Community Environment


Extension is committed to helping Nebraskans know more about creating resource- and energy-efficient rural and urban landscapes, protecting and managing water resources, properly managing insect and wildlife pests, and more.

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Community Environment

Looks like mayflies are emerging from area lakes and streams.  The mayfly is an interesting insect. The adults, which is what you are seeing, do not feed and only live for a few hours or days, just long enough to mate and the females to lay eggs back into the water. The emergence from the water is fairly well synchronized and only lasts a few days, when literally millions emerge nearly at once. They do not have functional mouthparts and do not bite. Most of its life is spent as a nymph in the water.

  Most trees with petaled flowers, like crabapple and redbud, finish blooming in May. We have three trees in bloom now that do have petals. These are catalpa, linden and Japanese tree lilac.

  First I’ll explain what I mean by petaled flowers. Not all flowers have petals. They have other flower parts, but no petals. Trees whose flowers have no petals are wind pollinated and do not need to attract pollinators.

For vegetable gardeners, it is time to think about cool season vegetables.  Focus on garden planning, seed buying, and soil preparation, such as incorporating compost, if the soil is not too wet.

Do not let air temperatures trick you into planting too early. It is soil temperature that needs to determine when planting begins. Gardeners who plant too early may end up harvesting later than those who wait. And some can end up reseeding or replanting.

In almost 35 years of answering yard and garden questions, I often joke I spend most of my time telling people to wait or that it’s too late to do anything for now.

During March, I’ve been telling people to wait to begin many lawn and garden practices. This is due to cold soils, and we are not past our average frost free date.

When it comes to controlling pests, timing is critical. When a control method is used at the correct time it can prevent or reduce plant damage. If used at the wrong time money is wasted, the environment may be harmed, and plant damage still occurs.

Fruit trees are or will soon bud out. This is an important time to begin applying fungicides to trees that had a fungal leaf disease last season.

 Apples and crabapples are often infected by apple scab and cedar apple rust. Both cause spots to develop on leaves followed by leaf yellowing and dropping throughout the season.

Lawns. Allow turfgrass to come out of dormancy and begin growth, and soil temperatures to warm before starting most care practices. Especially for do-it-yourselfers, waiting is better for the lawn than starting too early.

Mowing is not needed prior to grass greening up and beginning growth.  The first mowing should be done once green grass is tall enough to need mowing.  Mow at a height of three to three and a half inches from the first mowing of the season to the last, leaving clippings on the lawn. 

Community Environment

Pests, turf and landscape, water, and food production resources.

Backyard Farmer

Research-based solutions to lawn and garden questions.

Turfgrass Science

Turf iNfo for the north central states.

Master Gardeners

Trained volunteers sharing their knowledge with Nebraskans.

Acreage Insights

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UNL Water

Providing research, information and educational opportunities about Nebraska's most important natural resource.

Drought Resources

Nebraska Extension has created a new website that offers resources for those dealing with drought.