Local Interest

Maple Bladder Galls—“Freckles” on the Leaves

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 If you have a sliver or red maple tree, you’ve most likely noticed small raised bumps on the leaves.  Tree owners will call them “freckles”, “measles” and sometimes even “zits”.  Whatever they are called, maple bladder galls are caused by a very tiny mite.  The galls themselves are made up of plant tissue and are a part of the leaf.  Maple bladder gall mites live, eat and mate inside the galls and are well-protected from any application of a miticide.

Pollinators and their Health

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

One third of our food supply exists because a pollinator moved pollen from one flower to another. Their quest for nectar and pollen means we reap the benefits by harvesting fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Despite the necessity of pollinators for a reliable food supply for humans, pollinator habitat is in jeopardy because of reduced food sources and chemically-dependent pristine landscapes.

 

Helping pollinators is a local issue. Gardeners can make a difference for pollinator health by planting more flowers, supplying a water source, reducing the number of insecticides used and leaving a few dandelions and white clover for them to feed on.

Raised Beds around Trees—A Bad Idea for Landscapes

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 As we plan for our much anticipated outdoor projects this gardening season, let’s discuss the tree-killing practice of building raised beds around trees.  Don’t get me wrong here—I am not talking about planting hosta beneath a tree, I’m talking about building a RAISED bed around a tree. This unfortunate practice leads to many dead trees, often years later when the tree owner no longer connects the tree dying with the creation of the raised bed.

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

You’ve seen this before—mulch piled so high around a tree that it resembles a volcano with a stick coming out of the center.  So goes the plight of trees trying to survive under such conditions.  Despite the research indicating how bad this is for trees, we see it time and again.

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

As we get our containers ready for planting our amazing annuals or that coveted tomato plant, conventional “wisdom” dictates we must first add an inch or so of gravel.  Problematic? You bet!

Rocks in the bottom of containers do not contribute to better draining soils and healthier plants.  Instead plant roots encounter saturated soils that don’t drain efficiently.  It all has to do with something called a perched water table.

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Faculty Spotlight: Ashley Benes
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Nebraska Extension offers land application training in February
Jan 14 – Turning manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment will be the focus of eight Nebraska Extension workshops across the state in February. Read more