Rod DeBuhr with the Upper Big Blue NRD spoke at a few meetings recently. He shared there’s a lot of rumors floating around, but if you have questions, please just ask the NRD. There will be no well drilling moratorium and no restriction on adding new acres in the District. The only exception to this is if the allocation trigger is reached, there will be no new transfers. The UBBNRD encompasses 1.2 million irrigated acres and 57% of the water is used on only 29% of the acres; thus there’s still some inefficiencies within some producers’ operations. These are producers using, on average, more than 8” since 2007. The average water use since 2007 is just under 8” for the District.
Flow meters are required on all wells by January 1, 2016 or by when an allocation is triggered-whichever comes first. The first allocation period is 30” of water for 3 years. They will then evaluate where the water levels are. If recovery doesn’t happen after the three years, then there will be a second allocation of 45” for 5 years.
For flow meter specifications: all new meters must record in acre-inches. They must also have an anti-reverse feature on them. They must be installed based on the manufacturer recommendations-no exceptions. Existing meters are grandfathered if they are determined to be accurate. There is no cost share on new meters, but there is some cost share for repairing old meters. Please contact the UBBNRD at (402) 362-6601 for questions or more information.
Daryl Andersen with the Little Blue NRD also shared some information with me. These rules are effective as of January 17, 2014, which were put in place in 2006 or sooner. For well constructions and flow meter requirements as of Mar. 2006, new or replacement water wells to be used for domestic, stock, or other such purposes shall be constructed to such a depth that they are less likely to be affected by seasonal water level declines caused by other water wells in the same area.
Any new irrigation well or water wells for all other uses except municipal, domestic, public water supply, or livestock are required to have a minimum of 10 times the pipe diameter of clear space in the discharge pipe to allow for potential installation of a flow meter at a future date. There are some exceptions if a new meter is installed during the time of well completion; please contact the LBNRD at (402) 364-2145 for further info. Spacing between all new irrigation wells should be set at 1000 feet.
Nitrogen fertilizer restrictions include: Pre-plant anhydrous ammonia may not be applied prior to November 1. Pre-plant nitrogen fertilizers in liquid or dry forms may not be applied prior to March 1 except under the following conditions: a “Fertilizer Permit” will be required by the LBNRD prior to fertilizer applications, a nitrogen inhibitor will be required if applying over 20 lbs of active nitrogen/acre and an annual report will be required by March 15 of each year if receiving the “Fertilizer Permit.”
For the Clay/Nuckolls Water Quality Sub-Area: Two new rules were enacted March 1st, 2013 along with all of the prior rules. First, water samples need to be collected from all high capacity wells by the producer, delivered to LBNRD and NRD will analyze it for nitrates for 2013 and 2014 growing season. Second, water pumpage report is required from all wells for all producers in 2013 and 2014. Report can be hour meters, flow meters or other devices. Please contact the LBNRD for additional questions.
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.
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 lawns 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.
Because roots continue to grow well into fall, September through October is a good time to plant deciduous trees and shrubs. For spring flowering 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.
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!