There has been much talk lately about the benefits of diversity in our landscapes. Most of this talk is coming from educated folks, such as municipal arborists and university professors. That is likely because they have personally witnessed the downfalls of monoculture in horticulture. What exactly am I talking about? I'm talking about Autumn Blaze Maples, folks.
We really try to emphasize the merits of diversification to our customers, so that they will be able to enjoy the trees they plant for decades. Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borers have wrecked that plan for a good many people. Trees are supposed to transcend the generations. That is why our fore fathers planted them- for us. What we hear a lot nowadays is, "do you have any trees that don't drop anything?" I hate to say it, but that kind of hurts our ears. Trees are supposed to drop things! The things they drop help improve the structure of the soil and feed the little creatures that we share our spaces with. Never mind, ensuring the survival of their parent species' for future generations. In order for diversification to work, we need to be a bit more receptive to some really great options that produce seeds and maybe grow at a slightly slower pace. Fall color isn't everything, either. I can honestly say that the messiest trees in my yard are sugar maples and their helicopters are the least of my worries. All maples, even seedless ones, have large leaves that fall very gradually...over a very L-O-N-G period of time. I think of the four seasons as: winter, spring, road construction and raking!
My name is Connie Kratzke. I have worked with Kahnke Brothers for 16 years. During this period, I have done everything from watering the plants to designing our website. My role at the nursery involves selling stock, managing inventory, marketing plants and overseeing the production of shrubs and perennials. Sometimes I sit at a desk and other times I can be found in a Bobcat. During my career here, I have become a MNLA Certified Professional. I am also an at large member of the Minnesota Grown Promotion Group/Minnesota Grown Advisory Committee. Currently, I serve as City Arborist for Silver Lake, Minnesota, and a member of their planning commission. My focus is on helping our clients succeed with their landscaping efforts. Education is a huge factor influencing that success. Keeping it real is my strategy. Through sharing my experiences at the nursery and at home, I hope to debunk myths and eliminate concerns. At the same time, I want people to be aware of what doesn't work. Living things are somewhat unpredictable, but they all have basic needs. Understanding how to fill those needs while simultaneously achieving landscape goals is a process that I want to share with as many people as possible, because I truly enjoy it.