Mulch Volcanoes—A Harmful Practice for Trees

Too often the mindset is if a little is good then a lot must be better. So it goes with the spring task of mulching. A “mulch volcano” is the tongue-in-cheek term given to those copious heaps of woodchips surrounding a tree.  No one knows exactly where this harmful practice came from but all it…

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…

What Kills Trees

Trees in native undisturbed sites live, on average, to be about 150 years old.  Downtown trees have a life expectancy of 7-17 years; suburban trees 30-40 years; and rural trees 60-70 years.  Why is there such a difference in life expectancy between trees in native sites than those in disturbed sites? Certainly there are acute…

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…

Winter Water

The weather the past few days in the Omaha Metro area has been fantastic!  If you had a chance to get out this past weekend I am sure you saw people taking full advantage of the weather.  Many of us went for a walk or took down Christmas decorations on the house.  But how many…

Put That Gift Card to Good Use

*Take an inventory of what you have in the garden tool and supplies room.  Chances are that you have some fertilizer leftover, but just how much? And what kind?  How about essentials such as hand pruners, hoses and fertilizer spreaders? Take a close look – are they in good shape or are there missing/broken parts….

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…