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Safety Concerns About Frost Damaged Rhubarb

By Melissa Runck, Extension Educator

With the May snowfall and freeze across areas in southwest Minnesota the beginning of this month, University of Minnesota Extension has fielded many calls regarding whether or not it is safe to eat rhubarb after a hard frost, and in our case, a snow fall on May 1. Many callers have said they heard through the grapevine, aka Facebook and their neighbors, that it is unsafe to consume rhubarb from a plant after it has suffered frost damage.  Here is some information from Extension specialists to help shed light on the most common rhubarb questions I have been fielding:

• 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, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D. 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?”

• Many have questioned the extent of frost damage of their plant, and I ask them this: do you notice 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 have already cut and froze.  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 snow fall and 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, throw it out”.  

City of Slayton Prepares for 2017 Mosquito Season

The City of Slayton will be implementing the sixth year of its mosquito population reduction efforts this summer. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of nuisance mosquitoes. Along with being a nuisance, some mosquitoes can be the transmitter of several serious diseases.

The focus of the program will be to minimize active adult mosquitoes. As the truck moves about Slayton neighborhoods using the ultra-low volume sprayer mounted in the back, a light visible fog will move through the area. The fog will not cause visibility problems. Common-sense precautions should be taken, including keeping away from the spray vehicle and out of the fog cloud. The majority of the spraying will be done from dusk to midnight.

The following dates are proposed dates of treatment. Treatments are proposed for Tuesday nights, if weather permits. Wednesday nights will be the standard alternate. Treatments may be extended if deemed necessary by City Officials.

Truck ULV Treatments

Thursday dates include: May 25 (Memorial Day), June 29 (4th of July), and August 31 (Labor Day)

Tuesday dates include: May 30, June 6, June 13, June 20, June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 5

The product being used is Biomist 4+4. This Permetherin based product is extremely safe, yet very effective against mosquitoes and gnats. It contains 4% Permetherin and is applied at a rate of approximately 1 ounce per acre. This product has quick knockdown, low odor, and is non-corrosive. 

This product is registered by the EPA and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Listed below are the web addresses where you can find the product’s MSDS sheet, label, and EPA registration documents.

Biomist 4+4 MSDS

Biomist 4+4 Label and EPA Registration

Even though we have selected one of the safest products for this use, common sense dictates that general precautions should be taken when using any pesticide. The City of Slayton wants to have a safe and effective mosquito control program this year. Using trained city staff to handle the equipment and insecticides is of utmost importance. The City of Slayton encourages your support and cooperation in their efforts. 

The spraying schedule for the City will be posted at city hall, and also on the city’s website. Available at city hall are forms that citizens can complete indicating that they are refusing mosquito control around their property. Upon completion and return of the refusal form, the City will not spray directly in front of the listed property for a total of 300 feet, which is the effective range of the product that the city is using.

 In addition to the city’s control program, you can do several things to reduce local mosquito populations. 

 - Eliminate trash, tires, and containers that may hold water and create breeding sites for mosquitoes. 

- Store boats covered or upside down. 

- Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store them inside when they are not used. 

- Keep rain gutters and down spouts in good repair. Make sure no water remains in them after a rain. 

- Fill depressions in the lawn that hold water. 

- Keep clean water in pet water bowls, bird baths, plant saucers and trays. 

- Store pails, barrels, tubs, boats, wheel barrows, etc., upside down. 

- Keep shrubs, lawns, and weeds trimmed to eliminate shady places for mosquitoes to rest during hot daylight hours. 

- Keep screens intact and tight-fitting to prevent insects from entering your house.

Josh Malchow


City of Slayton

Corey J. Skogrand Achieves Circle of Success Recognition

Marshall, MN  – May 16, 2017 –  Corey J. Skogrand, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU® a Private Wealth Advisor with Van der Hagen, Skogrand & Associates private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Marshall, MN, has qualified for the company’s Circle of Success annual recognition program and will be honored for this achievement at the 2017 Achiever’s Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

While at the conference, advisors shared best practices with peers and focused on how they can continue to serve clients’ needs with the most current and effective strategies, products and solutions.

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. 

As a Private Wealth Advisor, Skogrand provides financial advice that is anchored in a solid understanding of client needs and expectations, and provided in one-on-one relationships with his clients.

Van der Hagen, Skogrand & Associates has served the Marshall area since 1996. For more information, please contact Corey J. Skogrand at (507) 532-2219 or visit the Ameriprise office at 

122 North Third Street, Marshall, MN.

About Ameriprise Financial

At Ameriprise Financial, we have been helping people feel confident about their financial future for more than 120 years. With a network of 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

Xcel Energy Prepares For Severe Weather, Provides Safety Tips

Minneapolis–May 15, 2017--–Xcel Energy crews are preparing for potential thunderstorms and severe weather this week that could include high winds, hail, and tornadoes. In preparation the severe weather, Xcel Energy has more than 200 crewmembers ready to respond to potential electric outages.

Xcel Energy is known for fast restoration and one reason for that is the preparation done in advance. Crews and equipment are available at service centers throughout the metro area and Greater Minnesota to quickly and safely restore electric service.

Stay informed -- Sign up for outage notifications

Customers can learn more about the current situation and sign up for outage notifications at the Xcel Energy Storm Center on the Xcel Energy website. Additionally, the website hosts an outage map that displays information on the number of customers out and anticipated time for restoration. Customers can also stay informed by following Xcel Energy on Facebook and Twitter.

Other ways customers can prepare, stay safe:

Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume an electric line, even one that is on or near the ground, is energized and therefore dangerous. Never, under any circumstance, touch or move a downed power line. If you come across a downed power line, leave the area and report it immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999.

Build a home emergency kit. Xcel Energy recommends assembling an easily accessible kit that  can  be used in the event of a power outage. Useful items may include:

• Xcel Energy phone numbers - 1-800-895-1999 for residential or 1-800-481-4700 for business

• Battery-powered radio or television

• Flashlights

• Batteries

• Back up phone chargers

• A phone that does not require electricity

• Non-electric alarm clock

• Bottled water and nonperishable food

• Manual can opener

• First aid kit

• Extension cords (for partial outages)

• Manufacturer’s instructions on how to manually open power-operated doors (e.g., garage doors)

Observe food safety. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food safety is directly related to the temperature of the food. To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day. Visit the USDA website for more information.

Report your outage. Customers can help Xcel Energy get a jump on power restoration by reporting outages. Call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts—the automated phone reporting system lets customers report outages in less than 60 seconds. Once the cause of the problem is identified, the system or an Xcel Energy representative will provide customers with an estimated restoration time.