How to Trim Your Bushes

Though perhaps not the most popular types of landscaping plant, bushes, shrubs, and hedges are beautiful plants that add natural beauty and curb appeal to your home. Easy-to-maintain and often vibrant year-round, they make a great addition to accent your lawn, trees, gardens, and hardscapes, such as walks, patios and walls. They can also be great ways to provide a windbreak, privacy screen, or even a living fence around your yard. Keep reading to learn about the types of trimmers you can opt to use, as well as some tips on how to trim bushes yourself.

Types of Trimmers

If your bushes are left to become overgrown, however, they can negatively impact your curb appeal, making your yard look messy and unkempt. But maintaining these types of plants is actually quite simple, thanks to readily available and affordable hedge trimmers. There are three types of hedge trimmers available, depending on your individual needs and preferences:

  • Gas-powered Trimmers

These trimmers have the most powerful engines, and are best for cutting through thicker branches. They also have the advantage of not being tethered by a cord, which makes them a great option for people with large yards. They can be more expensive than other trimmer options, and require you to mix a small amount of oil with the gas in order to keep the engine lubricated.

  • Corded Trimmers

Less expensive in quieter than gas-powered trimmers, corded trimmers are a great option for those with smaller yards and are virtually maintenance-free. You also don’t have to worry about using a pull-start or a choke to get it going each time you use it. They are slightly less powerful, making them better suited to small and medium-sized bushes.

  • Cordless Trimmers

While cordless trimmers have been around for a number of years, it was only recently that, thanks to advancements in battery technology, that they became a popular option for trimming bushes. Much like corded trimmers, they require little maintenance, are easy to start, and are very quiet. While they can be less expensive than gas-powered trimmers, many require you to purchase the battery and charger separately, which can make them more expensive than corded options.

Hedge trimmers are very simple to use, though it is important to be careful as they have sharp blades. Always keep two hands on your trimmer when it is turned on. If you find a branch that is too thick to cut with your trimmers, never try to hold it still with one hand while cutting. Instead, use a pair of hand pruners to ensure you don’t accidentally injure yourself or the bush with your powered trimmers.

Trimming Your Bushes

The number of times you trim your bushes every year depends on the look you’re going for. If you want less formal, more natural-looking bushes, trim them just once or twice a year. For more formal bushes and hedges, you’ll want to trim three to four times per year.

Start trimming your bush from the bottom and work your way up, taking on a little bit off at a time. Avoid trimming the bush into a “V” shape, which discourages light from getting to the bottom branches and root system, and can make them lose their leaves or needles. Instead, aim for a shape that is slightly wider at the bottom, which allows optimal exposure to sunlight and promotes a full, lush bush.

To cut the top flat, hold the blade level with the ground and move from right to left, then left to right. Take only a little bit off at a time, guiding the blade as level as possible. For tall bushes or hedges, you can use stakes with a string tied across them as a guide to get a straight, even cut. Stop as you go to use your hands to remove cut pieces from the bush. It will likely take several passes to get the bush into the shape you want.

Make sure to trim bushes in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid sunburning the freshly cut branches. You should also avoid trimming bushes in early spring when birds are nesting. When you’re done trimming the bush, you should go through it by hand with your pruning shears to find and remove any dead or diseased branches inside of the plant.

If you aren’t confident trimming your own bushes, Liberty Lawn is here to help. We offer all kinds of yard services, including bush trimming, to keep your yard looking its best all season long. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation!

How to Fertilize Your Lawn

All plants need more than just water and sunlight to thrive, and grass is no exception. Applying fertilizer to your lawn feeds it necessary nutrients that it needs to grow thick and lush. Maintaining a thick, lush lawn helps prevent weeds from sprouting and moving in, allows your lawn to fight off disease, and helps roots retain more water during warm summer days.

Most fertilizers are only effective for 6 to 8 weeks, so maintaining a regular fertilization schedule is essential in keeping your lawn healthy all season long. Here are the steps you should take to fertilize your lawn:

  1. Water your lawn. A day or two before you fertilize your lawn, give it a good watering. Ensuring your soil is damp, but not soaking wet, helps the soil absorb the fertilizer.
  2. Pick the best spreader for your lawn. There are a few different types of spreaders, and you’ll want to be sure you have the correct one to make the application quick and easy. For small lawns, a handheld spreader can work just fine, whereas people with bigger lawns will benefit from a push-type spreader. Make sure to adjust the spreader settings. Each fertilizer product has a spreader setting on the package to ensure correct coverage.
  3. Start by applying grass fertilizer around the perimeter. It is always best to start applying fertilizer around the perimeter of your grass, as it is the easiest area to accidentally miss spots. Simply walk around the entire perimeter, ensuring you move steadily for an even application.
  4. Fill in the middle. Similar to a mowing pattern, feed your lawn by walking back and forth in straight lines, making sure to overlap slightly with each pass.
  5. Properly store any remaining product. Once you’ve finished fertilizing your lawn, return any unused product to the bag and store it for future use. Be sure to keep it in a cool, dry place away from pets and children.

