Category Archives: Horticulture

Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping

There’s been increased interest in growing vegetables, flowers, and herbs together. Learn more about this in our Edible Landscaping workshop on May 8th at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Clay Center! Please RSVP by May 5th and hope to see you there!!!

Proper Tree Pruning

Special thanks to Dr. Scott Dewald for the wonderful evening of information he provided at our tree care workshop last week!

Scott Dewald explaining what to look for when considering pruning a tree.

Scott Dewald explaining what to look for when considering pruning a tree.  Scott shared that one should never prune more than 1/3 the height of a tree in one season.  Pruning should also be done to obtain a main leader and overall structure.  It’s also best not to prune limbs more than 2″ in diameter.  If the limb needs to be pruned but it encompasses more than 1/3 of the limit of what should be removed in a season, one could “head” the limb by removing a portion of it one year and then complete the cut the following year.  This will slow the growth of that limb.  

Scott Dewald showing workshop attendees where the bark collar ridge occurs on this branch.

Pruning cuts should always be made at the “bark collar ridge” which produces a round cut and allows the tree to naturally heal.  Scott shows attendees where the bark collar ridge is on this branch. 

Pruning Fact Sheet ENH847 from University of Florida Extension written by Edward Gilman.

Pruning Fact Sheet ENH847 from University of Florida Extension written by Edward Gilman with good visuals of where proper pruning cuts should occur.

Workshop attendee demonstrating "heading" of a branch.

We learned that on large branches, it’s good to make a cut farther out to remove the weight first, and then go back and make the proper cut at the bark collar ridge.  Improper pruning can result in further damage to the tree.  Here we were trying to correct this tree for not having a main leader.  Typically one would leave the southern-most branch according to Scott, but in this case, the northern-most branch was stronger.  Scott said there was no need to stake the tree or try to get the northern-most branch to straighten out as it would naturally do this in time on its own.

This attendee is now making the proper cut at the bark collar ridge.

After a large part of the branch weight has been removed, this attendee is now making the proper cut at the bark collar ridge.  

Additional Problem-Planting too shallow.

We also walked from tree to tree in the park looking at additional problems.  I noticed how high the mulch was piled on some of the trees.  Mulch should never be placed against the base of the tree as it can cause rot.  But in this case, it was observed that the person who planted the tree did not dig a deep enough hole.  What appeared to be a pile of mulch was the actual root ball and soil mounded up above ground.  

Additional problem with this tree.

This situation also most likely was a result of improper planting.  In this case, the tree roots began wrapping around the base of the tree girdling it (like choking it).  

Weed wacking

This is the most common problem I see with tree calls.  A huge enemy to trees are weed whackers!  In this case, you can see extensive damage to the bark  and the base of this tree.  Depending on the damage and how well the tree can seal the wound will depend on if the tree will survive or not.  Often, as in the case of this tree, the tree will be weakened with few leaves appearing on branches.  It’s best to place mulch around trees in order to avoid having to use weed whackers on them-but again, don’t place the mulch up against the base of the tree!

This was a fun workshop for me with the right size of group and great hands-on demonstration where we also learned from pruning mistakes and how best to correct them.  Thanks again Scott!

Central Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Program

Interested in plants and gardening? Check out this information about the Master Gardening Program from Elizabeth Killinger, UNL Extension Educator!

killingerscollection

New blog posted at http://huskerhort.wordpress.com/ about The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Program

NEMasterGardener-logo-m-sqDo you enjoy plants and gardening?  Looking to learn more and hone your skills but don’t know where to go?  The Master Gardener program will educate you on many aspects of horticulture, allow you to test your knowledge and skills, all while serving your local community.

The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program is a horticulture related volunteer training program based in many counties throughout the state.  It has been part of University of Nebraska- Lincoln (UNL) Extension since 1976.  Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UNL Extension faculty and staff. They contribute time as volunteers working with their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their community. Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the initial year of their involvement in the program. Master Gardener volunteers retain their…

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October Landscape Projects

In the landscape, October is the month to water, control weeds, and plant bulbs, trees and shrubs. It is also the month to wait until after a freeze to cut back perennial plants and wait for the soil to freeze before covering tender plants with winter mulch.  Kelly Feehan, UNL Extension Educator, provides the following information.

Water

Sometimes people ask if trees and shrubs should be watered at this time of year since their leaves will soon drop off; and how late in the season lawnsWatering bushes in the fall. should be watered.  As long as the soil is dry, go ahead and water. Plant roots continue to grow long after leaves drop off trees and shrubs and after grass stops growing. Roots, rhizomes and stolons can grow well into November and fall watering promotes this growth helping plants recover from summer stresses.  Plant energy can be used for root growth during fall since energy is no longer needed for leaves, flowering or seed production. Roots continue to grow until soil temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit with available moisture.

Water enough to moisten the soil to a depth of about eight to twelve inches for trees and shrubs and six inches for lawns. Keep in mind that a lack of oxygen due to a saturated soil is just as damaging to roots as a lack of water. Allow the soil to dry between watering.

Planting

Because roots continue to grow well into fall, September through October is a good time to plant deciduous trees and shrubs. For spring flowering Tulips along the side of our house.bulbs, wait until soil temperatures drop to 60 degrees Fahrenheit to plant.

A common question asked about fall planting is if a starter fertilizer needs to be used at planting time. Starter fertilizers are high in phosphorous, a nutrient important to root production.  The only way to know the answer to this question is to have a soil test taken. However, most landscape soils are high in phosphorous (P). Fall soils are often warm and dry which makes P more readily available. In most cases a starter fertilizer does not need to be used during fall planting.

More important is to plant at the correct depth. With bulbs, follow label directions for planting depth. It varies depending on bulb size. Some recommendations say to plant about one to two inches deeper than recommended.  The opposite is true for trees and shrubs. Before planting trees, locate where the trunk flares out at the trunk base then plant at a depth so the flare is visible above ground. Do not loosen the soil beneath the root ball or the tree may settle and end up planted too deep. In heavier clay soils plant so the trunk taper is one to two inches above the ground.

Weed Control

October is the best time to control perennial broadleaf weeds like dandelions, ground ivy and clover. There is no ideal time during fall to apply lawn weed and feed products together. The best time to fall fertilize lawns is in early September and again in late October or early November. The best time to apply herbicides for lawn weeds is about mid-October before a hard freeze.

Weed control can be more effective and less herbicide will be applied where it is not needed by avoiding the use of combined weed and feed products during fall. One can achieve better weed coverage and control of established broadleaf weeds if the weeds are spot treated, typically with a liquid formulation of herbicide.

Here’s wishing you a great October of accomplishing landscaping projects!

Fall Invaders

Great information from Elizabeth Killinger, UNL Extension, regarding keeping fall invaders out of our homes!

Husker Hort

Warm days and cool nights signal that fall is here.  The pumpkins are ready to be picked, the leaves will soon be in full color display and the wolf spiders and crickets will start migrating into the home.  Not exactly what you had in mind for a peaceful fall?  Find out how to start preparing now to keep these invaders from making themselves at home in your home.

When the temperatures start dipping, the pests start coming in.  Nobody really wants to spend the winter outdoors and insects are no different.  Some of the more common nuisance pests, or occasional invaders, include boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian Lady Beetles, millipedes, and crickets.  These pests don’t do any harm inside the home; they are just looking for a cozy place to spend the winter.

Proper identification of the insect will assure the proper control method.  Boxelder bugs are black and orange true…

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