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Evaluating Frost Damaged Yard and Garden Plants

Melissa Runck is an Extension Educator-Ag Production Systems with University of Minnesota Extension in Murray and Pipestone Counties.

SLAYTON, Minn. (5/8/20) — The early warm spring temperatures and extra time at home have allowed more people to begin yard and garden work sooner than we have the past several years.  With last week’s overnight temperatures bouncing below freezing the early head-start is now cause for concern for many gardeners and home owners as they worry about how to protect their newly-planted annuals and perennials, and what to do about frost-damaged plants.  With temperature predictions ranging from the upper twenties to lower thirties, many of those plants could be at risk.

If you have not been doing this already with the fluctuating temperatures, UMN Extension Horticulture Educator Robin Trott offers suggestions on to help protect plants against frost damage:

•Beware of the weather forecast and plan ahead.  Clear skies, no wind or a cold wind out of the northwest, and chilly afternoons/evenings are generally precursors to drastic temperature drops overnight.

•Protect your plants: If there is a chance of frost overnight, drape delicate plants, newly-planted perennials, and any plants with sensitive new growth with old bed sheets.  If there could potentially be a killing frost, prop the sheets up on stakes so that they aren’t touching the foliage, and secure the sheet borders with stakes, rocks, or bricks.  The sheets will trap the warm air in and provide protection overnight.  

•If feasible, move container plants to an unheated location, such as a porch, garage, shed, or any outbuilding.  

What to do if you find tender plants covered in frost: 

•Try spraying plants with water to wash off the ice crystals.  If the sun melts the crystals before you are able to wash off the ice, irreversible tissue damage is likely.  These damaged plants may survive but will have scars.  Annuals will likely die, with the exception of the hardiest annuals.  

•If your potted plants were left outside, DO NOT bring them inside to warm them up!  The drastic, sudden change in temperature could cause further damage.  

Several years ago our area had a hard freeze the beginning of May that led to many questions regarding frost-damaged rhubarb.  If you believe that your rhubarb sustained damage brought about by the recent cold overnight temperatures, here is some information from Extension Specialists to help shed light on the most common rhubarb questions:

•Rhubarb leaves contain a toxic substance called oxalic acid that should never be eaten.  Oxalic acid can crystallize in the kidneys and cause permanent damage to the organs as well as tying up calcium and making it unavailable in the body, according to Illinois Horticulture Extension Educator Martha A. Smith. 

•We consume the petiole of the plant, or the plant stalk, which naturally contains a very small amount of oxalic acid under normal growing conditions.  The issue with oxalic acid-containing foods is the production of calcium oxalates in our body which comprise kidney stones, according to Julie Garden-Robinson of NDSU Extension Service.

•When the rhubarb plant suffers a hard frost the oxalic acid may move from the leaves into the stalk, which is the main concern for area rhubarb plants that may have had substantial frost damage early last week. 

So to answer the question, “Now what do I do with my rhubarb plant?”

•If you question the extent of frost damage to your plant, the first thing to do is look for wilted, limp leaves on the rhubarb plant.  Leaves may also shrivel up and eventually turn black.  Damaged stalks will become soft, mushy, have a soft texture, and a poor taste.  

•If you notice these symptoms of frost damage, then all rhubarb leaf stalks/petioles that have been exposed to freezing temperatures should be removed and discarded.  The re-growth will be safe to eat.  

•However, if the stalks are firm and upright and there is no noticeable frost damage to the leaves, then the plant should be OK to eat.  

•For those who harvested and froze rhubarb immediately following last week’s snowfall – I would advise checking the rest of the leaves and stalks still attached to the plant to see if they incurred any signs of frost damage.  If those plants show signs of frost damage mentioned above, then it may be wise to throw out the rhubarb that you may have already cut and frozen.  Now this doesn’t mean that the process of freezing rhubarb stalks makes the food poisonous – this is in reference to frost-damaged rhubarb plants that were harvested right after the frost, leaves were discarded, and the stalk was cut and froze in the freezer before one had a chance to assess frost-damage to the rhubarb plant.  

The best advice I can give is the old saying, “When in doubt, through it out”.  