We hope that this article has helped you to learn about the benefits of fertilizing your lawn. If you aren’t certain which fertilizer is best for your individual needs, or aren’t able to fertilize on a regular schedule, Liberty Lawn is here to help. We offer all kinds of yard services, including lawn fertilization, to keep your yard healthy and looking good all season long. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation!

Spring Yard Cleanup Checklist

Now that temperatures are finally rising and spring is in the air, it’s time to consider completing some spring cleaning tasks for your yard. Yards that are left unkempt not only look unsightly, but they also aren’t able to maximize their growing potential throughout the season. We’ve come up with a spring yard cleanup checklist to help you get your yard nice and tidy in time for spring and summer outdoor activities.

  • Check for lawn damage and prep for reseeding.

While your grass can withstand cold winter temperatures while hibernating, sometimes you’ll end up with damage from traffic, road salt, or disease. Prepare to reseed damaged areas by removing dead areas with a heavy square metal rake. Then, apply a ¼ layer of compost to help give seeds a jump-start when it is time for planting.

  • Prune dead and damaged branches on shrubs and trees.

Any branches that have been damaged by winter weather should be trimmed back to keep your shrubs and trees happy and healthy throughout the growing season. If you have hedges, use hand shears to shape them as electric shears can cause damage that prevent the hedge from being able to grow a nice thick outer layer. Prune summer-flowering shrubs, such as Rose of Sharon, before buds swell, but wait to prune spring bloomers, like forsythia, until after they flower.

  • Cut back and divide your perennial plants.

To start, prune flowering perennials to a height of 4 to 5 inches and ornamental grasses to 2 to 3 inches. This helps to encourage vigorous new growth. As soon as the ground has thawed, it is safe to dig up perennials to thin your beds or transplant them to other areas of your yard. Make sure to leave at least three stems per clump. Cut back any rose canes that have been damaged to about 1 inch below any blackened areas.

  • Clean up fallen leaves and debris.

All leaves, dead foliage, or remaining dead annuals should be cleaned up and removed from your yard. Now is also a good time to remove any mulch that you plan to replace, which also allows you to see heaved plants that need to be tamped back into the ground.

  • Start your compost pile.

If you choose to compost your yard waste, now is the time to start your new compost pile with the debris and old mulch that you’ve collected from around your yard. Shred leaves and chip branches over ½ inch in diameter if you can, or add a bagged compost starter to give the pile a boost. Make sure to keep it evenly damp, and aerate it with a pitchfork every two weeks.

  • Tidy up paths and patios.

If any decorative gravel has moved out of its boundaries during the winter, now is the time to rake it back to where it belongs. Order more gravel to fill any areas that are thin or bare. Remove any pavers that have been heaved by winter freezes, tamp down and add base material as needed to get it back to level. If you have flagstones, refill joints with new sand or stone dust as needed.

  • Replace or repaint wood fences and trellises.

Start by checking that all posts are still securely in the ground, then remove any badly damaged pickets, boards, or lattices. Next, scrape off any loose old paint and sand smooth for the best results. Install new wood and perform any required patching with wood epoxy. Once temperatures are above 50 degrees, you can apply your new paint.

We hope this checklist has helped inspire you to get your yard back in shape this spring. If you simply don’t have the time or the patience to do your spring yard cleanup, we offer many different services to meet your needs. Give us a call to set up a free estimate today!

Rocks vs. Mulch – Which is Better in Flower Beds & Around Trees?

Whether you are considering adding mulch to your flower beds or around your trees, there are many different points to consider. Which looks better? Which benefits my plants more? Which is lower maintenance? Let us help you answer some of these questions by listing the pros and cons of the two most popular mulch options: organic mulch and river rocks.

