John C. Fech - Extension Educator

John C. Fech - Extension Educator

Horticulturist, ISA Certified Arborist
University of Nebraska

Is This Plant Dead?

Winter desiccation on arborvitae

You hear these terms – “the dead of winter” and “dead to the world”, but what do they really mean?  In most cases, they’re exaggerations or synonyms for other situations; in this case, really cold weather with no end in sight and really, really tired.

In the plant world, the question of “is this plant dead?” comes up quite frequently, especially in winter, and especially with broadleaf evergreens such as arborvitae, yews, holly, boxwood and Oregon hollygrape.

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Follow-Up Care for Newly Planted Trees

Watering a Tree

When a tree fails, it is sometimes difficult to determine the cause.  In many cases, it is due to a failure to spread the roots out in the planting hole or simply planting it too deeply.  Doing so leads to girdling or lack of an adequate amount of oxygen, resulting in death.  Other than the correct planting procedure, lack of good follow-up care is the next most common cause.  Each is very important in ensuring a successful planting.  Just like planting errors, many follow-up procedures can be done improperly or forgotten altogether.

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Selecting a Professional Lawn and Landscape Maintenance Company

Lawncare professional spreading fertilizer in the correct PPE

Here in the dead of winter, a valuable service to hire to maintain a residential property is a snow removal company.  No more aching back, slipping and falling and shivering in the cold.  Of course all of that comes at a price, so you have to determine if it’s worth it.  As well, as their employees clean off the snow, there’s a chance that your mailbox or landscaping might be harmed, so that may be a factor in the decision.

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Summer Turf Fertilization

Turf strip

In the overall “holiday” turf fertilization schedule, where Arbor Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Halloween are indicators of good timing for applications to cool season turfgrasses (Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass), early summer is a key timeframe for encouraging healthy growth.  When growing warm season turf species such as buffalograss and zoysiagrass, Memorial Day is perhaps the most important time to apply fertilizer, perhaps followed by a light 4th of July application if a lawn is thin or in need of recovery.

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Protecting Ground and Surface Water

Rain water and irrigation go to the storm drain

With a tip of the cap to National Groundwater Awareness Week, which was March 11-17, the landscape and gardening industry must do their part to prevent groundwater and surface water pollution on the properties we manage.

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