Early Spring Horticultural Tasks

With the recent warm temperatures and nice weather we’ve been having, you might be itching to get outside and do some yard work or gardening. Just remember that based on 47 years of data from 1949-1995 for our area, the average spring freeze date is approximately April 30th. The average spring freeze (32° F) dates are a measure of when the average last spring frost will occur in a region. These dates are guidelines only. Freezing temperatures may occur after the dates predicted. Also remember that local microclimate conditions can springtaskssignificantly affect the occurrence of frost in your landscape.

If you need to reseed your lawn, spring seeding of cool season turfgrass should take place as early as possible to take advantage of spring rains and cool temperatures, typically in April. Along with timing and use of quality seed, a key to success is seedbed preparation. Nebraska Extension has great publications on how to successfully seed your lawn, which can be found at turf.unl.edu. The ideal time to fertilize lawns and apply preemergent herbicides is about April 20 to May 5 in eastern Nebraska.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been and will continue to be in the news. While it has not yet been found in Nebraska, it could be found in the near future. To prepare for EAB, the Nebraska Forest Service has a number of resources for professionals and homeowners. Refer to this website for a listing EAB resources ranging from Identifying EAB to Frequently Asked Questions, Community Readiness, and Guidelines for Homeowners as well as Treatment Options.  For homeowners who choose to treat their ash tree, it is recommended to wait until EAB has been found within 15 miles. An alternative to treatment is to replant a dead ash tree with a new and different tree that adds diversity to landscapes and community forests.

As we have seen with elm trees, Scotch pine trees and now ash trees, species diversity is very important to ensure not loosing all trees when a disease or insect comes in. One of the goals of ReTree Nebraska is to increase species diversity in community forests across our state, so ReTree Nebraska has “Good Trees for the Good Life.” This list incReTreeNebraskaludes trees that grow well in Nebraska, but are often under-utilized. Starting in 2008, a tree species has been added each year to the previous selections until 2017 creating “Eight for 2008,” “Nine for 2009,”…”Seventeen for 2017.”

For this year, hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) and American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) are the tree species added to ReTree list of trees to plant in Nebraska to increase diversity in our tree plantings. For information on these trees and a list of other trees to plant, see the ReTree Nebraska website.

Source: For this and more information go to Nebraska Extension’s HortUpdate page

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