Local Interest

By Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator Kathleen Cue

 

The most important thing to understand about Japanese beetles is their feeding doesn’t kill trees, shrubs and flowers.  Granted, it isn’t fun to see the lacy leaves they’ve created, but pesticide management options require thought and planning before you set out for revenge.

 

Systemic insecticides, for instance those containing the active ingredient imidacloprid, are taken in by plant tissues.  Systemics may have a label for application to trees and shrubs but before these are used, the applicator should make sure the plant is past its flowering stage in order to protect pollinators. Also, a systemic product can never be used on linden trees. 

 

By Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator Kathleen Cue

 

They are cute.  They are little.  So what is the big deal if there are lots of grasshoppers?  These seemingly innocuous little guys and gals can be quite harmful to our landscape plants and vegetable gardens.  As grasshoppers grow, their appetites become larger, making the damage they do even more severe.

Floating row covers and screens can work as exclusion devices to protect plants but bear in mind that grasshoppers can chew through floating row covers and screens made of nylon (not metal screens, thank goodness).  Exclusion devices will need to be removed so bees and other pollinators can pollinate vegetable plants.

By Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator Kathleen Cue, Dodge County

Twisting, curling, and cupping of leaves are often symptomatic of herbicide damage on vegetable plants. The culprits that most readily cause this type of damage include 2,4-D (used to kill broadleaf weeds in lawns and pastures), dicamba (lawn and crop broadleaf weeds) and picloram (pasture broadleaf weeds). These herbicides are plant growth regulators, killing weeds by stimulating excessive growth and exhausting the plant’s carbohydrate reserves. When vegetable plants are exposed to smaller amounts of these herbicides, then distortion of growth results.

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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