Garden & Landscaping Tools & Tips

You have questions and our experienced crew has answers

It is our passion to inspire and share our abundance of plant, tree & landscaping knowledge, so you can take that home and put it to action. You can always meet with our team at the garden center, send a message or call anytime.  Also, we recommend browsing these helpful resource guides for useful tools & tips straight from our expert horticulturists and arborists.

Tips for Keeping Rabbits from Your Plants

Tips for Keeping Rabbits from Your Plants

Rabbits can be frustrating in the spring. After all your hard work and money, rabbits seem to always find their way into your garden or landscaping. So, here are some ways that you can keep rabbits out of your gardens and away from your plants.

Building a small fence out of chicken wire or flexible netting is worth a shot, even if it is not the prettiest. It is recommended that the fence is at least 2 feet tall and buried 4-8" into the ground. A good rule of thumb is to use a fence that has openings no wider than one inch.

There are numerous odor repellents available... Some work well, while others do not. To spray on plants or as a barrier around the yard, we like Liquid Fence or I Must Garden. Predator urine is also very effective...and no, we don't know how it's obtained, and we don't want to know!

Rabbits typically feed in the early morning and late evening, so now is a good time to let the dog out. Animal urine is also a good deterrent.

There are no plants that are "rabbit proof." Hungry rabbits will eat almost anything, and most plants are vulnerable when they are young. However, some plants are generally avoided by rabbits.

They dislike aromatic plants, plants with prickles and spines, and plants with tough, leathery leaves.

The following plants are well worth experimenting with:

Perennials: Achillea, Aconitum, Ajuga, Alchemilla, Anemone, Aquilegia, Artemesia, Aruncus, Asarum, Astilbe, Bergenia, Brunnera, Campanula, Centranthus, Cerastium, Convallaria, Coreopsis, Corydalis, Crocosmia, Delphinium, Dicentra, Digitalis, Eupatorium, Euphorbia, Galium, Gaillardia, Geraniums, Helianthus, Helleborus, Hemerocallis, Heuchera, Hibiscus, Iberis, iris, Lamium, Lavandula, Monarda, Nepeta, Papaver, Peony, Perovskia, Persicaria, Polygonatum, Pulmonaria, Rodgersia, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Saponaria, Sedum, Sempervivum, Stachys, Teucrium, Vinca

Annuals: Agertum, Alyssum, Begonias, Cleome, Cosmos, Dahlia, Dusty Miller, Geranium, Impatiens, Heliotrope, Lobelia, Marigold,Nicotiana, Salvia, Snapdragons, Sunflower, Verbena, Zinnia

Herbs: Chives, Lemon Balm, Mints, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Shrubs: Barberry, Boxwood, Cotoneaster, Forsythia, Holly, Juniper, Lilac, Mockorange, Potentilla, Rhododendron, Spruce, Viburnum, Yew,Yucca

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

Butterfly Gardening Tips

Butterfly Gardening Tips

Butterfly gardening is the practice of planning your garden in order to attract, retain, and encourage butterfly populations. When butterflies enter a garden, they are looking for two things: nectar (the food that adult butterflies require) and host plants (the place where the female will lay her eggs and the food that caterpillars require). Both are required for a successful butterfly garden.

Plants that produce nectar: Nectar plants produce the sweet fluid that many insects, including butterflies, feed on. Butterflies appear to prefer gardens with large masses of a single color or colors that are closely related, rather than gardens with many colors mixed together. This does not imply that you must use only one color of flower; simply mass your flowers together in large groupings. Most butterflies must land to collect nectar. They favor plants with clusters of short tubular flowers, such as Lantana, or flowers with large, flat petals, such as Coneflowers. Butterflies are active from early spring to frost, so having a variety of plants in your garden that bloom throughout the season will attract them all season.

Host Plants: Because tiny caterpillars can't travel far for food, the female butterfly only lays her eggs on plants that caterpillars will eat. The majority of caterpillar species are picky about the plants they eat. Many native trees and other plants found in and around our yards serve as caterpillar host plants. There are, however, many plants that can be included in a garden that are excellent hosts. Many gardeners despise seeing plants that have been chewed on. Don't be concerned! There will be fewer butterflies if you do not provide host plants.

Design and location: Both butterflies and the plants they prefer prefer bright, sunny locations that are protected from strong winds. Look for areas in your yard that get at least six hours of sun per day; morning to mid-afternoon seems to be the best time. You can also plant separate areas throughout the landscape if your yard is not too large. Include some containers on your deck or patio as well.

Special touches: Incorporate some flat rocks into your garden. Butterflies must warm their bodies before becoming active on cool mornings. They will do this by sitting on a reflective surface, such as a flat rock, and spreading their wings to absorb the sun's warmth.