Minnesota American Legion Baseball cancelled for 2020

ST. PAUL — The American Legion Department of Minnesota Executive Committee, Minnesota American Legion Baseball Committee and Minnesota American Legion Commander Mark Dvorak have cancelled the 2020 season out of concerns for safety of players, coaches, umpires, fans and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Safety has always been important in American Legion Baseball,” said Director of Minnesota American Legion Baseball Randy Schaub of Danube. “As much as we wanted to play this year, we cannot take chances with the players, coaches and fans we oversee.”

The decision came during a morning video conference on Saturday, May 9. The Baseball Committee heard from Commander Dvorak and had input from state and national legal advisers. Statewide COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings would make playing baseball prohibitive.

“It was a difficult decision that affects many young people and their parents,” Commander Dvorak said. “The American Legion is a major proponent of the sport of baseball, and we hope to return even stronger in 2021.”

American Legion Baseball programs across the country have shut down, resulting in team insurance being unavailable through the national Legion Baseball program. The national level last month cancelled the American Legion World Series planned for August, and the national program announced Friday, May 8, it would provide no national-level support.

Minnesota Baseball Committee member Jim Peck has been involved in Legion Baseball for 57 years. “This is one of the worst days in all of my time in baseball,” he said.

The Minnesota committee originally met on April 11 and held off cancelling the 2020 season with hopes that state and federal officials might have good news for summer gatherings. Such hopes never transpired.

With 366 teams fielded in 2019 and 357 team signed up for 2020 , Minnesota American Legion Baseball is the largest among the 50 states.

Participation in Minnesota American Legion Baseball dates back to 1923, and the first state tournament was held in Mankato 1926. It has been held every year since then, and Minnesota was among only three states with that continuous string of tournaments. 2020 has broken that run.


Open SW Minnesota Businesses Rally in Marshall Wednesday  

A large delegation of business owners, livestock producers, dairy farmers and others affected by the State of Minnesota’s shutting down the economy, by business closing, are holding a large rally on Wednesday, May 20 in Marshall. 

The plans are being formulated currently as to the exact location where the event will occur from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  within the city of Marshall, as it represents SW Minnesota.   A host of speakers will address the gathering on the devastation this has caused and will continue to cause if it continues.  A huge concern of losing many businesses and farmer operations, together with vital jobs for SW Minnesota is the backbone of the rally.  

More up-to-date announcements are forthcoming in print, radio, and social media – watch for these. Plans also include securing media outlets from the area and throughout the state to be present as the message gets out to Governor Waltz on the vital importance of getting commerce moving.  

Social distancing practices will be adhered to along with all MDH guidelines.

Area Programs Receive COVID-19 Grant Funding From United Way

In response to the arising needs regarding COVID-19, the UWSWMN staff and board had established the COVID-19 Response Fund to provide financial resources to local programs working on the front lines to provide critical direct services to those in need throughout our service area. As a reminder, UWSWMN cannot provide direct support to individuals but provides grant funding to local programs to do so. The board had set aside $21,500 to establish this fund and $15,495 was awarded.

The following programs were awarded grant funding, so that they can continue their work during the COVID-19 pandemic:

•Lake Benton Food Shelf Program: awarded $500 to expand the amount of food and supplies at the food shelf.

•Healthy Meals Program in Lyon County of Loaves and Fishes (Esther’s Kitchen): awarded $1,495 to cover the added cost of take away meal service in Lyon County.

•LSS Meals & Meals on Wheels Program of Lutheran Social Services of MN: awarded $2,500 to help cover costs to offer an additional daily meal to Lyon County (Marshall, Tracy, Balaton) seniors.

•Healthy Snack Bags Program of Marshall Food4Kids: awarded $1,250 to purchase food for increased distribution.

•Canby Food Shelf/Senior Meals Program Prairie Five Community Action Council: awarded $1,250 to purchase food for all ages in Yellow Medicine County and Prairie Five senior dining to get food and personal care products delivered to seniors’ doors.

•Tyler Area Food Shelf: awarded $1,000 to purchase nutritious food for distribution.