Organic Mulch

Pros

  • Better Growth: Mulch can nearly double how fast trees and plants grow, according to studies.
  • Less Water: Mulch reduces water evaporation, so you spend less time and money watering!
  • More Nutrients: As mulch breaks down, it adds nutrients that plants need to thrive.
  • Fewer Weeds: Mulch stops weed seeds from sprouting, so you may see 50 percent fewer weeds.
  • Just the Right Temperature: Mulch keeps plants warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • Reduce Compaction and Erosion: Mulch reduces soil erosion by up to 85 percent. Plus, people are less likely to walk on mulch, so there’s less soil compaction.

Cons

  • Annual Replacement: Depending on your mulch type, you’ll have to replace it every one to four years. So, it’s a recurring cost and time expense.
  • Too much of a Good Thing: Adding a layer of mulch more than 2-3 inches of mulch stresses out plants.
  • Too Early = Late Blooms: Mulching too early may slow how quickly the ground warms, which means you could see blooms a bit later than normal.
  • Too Late = Weeds: Mulch stops weeds from germinating. If you mulch too late, it may not stop them as much.
  • Check for Seeds: Some organic mulches, like pine bark and hay, may have weed seeds in it.

River Rocks

Pros

  • Low Maintenance: You almost never need to replace them.
  • Lower Cost: Because they’re longer lasting, it is generally less expensive to mulch with rocks.
  • Fire-Proof: If you live in an area with wildfires, rocks could be better since they’re nonflammable.
  • Weeds Be Gone: Rocks can keep weeds away longer.
  • Wind-Resistant: Heavy rocks are great at preventing soil erosion in windy areas.
  • Perfect for Rock and Cacti Gardens: Rocks are just right for these garden spaces!

Cons

  • Too Hot: Rocks, especially lighter ones, raise the soil temperature, leading to stressed, thirsty plants.
  • No Benefit to Plants: Rocks don’t aid plant growth or soil health.
  • Messy pH: Most trees prefer acidic soil, but rocks create alkaline soil, which can hurt trees.
  • Return of the Weeds: Wind will eventually blow soil between rocks, creating a spot for weeds to grow.
  • No Good for Pruning: Rocks can prohibit rejuvenation pruning, creating unwieldy shrubs.
  • Remove by Hand: If you want to remove stones, you must do it manually, which can be tedious!

Our Verdict

Organic mulch is much better overall for the health of your flower beds and trees. Stone, however, is better than no mulch at all if you absolutely must have rock. Still unsure of what you’d like in your landscaping? Give us a call or send an email to get our expert opinion.

LibertyLawn@gmail.com / 402.423.0061

3810 Cornhusker Hwy, Lincoln, NE 68504 / PO Box 29442. Lincoln, NE 68529

Pruning Tips for Spring

Pruning Tips for Spring

Spring is just around the corner, which means that now is a good time to start thinking about pruning your trees and shrubs. Well-maintained trees and shrubs don’t just look better, they’re also healthier. Pruning helps plants maintain their shape, encourages new growth, and helps prevent pests and diseases. We’ve got some tips in order to help you to time your pruning based on what’s right for each of your trees and shrubs.

Trees

Recent research has shown that the optimum time to prune living branches on trees is late spring and early summer. Pruning at this time helps trees to quickly seal off wounds, because tree cells are most active during the growing season. Pruning outside of this timeframe can still be accomplished with little risk to plants, and should always be done as quickly as possible to repair tree damage that occurs during a wind or ice storm. The only exception to these tips is for oak trees, which are best pruned in December, January or February, as this helps to avoid potential infection with oak wilt.

Shrubs

The correct time to prune your shrubs depends on their variety. Summer-flowering shrubs, such as spirea, potentilla, and smoke bush, should be pruned during dormancy, typically late February to March. Spring-flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, weigela, mock orange, lilacs, and viburnums, should be pruned when they are finished blooming.

Fruit Trees

Fruit tree pruning is often neglected either due to a lack of pruning skills and knowledge, or a fear that the tree will be damaged or killed by incorrect pruning. But productive fruit trees that have an abundance of high quality fruit do not just happen by chance. They are the result of good cultural practices, including proper pruning.

Most fruit tree pruning is best done during the dormant season when no leaves are on the tree. For most fruit trees, late February through March is the best time to prune. Tree species that are susceptible to winter injury, such as peach and apricot, are best pruned in late spring before growth begins. Regardless of the cultivar, do not prune any tree before January or winter injury can occur.