Create a "puddling" area: Butterflies frequently congregate in groups on wet sand or mud, and they appear to be eating. They certainly are. This is referred to as puddling. In your garden, make this by placing a shallow pan in the soil, filling it with coarse sand, and keeping it moist. To one gallon of sand, add one-half cup of salt, mix well, and moisten.

Don't forget about the water: Butterflies, too, require hydration. You can use a pebble-filled old saucer. Simply place some of the pebbles above the water level so they have somewhere to land.

Insecticides are lethal to butterflies and caterpillars! If a pest problem arises in your butterfly garden, try using biological controls as a first line of defense, such as ladybugs or praying mantis. These are frequently already present. If pests like aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, or spider mites become a problem, try using insecticidal soap or horticultural oil applied only to the pest-infested areas of the plant. Avoid using widely used applications.

Yes, you will have bees as well! Don't worry, you can't have one without the other. They don't care about you unless you coat yourself in honey. They are responsible for pollinating all of the flowers. They will leave you alone if you leave them alone.

Natural wildlife habitats are being destroyed as a result of residential and commercial development. We encourage the establishment of butterfly populations that return year after year by selecting specific plants for adult and larval feeding. Your efforts in managing your garden will ensure the presence of butterflies and the sharing of your personal backyard Eden with these lovely, soaring insects. Experiment with different plants and have fun! Here are some examples:

Nectar Plants

Annuals - Ageratum, Alyssum, Bidens, Calendula, Cosmos, Gomphrena, Heliotrope, Impatiens, Lantana, Marigolds, Nasturtium, Nicotiana,Penta, Petunia, Queen Anne’s Lace, Sunflower, Tithonia, Verbena, Zinna

Perennials - Achillea, Agastache, Alcea, Amorpha, Arabis, Asclepias, Aster, Baptisia, Boltonia, Buddleja, Caryopteris, Centaurea, Centranthus, Ceratostigma, Chelone, Chrysantheum, Coreopsis, Daucus, Dianthus, Digitalis, Echinacea, Echinops, Erigeron, Eupatorium, Gaillardia, Gaura, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Hemerocallis, Hesperis, Heuchera, Hibiscus, Iberis, Knautia, Lavandula, Leucanthemum, Liatris,Lupinus, Lychnis, Malva, Monarda, Nepeta, Oenothera, Paeonia, Perovskia, Phlox, Physostegia, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Saponaria, Scabiosa, Sedum, Solidago, Stokesia, Tanacetum, Verbena, Veronica

Herbs - Anise, Basil, Chives, Hyssop, Lavender, Marjoram, Mints, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Trees and Shrubs - Abelia, Blueberry, Clethra, Itea, Lilac, Magnolia, Mockorange, Pear, Peach, Plum, Redbud, Rose, Rose of Sharon,Spirea, Viburnum, Weigelia

Host Plants

Perennials - Alcea, Arabis, Asclepias, Aster, Carex, Ceratostigma, Daucus, Dianthus, Heliopsis, Lupinus, Malva, Rudbeckia, Sedum

Herbs - Anise, Dill, Fennel, Lovage, Parsley

Trees and Shrubs - Ash, Aspen, Birch, Chokecherry, Cottonwood, Elm, Hawthorn, Oak, Paw Paw, Willow

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

Tips To Create a Deer Resistant Garden in Lincoln, NE

Photo by Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash


Deer are frequently the cause of damage to a home's garden, trees, and ornamental shrubs. This damage has become more common as the deer population has increased, real estate development has increased, and the human population has shifted from cities to suburbs. The automobile appears to be their only predator!
Sure, deer are lovely to look at. They are beautiful animals, especially in your neighbor's yard. The deer are not maliciously destroying your landscape. They're just trying to stay alive. An adult deer consumes 6-10 pounds of vegetation per day.

Can you completely resolve the issue? No, not entirely. There is no plant that is "deer proof." There are numerous strategies for successfully controlling the damage caused by deer. Because other animals can cause damage, the first step is to assess the crime scene in order to identify the perpetrators. Deer tracks, which are about 3" long, are a good indicator. Bambi was most likely present if your grass has a tamped-down, swirled section. Finally, the type of damage can indicate whether or not deer are to blame. Because deer lack upper incisors, they tear their food away, leaving ripped leaves and jagged stems. Rabbits will be considerate and give you a nice, clean cut!

So, what do you do now? It is, in fact, quite simple. Remove their favorite plants (tulips, hosta, and daylilies seem to be like candy to them) and replace them with plants they dislike. They will leave if there is nothing good to eat. Having said that, deer tastes are very similar to human tastes. It varies according to location, season, species, and even individual deer. In other words, some people enjoy cauliflower while others do not.