•Emergency Housing-Homeless Prevention Program of United Community Action Partnership: awarded $1,500 to provide direct assistance to help people get caught up on rent to hopefully prevent homelessness.

•Emergency Services Program of United Community Action Partnership: awarded $2,500 to provide assistance during the crisis for things that are not covered by any other program.

•Elderly and School Services Program of Western Mental Health Center: awarded $1,500 to provide direct client services virtually or by telephone.

•Mental Health Marketing Program of Woodland Centers: awarded $500 to provide direct client services virtually or by telephone.

•Emergency Assistance Program of WoMen’s Rural Advocacy Program, Inc.: awarded $1,500 to purchase gas and food gift cards along with miscellaneous needs for clients.

UWSWMN is now accepting applications for the second round of COVID-19 Response Fund Grants. More information and the application can be accessed at and the deadline to apply is May 21 at 4:00 p.m.

We ask for your support in helping people through the 35 communities in our service area. If you are able to make a financial contribution to this fund, please consider doing so in the near future. All donations will support local programs helping local people who are struggling due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit for more information.

UWSWMN is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent by law.  Please check with your tax adviser about the new provisions in the CARES Act to allow a tax deduction for donations up to $300, even if you take the standard deduction.

A gift to the UWSWMN COVID-19 Response Fund is a great way to join the fight for the health and financial stability of all people living in the UWSWMN service area. As social distancing becomes our new normal, a donation can transcend isolation and help support those most in need.

Today, you can answer the call for compassion. In a time of uncertainty, you can share the gift of hope.  Donations can be sent to COVID-19 Response Fund, UWSWMN, PO Box 41, Marshall, MN  56258; or made securely online at 

Sharing the Love Locally at BeMobile Verizon

May 7, 2020 - Slayton, MN, May, 7, 2020 BeMobile launches a Local Love campaign to support local businesses.  

Covid-19 has dealt a blow to the small businesses in our communities. Temporary closures, reduced cash flow for payroll, and necessary updates to keep employees and customers safe are hard realities for most of our locally-owned neighbors. Right now, one of the safest ways to support local businesses is with gift card or gift certificate purchases that help them today and allow you to visit them when regular shopping begins. BeMobile wants to reward those that are supporting local businesses with these purchases! 

“BeMobile has been blessed with the opportunity to remain operational while we provide devices and services that keep our communities connected to those that matter the most. Many local businesses have not had the opportunity to remain 100% operational.” states Jason Prinsen, BeMobile Director of Sales & Marketing. “Our neighbors have been there for us and we would like to be there for them. We are proud to launch our Local Love campaign in all of the communities we are in.”

The Local Love campaign is designed to support local businesses. When you help out your local business by purchasing a gift card or gift certificate in May, BeMobile will match that purchase up to $25 with a gift card to your local BeMobile. To participate in the campaign you simply need to upload your proof of purchase from a local business to and you will receive your matching BeMobile gift card. 

We are excited to partner with all of our local businesses and to come together in the best way we can to support our community.

Corey J. Skogrand Achieves Circle of Success Recognition at Ameriprise Financial

Marshall, MN – April 20.2020 - Corey J. Skogrand, CFP, ChFC, CLU, a Private Wealth Advisor with Van der Hagen, Skogrand & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, INC. in Marshall, has qualified for the company’s Circle of Success annual recognition program and will be honored for this achievement in 2020.

To earn this achievement, Skogrand established himself as one of the company’s top advisors. Only a select number of high-performing advisors earn this distinction.

He has 24 years of experience with Ameriprise Financial.

As a Private Wealth Advisor/financial advisor Skogrand provides financial advice that is anchored in a solid understanding of client needs and expectations and is delivered in one-on-one relationships with his clients. For more information, please contact Corey J. Skogrand at (507) 532-2219 or visit the Ameriprise office at 122 N 3rd St in Marshall, Mn.

About Ameriprise Financial

At Ameriprise Financial, we have been helping people feel confident about their financial future for more than 125 years. With a network of approximately 10,000 financial advisors and outstanding asset management, advisory and insurance capabilities, we have the strength and expertise to serve the full range of consumer financial needs. For more information, visit or