Fruit trees may also be safely pruned outside of their dormant period. Trees may be prune at planting, during July and early August to restrict growth, to remove water sprouts, or to remove diseased or damaged wood. Once the basic structure of your fruit tree is developed, you should avoid pruning until fruiting occurs.

We hope these tips have helped to clear up any confusion you may have had about tree and shrub pruning. If you’re ever in doubt about pruning, or would like to have a professional tackle the task for you, give us a call to set up an appointment today!

Late Winter Means it’s Time for Disease and Insect Inspections

Making sure to inspect your trees and shrubs routinely for disease and insect problems is a pivotal part of maintaining their health. While you may think that you can only check for these issues during the warmer parts of the year, late winter is the ideal time to inspect for reoccurring or new issues on your dormant plants. There are a number of different concerns facing southeast Nebraska homeowners. Read on to learn about what you need to look for.

Oystershell scale

Now is a good time to check plants for evidence of Oystershell scale insects overwintering from last season. Oystershell scale can be found on many different shrubs and trees, the most common hosts for our area being lilac, cotoneaster, and dogwood, and injure plants by sucking out their sap. Scale insects can be easy to overlook because they do not look like a typical insect, and can build up to large infestations that dry out branches before they are even noticed. As adults, they become immobile by attaching themselves to twigs and growing a protective covering over themselves. To the untrained eye, oystershell scale appears to be a part of a branch.

There are two main types of oystershell scale. One type has one generation per year, and the second type has two. Identifying which your tree is afflicted with is relatively simple. If the scale on your plant is gray or banded, it will have one generation and the eggs will hatch in late May. If the scale is brown, it will have two generations, with the first hatch in late May and a second in late July or August.

In order to manage oystershell scale, timing of treatment is very important. During winter, homeowners can scrape off the scales to prevent eggs from hatching by lightly rubbing affected branches with a plastic dish scrubbing pad. It is also important to prune out and destroy heavily infested branches during this time. Once spring hits, you can spray the tree with horticultural oil to suffocate eggs and reduce hatching before the buds on the tree expand. Be sure to check the label on your oil before spraying, as some plants are sensitive to oil sprays and should not be treated.

For a few weeks after hatching, oystershell scale insects will remain in their crawler stage. During this period you can apply a labeled insecticide sprays. Insecticides labeled for control include horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, aseptate, bifenthrin or malathion. Some sprays require reapplication in 7 to 10 days, so be sure to check your label. If you expect a second generation to hatch, you can repeat the application again in August.

Magnolia scale

If your magnolia tree had scale issues last year, it’s likely that it will require further treatment this year as well. Now is a good time to inspect for signs of continuing infestation. This type of scale insect is a little different than oystershell scale, as it does not form the same hard outer shell when attaching to the tree. Instead, magnolia scale insects secrete a softer waxy substance as protection. And because they are much larger, they are also easier to identify. Right now is a great time to apply a dormant oil to affected trees, as this will help to eliminate overwintering nymphs.

From late August through the end of September crawlers will emerge, which is when you should apply a insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Adults are largely unaffected by any treatment. For small infestations, pruning out affected branches can help remove adults before they can reproduce. Another option is to have us come and apply a soil drench insecticide which, when applied early, can help to kill crawlers.

Winter Desiccation

This winter’s cold and dry conditions could have caused some desiccation injury on your evergreens. Damage occurs when evergreens lose more moisture from their needles than what can be replaced by roots from frozen or dry soil. Plant tissue dries out, resulting in brown foliage and dieback, and is usually most severe on the side of the tree that faces the wind or a source of radiated heat.

To help prevent any further damage until spring arrives, place burlap wind screens between plants and prevailing winds or radiated heat sources, You can also apply antidessicants when temperatures are above 40º F, and water evergreens if soils are not frozen and air temperatures are above 45º F.

When spring does arrive, take care when going to prune damaged evergreen tissue, as they should never be pruned past where they have green leaf tissue. While needles may be brown, the buds on the branches may still be viable and eventually open. If the damage is not too severe and twigs are not killed, the area may eventually fill in on its own with proper watering and fertilization.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

A fairly new invasive pest to southeast Nebraska, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). A little over ½ inch in length, these bugs are shield shaped with marbled or spotted brown backs. What differentiates them from our native stink bugs is their lime green underside.

The main issue with BMSB is their frequent invasion of homes in the fall, when they are looking for places to overwinter. While they do not breed or cause structure damage, they are annoying and can cause off-putting odors in your home. If found inside, simply vacuum them up and dispose of them. Be careful to avoid putting them outside near your garden, fruit trees, or small fruit crops like grapes and raspberries. BMSB have needle-like mouths that siphon the fluids from plants, causing damage to fruits and leaves.

