Much Mulch

Are you kidding?  Seeing a mound of mulch piled on a tree trunk conjures up images of a volcano with a tree sticking out of it.  Why does this happen?  Three reasons: If a little is good, more is better. Just like with adult beverages, potato chips, pop and buying clothes, excessive amounts are not…

Viburnums – Tried and True for the Landscape

Need a screen between your backyard and the street?  How about you and the nosy neighbor?  Or, let’s say you need a good specimen feature in a corner planting…what would be a good choice?  If any of these scenarios are a reality for you, consider the group of shrubs, the Viburnums.  In general, they are…

Shrub Pruning – For Some Shrubs

It’s late March and if you’re like most Nebraskans who tend to their landscape, you’ve been looking out the window all winter and wondering if it is time to prune the shrubs.  It might be…depending on the shrub.  This handy chart will steer you in the right direction.   Prune Now: privet, burning bush, spirea,…

February’s Garden Basket

February, March and April are busy months for the Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program. Master Gardener Interns are participating in classes, on their way to becoming certified Master Gardeners. The classes are intensive, covering botany, plant diseases, landscape design, bug boot camp, and plant management. Once coursework is complete, Master Gardener volunteers hit the ground…

Lawns in the Shade? Really?

Are lawns supposed to be in the shade?  No, not really.  Yet, as you gaze out the window at your landscape, even in winter, many lawns are covered in shade.  Even in winter, even without tree leaves to cast a shadow.  How did this happen?   First, how it happened.  The most likely scenario is…

2019 Reflections

Extension Master Gardeners were busy in 2019 in the Douglas-Sarpy counties. Over 200 volunteers reporting 16,022 hours of service to the program. These volunteer opportunities came in a wide variety of formats. They answered Over 7,000 calls on the horticulture helpline that we staff six months out of the year. Volunteers were also present at…

Salty Snow & Slush Damage

As snow and ice are cleared from the driveway and sidewalk, there may be more than frozen water in the shovel. No one likes to slip and fall on the concrete, which is why applying ice melt products is a routine procedure in winter.  Unfortunately, many homeowners get carried away and over-apply it.  How much…

Beyond the flower

Sometimes I get too caught up in flowers. One of my goals is to have something in bloom every month of the year in our yard. A worthy challenge. Flowers speak to us. They make us happy, they bring us joy and yes, frustration. We often get so caught up in the flower that we…

Follow-up Care For Newly Planted Trees – Fertilization

Like water, fertilizer or added nutrients are needed in greater supply by turfgrasses than trees in the landscape.  If mulched properly and growing on decent soils, the majority of newly planted trees don’t need any supplemental fertilizer.   In fact, applying fertilizer soon after planting can be counter-productive, especially if it contains nitrogen as well as…

Caring For Newly Planted Trees – Pruning

Like staking, pruning is an “as needed” procedure, although the need in the first year is not great.  In fact, because young trees need every leaf that they can get their chloroplasts and vascular bundles on, pruning should be avoided in most cases.  If branches are removed at planting time or shortly after, the tree…