
  • May develop encircling roots
When you have located a tree, inspect the tree before buying it. To aid your inspection, look for the following:
  • trees grown to the standards set by the American Association of Nurserymen
  • a straight stem with good taper
  • a well-developed central leader
  • healthy looking bark without wounds or discolored or sunken areas
  • healthy, wide angled, symmetrical branching
  • healthy buds that are firm and moist on dormant trees
  • root graft exposed at base of tree if P or B&B
  • first lateral root just below the soil line in P or B&B
  • trees without insect or disease problems
Promptly transport the tree to the planting site and plant. If you can’t plant the tree for a while, place it in a shady area and water it until it can be planted.

Contact the Forestry Division at (605) 367-8150 if you have any questions.

Students Photograph the Arboretum in Bloom

It's tough to capture the wonder of nature in a photograph, but we think the students in this summer's nature photography classes did an outstanding job!
Photo by Kai Ruge, a student in our first nature photography class. View more of the students' beautiful photographs here.
Classes were held in both June and July for students ages 8 - 12. Students spent two days learning about the fundamentals of composition and exploring the Arboretum to capture the perfect shot. Classes were taught by Bridget Meidinger, a professional photographer from Sioux Falls, and Joe Staudenbaur, a professor at Dakota State University.

Education at the Arboretum

This spring, the Arboretum was abuzz with children learning about ecology and conservation. Over 600 students and teachers from area elementary schools visited on field trips.
Educational programming at the Arboretum is made possible by a grant from the Sioux Falls Community Foundation, which has allowed us to develop curriculum and lesson plans. We look forward to rolling out new fall-themed lessons in the coming months.
In addition to field trip opportunities, the Arboretum offers a variety of educational activities for children and their families. Visitors can explore the Educational Garden, whose displays and demonstration trees help children understand tree growth. Inside the Jasper Educational Center, visitors can step into the historical classroom to see what life was like at the turn of the century for students in East Sioux Falls.

Thank You, Kids Grow Green!

A big thank-you to Allie Weber and her classmates, who grew tomato plants from seed to sell at the Farmers Market in order to raise money for three green causes: the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum, Ground Works, and the Black Hills Raptor Center.

Learn more about Allie and Kids Grow Green on her blog.

Photo by Ann Louisa Photography (Hood Magazine)

Springtime in the Country

On May 3rd, a record number of visitors came out for Springtime in the Country. They enjoyed a day of perfect spring weather, marveled at Squeaky the three-day old miniature horse, learned to shell corn and make rope the old-fashioned way, and met baby animals (chicks and rabbits and lambs, oh my!). Hundreds of brave visitors ventured inside the Educational Center to learn about the types of snakes found here and their yearly migration--a hands-on experience!

Reserve Space Now

Whether you are planning a wedding, reunion, or business retreat, the Arboretum offers a beautiful venue for you and your guests. Reserve a garden for a one-of-a-kind outdoor event. Indoor space is also available.

To schedule your event, contact us.

Memorial Gifts

"After joining the Arboretum board in 2012, I learned of the option to purchase a tree as a memorial. My parents, Phyllis and Philip McKinley, were both nature lovers. We spent many hours during our childhood in the woods along the Cedar River near St. Ansgar, Iowa. Our family farm that ran along the river was Acorn Park Farms. It seems only fitting that I honor the memory of my parents with an oak tree. This tree will form part of a beautiful landscape where I can go and walk or just sit and reminisce. I think this opportunity will appeal to many people who want to pay tribute to a family member or friend who had a special connection to nature."
- Ann Randall

Thank You!

Quarterly Report of Donors
April 1, 2014 - June 30, 2014
Greg Boris & Joan Reddy
Paul & Mary Ellen Connelly
Phil & Judy Davis
Richard & Janice Dickey
Bill & Rosemary Draeger
Steve & Kris Egger
Jeanne Enderson
Thomas & Linda Mickelson Graham
Gretchen Graves
Deb and Rich Harr
Jeff & Shelia Hazard
Hope Lutheran Church
Mike &  Bunny Howes
Boyd & Dody Hopkins
Judy Jasper
Merle and Sharon Johnson
Laura Davis Keppen
Joan & Dick Klock
Karen Koob
Marianne Larsen
Janet Lenderts
Steve & Patricia Lindquist
Tom and Susan McDowell
Mary McQuillen
Dr. Peter & Rhonda Morse
Milt & Ruby Mutch
Jerry & Ann Nachtigal
Bob O'Connell & Kris Kreiter O'Connell
Gary & Linda Pashby
John & Trudy Peckham

Become a Member

Founding Friends of the Arboretum receive reciprocal privileges (free admission) at nearly 300 botanic gardens, arboreta, and conservatories nationwide through the American Horticultural Society's Reciprocal Admissions Program. Members also enjoy discounted fees and early registration for classes, plus invitations to member-only events.

Membership contributions are tax-deductible. Gift memberships are available.
Help Us Grow
Rammy & Carol Rasmussen
Raven Industries
Duane & Diane Sather
Steve & Arlys Sikorski
Lloyd & Dorothy Stivers
Pam Taylor & Steve Jansa
Tom & Kathy Walsh
Allie Weber (Kids Grow Green)
Matthew & Deborah Witte

Gifts in Memory of Karl Wegner
Dr. Loren & Mavis Amundson
Deana & Dr. Richard Barth
Larry and Anita Bierman
Russ and Carol Greenfield
Mike Crane & Candy Hanson
Judy Jasper
Kirk & Lori Kiesow
Andrea Kuehn
Curt & Ann Louise Kuehn
Milt & Ruby Mutch
Marlene Rance
Dr. Brad & Ann Randall
Leonard & Carla Jean Rhoades
Jeff & Katie Scherschligt
Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation
Pam Taylor & Steve Jansa

Gifts in Memory of Joan Erickson
Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation

Volunteer: Teachers and Weeders Needed

Interested in teaching a class or workshop at the Arboretum? We’re seeking volunteer instructors for the upcoming year. Volunteer to assist with a scheduled class or propose your own course and share your expertise in environmental education or local history.

We're also seeking volunteers who can help us tame the weeds in our gardens. Whether you've got 30 minutes or 3 hours, we'd love a hand!

Please contact us to submit a course proposal or to learn more.
Sign up to Volunteer
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Copyright © 2014 Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum & East Sioux Falls Historic Site, All rights reserved.

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