Spotted Lanternfly

A new invasive species to be on the lookout for is the spotted lanternfly. While it has yet to be found in Nebraska, chances are it is only a matter of time before they are here. These insects damage host plants by feeding on sap from stems, leaves, and the trunks of trees, and pose a serious risk to grape, orchard, and logging industries. Affected trees may be found with sap weeping from the wounds caused by the insect’s feeding. The sugary excrement the spotted lanternfly leaves behind may coat the host plant, later encouraging the growth of sooty mold.  Host plants have been described as giving off a fermented odor when this insect is present. It is important to familiarize yourself with what to watch for, and report possible sightings to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, or your local Extension office.

The spotted lanternfly is not a true fly or a moth, but instead a member of the bug family. Adults are 1 inch long and ½ inch wide. The forewing is gray with black spots of varying sizes and the wing tips have black spots outlined in gray. Hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black, and the abdomen is yellow with black bands. Adults, when startled, expose the bright red coloration on their hind wings. When adults are at rest, their gray, spotted color helps them blend in with their surroundings. Early instars (immature stages) are black with white spots. By the last immature stage, the 4th instar, they develop red patches in addition to the black color with white spots. This is the last immature stage before they mature into an adult.

Freshly laid spotted lanternfly egg masses appear as if coated with a white substance. As they age, the egg masses look as if they are coated with gray mud, which eventually takes on a dry/cracked appearance. Very old egg masses may look like rows of 30-50 brown seed-like structures aligned vertically in columns. Common locations for these eggs are Tree of Heavens, bricks, stone, lawn furniture, recreational vehicles, and other smooth surfaces. Egg masses laid on outdoor residential items such as those listed above may pose the greatest threat for spreading this insect via human aided movement.

Bagworm

Now if the time to inspect plants that were affected by bagworms last year. Bags can be removed until the next hatch, which happens around the middle of May. Once bags are removed, destroy the eggs by crushing them or immersing them in soapy water. As many as 500 to 1000 eggs can be contained in one bag, so removing and destroying them can help to significantly reduce this year’s bagworm population.

If you’re ever unsure about whether or not any of your plants are being affected by these issues, we are happy to come out and inspect your plants for. Simply call our office to set up an appointment that works for you.

What to do With Your Tree After Christmas

Each year, many people debate whether to purchase a live Christmas tree or an artificial one, and as eco-friendly living trends has become more and more popular, a part of that debate is whether or not purchasing a live tree means reducing the overall population of pine trees in the U.S. In fact, nearly all Christmas trees sold in the U.S. come from farms, where trees are grown like crops specifically to become a festive decoration in your home. Each spring, tree farms plant new trees to replace what was harvested. Unlike artificial trees, which can take up to 400 years to decompose in a landfill after they’ve worn out and been thrown away, real trees are biodegradable. And when the holiday season is over with, there are many ways to responsibly recycle your Christmas tree for other purposes. Here is a list of great options for you to choose from when it comes time to recycle your tree.

Mulch/Compost

One of the easiest and most popular ways to recycle Christmas trees is to mulch it, and then either use it as-is or compost it. Pine chips help soil to retain moisture, thus helping to reduce your summer watering bill. In addition, pine needles are full of nutrients that help to keep the PH of your soil at optimum levels, ensuring health and robust plants. As an added bonus, both pine mulch and compost resist compaction, which allows soil to breathe and prevent moss growth or root rot.

Benefit Local Fish

While not all areas will allow Christmas trees to be dropped in to local ponds or lakes, those that do present a great opportunity to repurpose your tree. When submerged in water, trees provide cover for fish to hide from predators. Over time, algae will grow on the tree, providing fish with a healthy food source.

Firewood

If you have a good dry spot to leave your Christmas tree in, then you have the opportunity to dry it out and use it for firewood. While pine sap poses too high of a risk of creosote build-up to be burned in indoor fireplaces, it is a great choice for outdoor fires. Pine burns hot and fast, making it a great choice for bonfires.

Fertilizer for your Garden

After you’ve had a lovely bonfire with your dried Christmas tree wood, don’t throw out the remaining ashes. Instead, gather them up and mix them into the topsoil of your garden. Wood ash provides many nutrients to plants, including potassium and lime, which helps plants thrive.

