Lawns, Gardens & Landscapes

Residential Water Use Lawns, Gardens & Landscapes

Lawns, Gardens & Landscapes

Your landscape includes your lawn, trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetable garden, and groundcovers. The lawn is likely a prominent part of your landscape. While the lawn may need watering and frequent care, it adds beauty to the community and a well-maintained lawn offers many benefits:

  • absorbs rain water runoff
  • decreases soil erosion
  • promotes neighborhood pride
  • reduces the urban heat island effect
  • increases property values
  • provides space for recreation and relaxation

Plants for Wet Sites

Swamp Milkweed

With Nebraska’s weather extremes, many of us have spots in our landscapes that need to tolerate periods of wet feet as well as periods of drought… quite a challenge!

The type of wet conditions also varies. A wet, poorly drained site is different than a moist site with good drainage. Wet, poorly drained soils have low oxygen content since the pore space is full of water. For most plants good root growth requires a careful balance of moisture and oxygen; and many plants that like moisture cannot handle standing water. Below are some plants that can tolerate moist to wet soil.

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To Fertilize or Not to Fertilize

Fertilizer

You see a bright shiny package at the garden center saying that it can help you have the most bountiful garden ever, the greenest lawn in the neighborhood, your plants will have miraculous growth, or it will supply every element on earth to make sure that your plants are living their best life. It’s got what plants crave….It’s got electrolytes! You reach out to grab that package and ……. Woah!  Pump the brakes!  Do you know if your plants even need to be fertilized?  Are you just falling for that shiny marketing, or do your plants really need added fertility to grow?

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Moisture Problems for Trees and Other Landscape Plants

Photo of Chlorosis from Amy Cogswell

The excess rain this year is a change from many years where we are already worried about drought stress on our landscapes. However, excess moisture is causing problems in our landscapes this year from fungal diseases as well as nutrient deficiencies.

Chlorosis

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Being Water Wise in the Landscape

Cistern, Photo from Kelly Feehan, Nebraska Extension

Water is essential to life and has no substitute; hence, water-wise practices that conserve and protect water resources are something we all need to use. 

During the growing season, it is estimated 40 percent or more of water use is for landscape irrigation. In many cases, the water used for this purpose is water that has been treated to drinking water standards. Plants do not need drinking quality water like we do.

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Lawns, Fertilization and Surface Water

Pesticides on Concrete, Photo from John Fech, Nebraska Extension Educator

During the lawn fertilization season, use responsible practices to help keep nutrients out of streams, rivers ponds, and lakes.

For those who live in town, it is important to know that most curbs and storm sewer systems drain directly into surface water. As rainwater flows over surfaces like pavement and bare soil, it collects materials such as soil, plant and animal waste and fertilizers, which contribute nutrients to surface waters.

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