Local Interest

By Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator Kathleen Cue

 Leaf scorch, also called sunscald, is the bronzing of leaf surfaces and crisping of leaf edges.  Even plants that are well-adapted to our climate can be scorched.  Plants have amazing resiliency, especially when Mother Nature eases them into changing seasons.  But taking into consideration a spring like this one—cold and rainy—with an abrupt change to record heat, then scorched plants are to be expected.

 Plants don’t have to be in the sun to suffer from scorch. Hosta, which likes and appreciates a shady location, will be scorched by high temperatures.

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.

Japanese Beetles

By Kathleen Cue

Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 With over 300 ornamental and edible plants they like to feed on, Japanese beetles (JB) can quickly become an overwhelming insect in the landscape.  Last year, one gardener brought in his peach so covered in Japanese beetles that it was hard to identify the fruit as a peach!

 If you didn’t have Japanese beetles last year, then hurray, you may not get any this year or if you do get them, they will be in such low numbers that hand-picking will take care of the problem.  But if you had JB last year, chances are very good you’ll have them this year, too. 

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