Air Fresheners

Are the needles on your Christmas tree still green? Carefully remove them from the branches, put them in paper bags or sachets, and place them around your home. As the needles dry they will fill your home with a fresh pine scent for months to come.

If none of these options are going to work for your particular needs, your best bet is to find a local tree drop off location. The City of Lincoln currently has six different locations where Christmas trees can be dropped off. The city will recycle the trees into mulch, which will be used to freshen up parks and playgrounds around the city.

So when it comes time to say goodbye to your Christmas tree, pick one of these eco-friendly recycling options, and save your tree from going to waste at the local dump!

Importance of watering your plants and lawns

If you are a homeowner with even the tiniest of yards in the back or in the front, then you are probably already aware of the fact that lawn care or lawn maintenance is no mean feat. Plants and landscape plants are much like children and require very close attention from their caretakers or they will suffer a terrible fate. One of the most important things to be included in your lawn maintenance or lawn care routine is the process of watering the plants. But while this is the most obvious and intuitive process because we are all aware that all living things on earth need water to survive it is also the most commonly misunderstood process as watering the plants is not as simple as splashing them every day. There are intricacies to this process that every lawn owner should be aware of.

While a lot of people may think that watering your plants on a hot day is what’s really important and it is but the benefits of getting that H2O on a relatively cooler day is far more than most people realize. Here are all the reasons why you should tend to your plants during those cooler temperatures.

To begin with, on hotter days the high temperatures will turn most of the water that you sprinkle onto your lawn into vapors that will rise into the air and provide little to no benefit to your lawn and hence your plants and landscape plants will require a lot more water to keep themselves growing and healthy and stabilized.

Contrary to which during the Cooler temperatures the air will lose its ability to hold extensive amounts of water vapor which means that very little water will be lost to evaporation and hence a relatively smaller amount of water will be more than enough and your plants will reap the maximum benefits that they can from the fixed amount of water as all of will be absorbed without loses in the form of vapors.

Another benefit of these phenomena relates to diseases of plants. Diseases of plants and landscape plants are generally bacterial or fungal in nature meaning they are caused by organisms known as bacteria or fungi. Both of these organisms thrive in the presence of any form of moisture, and this is just another reason to water your plants and landscape plants on a cooler day or maybe in just some cooler parts of the day. How so? During the higher temperatures most of the water tends to turn into vapors and provide no benefit to your plants and landscape plants which will lead you to use more water increasing the overall moisture in the region drastically which eventually gives life to fungi and bacteria and in turn to fungal and bacterial diseases that will damage your lawn drastically. In contrast, when temperatures are lower, there is much less water lost to evaporation, and you do not feel the need to add more and more water, which reduces the overall moisture in the region. Hence the lack of moisture in the region provides the bacteria and the fungi with a much less friendly environment to grow in ultimately inhibiting the growth of bacterial and fungal diseases.

The next benefit of watering your plants on cooler days relates to you more than your plants and landscape plants. The benefit is simple and intuitive, because of lower temperatures the total water lost into the air in the form of water vapors is reduced greatly, and much less water is wasted. On a hotter day, most of the water will escape into the environment and be completely wasted, but by watering your plants on a cooler day, you will prevent this phenomenon. So if you are concerned about saving water, as all responsible citizens of planet earth should be this is all the more reasons to water your plants on a cooler day.

If you have trees planted in your front lawn or back while tree care is different from landscape plant care, it can reap all of these benefits as well. Tree care involves proper watering techniques, especially if your tree is recently planted as during the early years a tree required maximum but also delicate attention in terms of provision of water. In such circumstances your tree care regime can benefit greatly from the fact that you can accurately measure the amount of water you are supplying to your tree which is made possible in cooler temperatures only as in warmer temperatures there are massive losses in water in the form of evaporation which makes the measurement of water provision very difficult.

All in all, in the coming days when the weather will be relatively on the cooler side your plants and landscape plants and trees will be in need of your careful attention and in this period you can provide the maximum benefit possible to your plants.

What is the Emerald Ash Borer

What is the Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire in Latin, is an exotic beetle that originated on the Asia continent. Also referred to as EBA, the beetle was first discovered in United States in the southeastern region of Michigan, in the Detroit area, during the Summer of 2002.

It is speculated that the emerald ash borer found its way into North America on wood packing material, made of ash, carried on airplanes and cargo ships that originated from the beetle’s native Asia.

