Maple Bladder Galls—“Freckles” on the Leaves

If you have a sliver or red maple tree, you’ve most likely noticed small raised bumps on the leaves.  Tree owners will call them “freckles”, “measles” and sometimes even “zits”.  Whatever they are called, maple bladder galls are caused by a very tiny mite.  The galls themselves are made up of plant tissue and are…

Pollinators and their Health

One third of our food supply exists because a pollinator moved pollen from one flower to another. Their quest for nectar and pollen means we reap the benefits by harvesting fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Despite the necessity of pollinators for a reliable food supply for humans, pollinator habitat is in jeopardy because of reduced food…

Fragrant Solomon’s Seal

In the last two weeks besides being asked what to do about Japanese beetles I am getting bombarded with questions about what to plant in the shade besides hosta.  True enough there are only so many different types of green hosta that you can plant in the shade and this is where Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum…

Japanese Beetles 2018—Preparing for the Onslaught

Gardeners, plant aficionados and tree owners are battening down the hatches for the onslaught of Japanese beetles this growing season.  Here are some commonsense ideas for dealing with these voracious eaters. First, control measures for Japanese beetle (JB) grubs in the soil will help minimize damage to the turfgrass but does not create a force…

What’s in My Tree?

Spring has finally sprung in the Omaha Metro area and many of us are taking full advantage of the warmer weather.  Leaves are just starting to pop on trees but this allows us time to notice and sometimes panic when we see something that doesn’t look quiet right. Take for instance the cover photo for…

Fields of White & Gold

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” A.A. Milne Who doesn’t love dandelions?  They are the most well recognized flower anywhere you go.  Kids love them and enjoy watching the delicate seeds drift in the wind.  Well, when you grow up and have to deal with them in the lawn it becomes…

Garden Sanitation – Late Winter

The words “garden sanitation” sound kinda funny, at least to me, and also impart a connotation of an assertion that I’m uncleanly.  After all who is to say who is clean and who is not?   Perhaps the best approach is to remove all thoughts of human sanitation (taking a shower, washing your hands) and…

Weed Appreciation Day—In Praise of Dandelions

Weed Appreciation Day is March 28 and in recognition of this important day, I’m writing about the common dandelion. The dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is a cool season perennial, having some of the first leaves to develop in early spring.  Leaves can be used in salads and are high in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins…

Rain Garden Plants

Okay so I’ve been lagging behind getting my blogs out this past month.  Getting back into the swing of things this week I wanted to talk about choosing plants for rain gardens.  When we think of rain gardens we think of plants that will be submerged all the time like aquatic/pond plants.  However, this is…

Interesting Insect Books

To cap off our library lover’s week I would like to encourage to check out the insect books your local library may have. If you go to the science section you should look for the 595 library number range. There you’ll find books on spiders, myriapods (millipedes/centipedes), insects and other arthropods. Depending on what you…

Three Must Have Books

This week on the GROBigRed Blog we are celebrating National Library Lover’s Month and the books that we love to use.  I want to share two of my go-to books and a new addition that I am excited to have this year. Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains (ISBN 978-1-60938-071-7) by…