Tree Troubles – Nonspecific Symptoms

Fir and spruce trees are known for providing beauty and function in Nebraska.  Unfortunately, they’re also known for being hard to diagnose when troubles arise.   With most trees and shrubs, specific symptoms are present when they are ailing from insects, diseases and abiotic maladies.  That’s most trees and shrubs.  Not so much with fir…

Going Soft

After cleaning up the damage to my plants from the hail storm on May 28th I didn’t cut back the damaged flower spikes to my German iris.  Not sure why I didn’t.  Probably because the flower stalks had injury but they didn’t seem to need immediate care. However, making that deceisoin I probably did more…

Flooding From a Tree’s Perspective

While flood waters are in and surrounding your home, it’s best to focus on the basic needs of life – food, water and shelter.  After initial needs are met, those of us with medium to large trees should consider the influences of an extended period of time with excessive water in contact with the roots,…

Pruning Fruit Trees

In order to be productive, fruit trees need to be pruned each year…yes, every year.  In fact, one of the most common problems that we encounter is homeowners with trees that have been unpruned for a year, or two, or three and as a result the tree is a tangled mess of branches here and…

Bark Bummers

Bark Bummers   This time of year is good and challenging for Midwesterners.  The challenging?  The weather.  Nuff said.  The good?  It’s a great time to notice potential problems in trees and shrubs in the landscape.   At this point in the season, there aren’t any leaves, fruit or flowers (except for a couple species) to…

Is This Plant Dead?

You hear these terms – “the dead of winter” and “dead to the world”, but what do they really mean?  In most cases, they’re exaggerations or synonyms for other situations; in this case, really cold weather with no end in sight and really, really tired. In the plant world, the question of “is this plant…

Evergreen Shrub Protection in Winter

This is winter in Nebraska.  Winter in Nebraska is by definition “variable”.  Long term residents seemingly are always telling newcomers that it’s colder this year or wetter this year or dryer this year or more up and down this year.  To sum, this is winter in Nebraska…variable.   As a result of variable conditions, especially…

Protecting Young Trees in Winter

Many homeowners plant trees in the fall, after all, fall is for planting.  As the focus shifts from planting to raking leaves to getting ready to scoop snow off driveways, there’s a common tendency to forget about the new trees that were planted this fall or even in the past few years.  At least 3…

Yellow Needles on Pines

Holy cow!  Look at my pine tree – it has lots of yellow needles on it!  Is that a problem?  What’s wrong?  These are common questions/comments that we get at this time of year.  In terms of the question of “is that a problem?”, it depends on where the needles are and which type of…

Pruning Yews – Shearing or Thinning?

Ok, so it’s time to prune yews…how do you know?  Just look at the shrub/hedge.  At this time of year, you’ll see lots of lighter color shoots at the ends of the stems.  If you want to keep the size the same, (and most of us do), now is the time.  So, how to do…