The adult beetles eat the foliage of ash trees, hence its name, but cause little actual damage to the tree. However, during the beetle’s immature stage, the larvae feed aggressively on the tree’s inner bark and interrupt the ability of the tree to transport water and nutrients. This often results in bark splitting and the tree dying.

Adult beetles typically come from the previous year’s infestations, sometime in May, but can appear earlier if the weather is unseasonably warm. Females will lay their eggs shortly after emergence. Once hatched, larvae will bore into the tree, leaving visible tracks underneath the bark while feeding. Smaller trees may die off within two years of infestation with larger trees dying off within four years.

Since its discovery in Michigan, the emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees across North America. As of October 2018, the emerald ash borer has been found in 35 states as well as six Canadian provinces. The has resulted in municipalities, property owners, nurseries and forest industries suffering hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

The EBA infestation has caused U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies to mandate quarantines and impose fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs and firewood from being transferred from locations where the beetle is found.

Description
With adult EBA typically being only 1/2-inch long, the emerald ash borer is shorter than the width of a dime. However, on mass the larvae of the bright metallic-green beetle is capable of taking down trees thousands of times its size. The EBA’s eggs are approximately 1/25-inch long and are reddish-brown in color. The immature beetles are white with flat heads and distinct segmented bodies.

The Threat
Ash trees are one of the most abundant and valuable tree species in North America, with the total number of ash trees in the U.S. alone estimated at approximately seven to nine billion.

Source of the Threat
• Infested ash trees.
• Firewood.
• Ash wood products and packing material.
• Ash wood debris, including trimmings and chips.

All of these materials can spread EBA infestation even if the beetles are not visible.

Where the EBA is Found
The emerald ash borer is currently found primarily in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and parts of Canada, but is spreading rapidly. The beetle has killed or damaged over 40 million trees in the U.S. States of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin as well as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

Nebraska
The EAB has destroyed thousands of ash trees causing millions of dollars in damage in Nebraska alone and tens of millions of dollars in damage across the rest of North America. On June 6, 2016 Nebraska joined its neighboring states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri to find and infestation of the emerald ash borer. This made Nebraska the 27th U.S. State to confirm the presence of the beetle when the Nebraska Department of Agriculture found the EBA during an inspection of Omaha’s Pulaski Park. The agency also found the emerald ash borer in Lincoln and Ashland, Nebraska in August of 2018.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine of the effective areas that prohibits hardwood firewood, ash timber products, mulch, green waste material and ash nursery stock from leaving the quarantine area. If you find the emerald ash borer in Lincoln, or elsewhere in Nebraska, contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Signs of Infestation
• Thinning or wilted ash-tree crowns, possibly with yellow foliage.
• Increased woodpecker activity.
• D-shaped holes in ash trees.
• Splitting bark.
• Shoots, called “suckers,” originating from the tree’s trunk or roots that will often have above-average sized leaves.
• Tunneling tracks, in the wood, under the bark.

Treatment Options
While there is a chemical emeril ash bore treatment that serves as a control measure, there is no sure-fire cure for the spreading EBA infestation. Due to varying pesticide regulations of each state, landowners should consult their local extension office or state department of agriculture for directions.

It is not recommended that infected ash trees be chemically treated as a preventative measure, unless the trees are located over 15 miles from a confirmed infestation. As trees may only be treated with chemicals a limited number of times, waiting until you are in the quarantine area will maximize the number of times trees can be treated.

Treatment of ash trees to prevent EBA damage is done between March and mid-June. This allows the chemical treatment to be dispersed throughout the tree to most effectively kill the beetle larvae. In addition to chemical treatments, since 2007 three wasp species have been used as a biological control in several states.

Other Things You Can Do
The United States Department of Agriculture offers the following guidelines for managing EBA infestations:

• Inspect your trees and contact your state agricultural agency if you see any signs of ash borer infestation.
• Call the Ash Borer Hotline at 1-866-322-4512 or your local USDA APHIS office if you find an EAB infestation. You can find the contact information for your local offices on the USDA’s website.
• Take pictures of the insects, tree damage and make note of the area where you found the beetles.
• Don’t transport firewood from your property or move it across state lines.
• Buy and burn firewood locally.
• Buy kiln-dried firewood, if possible.
• Avoid ash firewood.
• The best preventative emeril ash bore treatment is to burn any remaining ash firewood supply before the weather warms to eliminate the spreading of EBA to live trees.
• Inform others by talking to neighbors, friends and co-workers about the emerald ash borer and what they should look for.
• Learn the point of origin and the supplier when receiving ash firewood or ash stock from a nursery.
• Learn the local and federal regulations that govern the states you may visit.
• Heed the local quarantine restrictions to avoid transporting infected ash wood or live trees.

What You Need to Know About Emerald Ash Borer Infestations in Nebraska

What You Need to Know About Emerald Ash Borer Infestations in Nebraska

If you have any ash trees on your property, there is a growing threat you need to be aware of. Nebraska is currently in the middle of an infestation that has the potential to destroy millions of trees. Being educated about emerald ash borers can help you take steps to prevent this dangerous invasive species from wreaking havoc on your property.

Emerald Ash Borers: An Overview

Emerald ash borers are an insect native to Asia that first started infesting Michigan back in 2002. These bugs are a type of small insect that is just around 13 millimeters long and only lives about a year in full, but they have caused a lot of damage.

You can identify emerald ash borers because they have a long, narrow body with two bronze-green wings and large black eyes along the head. The adults lay eggs in ash trees that hatch into milky white larvae made up of short, triangular segments. As the larvae grow, they eat the wood of the ash tree and then bore a hole out of the tree to escape once they mature.

Nebraska Confirms Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

When the presence of emerald ash borers was first discovered in the United States back in the early 2000s, the government quickly made moves to quarantine the insects. Sadly, these invasive little pests are hard to spot, and they can be transported around the states through infected ash tree products.

In 2016, emerald ash borers were spotted in Omaha, Nebraska. Since then, they have continued to spread throughout the state. With over 44 million ash trees, Nebraska is particularly vulnerable to emerald ash borers infestations. To try to prevent the spread, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has quarantined the movement of wood from Douglas, Sarpy, Cass, Washington, and Dodge Counties.

According to the Nebraska Tree Service, anyone within 15 miles of an emerald ash borer infestation needs to exercise caution. This means that everyone in the Lincoln area may need to be worried for the health of their trees. Treating a tree is usually cheaper than cutting it down, but tree owners need to act fast if they want to have time to treat the tree before the infestation worsens. On average, 70 percent of unprotected ash trees are dead within four years of an infestation starting.

How to Tell If You Have Emerald Ash Borers

The best time to treat emerald ash borers is in the early Spring and Summer, so it is important to figure out whether not you have an infestation. Here are a few tips to make things easier.

Identifying Ash Trees

Of course before you can start looking for emerald ash borers, it is helpful to see whether or not you have an ash tree in your yard. Ash trees are a family of medium large trees that sprout whitish flowers in the Spring. They have distinctive smooth or diamond patterned bark in a grey shade and a wide, branching structure. If you have an ash tree, you may notice that the tree branches and leaves grow directly opposite each other instead of alternating along the main branch. Keep in mind that emerald ash borers can threaten any type of ash, including both the deciduous and evergreen versions.

Signs of Emerald Ash Borers

Here are a few signs that one of your ash trees might be infected with borers:

  • Thinning canopies and reduced leaf growth.
  • New growth of branches along the base of the trees.
  • Damaged bark due to woodpeckers trying to eat emerald ash borer larvae.
  • D shaped exit holes in the bark that are usually around ⅛ inches in width.
  • Bark that splits vertically.
  • S-shaped tunnels beneath the bark that are packed with a fine dust.
  • White larvae or green adults on the trees.

Not all ash trees will show signs of an infestation, so even if you do not see any of these symptoms, it is important to get them inspected by a professional arborist if you live in an area with emerald ash borers.

Treatment Options for an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

When it comes to dealing with emerald ash borers, there are a few different options. The most drastic choice in emeril ash bore treatment is removing the tree altogether. This is usually only recommended if the tree is so irreparably damaged that it is dying and becoming a threat to nearby power lines, homes, or other trees.

A more affordable emeril ash bore treatment that lets you save the trees is chemical insecticides. These treatments should be done between March and mid-June to properly kill the emerald ash bore larvae. Depending on your situation and personal preference, you can pick between insecticides injected into the tree trunk, soaked into the ground around the trunk, or sprayed on the entire tree. These treatments need to be repeated to be as effective as possible, so you will need to remember to apply the treatment every year or two to keep the ash borers from coming back.

If you have ash trees in Lincoln, Nebraska, prompt treatment can save your trees before they die. At Liberty Lawn and Landscape, we have professional licensed state of Nebraska arborists who can evaluate your trees and let you know more about treatment options for your unique situation. Contact us today to schedule your free evaluation.