Deer appear to avoid certain plant textures, so look for fuzzy leaves, rough or tough leaves, or leaves with a strong aroma. Any tender, succulent plant can attract deer, especially early in the season when green vegetation is scarce in their natural habitat. Although no plant can be guaranteed to be resistant to deer browsing, the following should be avoided.

Annuals: Ageratum, Begonia, Celosia, Cleome, Cosmos, Dahlia, Dusty Miller, Geranium, Heliotrope, Lantana, Lobelia, Marigolds,Nasturtium, Ornamental Peppers, Periwinkle, Petunia, Salvia, Snapdragons, Strawflower, Verbena, Zinnias

Perennials: Achillea, Aconitum, Aegopodium, Ajuga, Artesmisia, Asarum, Baptisia, Bergenia, Brunnera, Cimicifugia, Convallaria, Coreopsis, Corydalis, Dicentra, Digitalis, Echinops, Epimedium, Ferns, Gaillardia, Galium, Geranium, Helleborus, Heuchera, Iberis, Iris, Lamium, Lavandula, Liatris, Ligularia, Monarda, Myosotis, Nepeta, Ornamental Grasses, Pachysandra, Paeonia, Perovskia, Potentilla, Pulmonaria, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Stachys, Verbascum

Bulbs: Allium, Crocus, Daffodil, Fritilaria, Grape Hyacinth, Scilla

Herbs: Most are due to their strong aroma and flavor

Shrubs: Barberry, Boxwood, Caryopteris, Clethera, Cotoneaster, Crape Myrtle, Daphne, Dogwood, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Holly, Juniper,Kerria, Lilac, Mahonia, Mugo Pine, Pieris, Potentilla, Privet, Spirea, Viburnum, Weigela

Trees: Ash, Beech, Birch, Cedar, Dogwood, Ginkgo, Hawthorn, Hard Maple, Katsura, Locust, Mimosa, Pines, Smoke Tree, Sourwood, Spruce, Sweet Gum, Sycamore, Tulip Tree

Trees and shrubs are susceptible to damage in harsh winters. If there is snow cover, deer can and will strip the bark off many trees and shrubs. Wrap the trunks of trees and cover shrubs with burlap, if necessary. Also, experiment with some of the many repellant sprays available.

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Landscape

Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash


Hummingbirds are attracted to a variety of feeders with the right type and amount of food. To make your backyard more attractive to hummingbirds, you can place several different types of feeders in various spots around your yard.

Hummingbird feeders come in all shapes and sizes, including hanging, window-mounted, and even upside-down versions. No matter which type you choose, make sure to fill it with nectar or a sugar-water solution (4 parts water to 1 part sugar).

Do NOT Use Food Coloring of Any Kind... and NEVER Use Honey!

Additionally, adding colorful flowers and plants to your yard can help to attract hummingbirds. To do this, you should look for flowers with bright red or orange petals, as well as plants like azaleas and hibiscus which produce the nectar that hummingbirds love. Planting native species is also a great way to bring in local hummingbird populations, as they are already adapted to the area.

To give them a place to rest, hang a hummingbird feeder near shrubs or trees and provide plenty of perching spots for them to use. Placing your feeder in a sheltered spot like an overhang or an alcove will also help keep it out of direct sunlight and protect the nectar from overheating.

Additionally, you can also hang sparkly objects like ribbons or jewelry near your feeder to attract hummingbirds’ curiosity.

Finally, be sure to keep the nectar fresh and clean – hummingbirds are very particular about their food! Change nectar out weekly! Do not worry about leaving your feeders out in fall. They migrate on changing day length, not on availability of food.

With these simple steps, you'll soon be hearing the pleasant hum of hummingbirds!

Hummingbirds' Favorite Floral Arrangements:

Annuals: Bougainvillea, Canna, Cardinal Climber, Cigar Plant, Cleome, Fuchsia, Impatiens, Lantana, Morning Glory, Nicotiana, Petunia,Salvia, Scarlet Runner Beans

Perennials: Agastache, Alcea, Aquilegia, Asclepias, Clematis, Delphinium, Digitalis, Hemerocallis, Huechera, Hibiscus, Kniphofia, Lavandula, Lobelia, Manarda, Nepeta, Penstemon, Phlox, Physostegia, Salvia, Trumpet Vine, Veronica

Shrubs: Abelia, Azalea, Buckeye, Buddleia, Clethra, Cotoneaster, Crape Myrtle, Lilac, Mimosa, Quince, Rose of Sharon, Weigela

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

Quick List of Common Garden Pests & How to Control Them


When you spend so much time, money and effort on creating your perfect outdoor oasis, you want to invite your friends and family over to show off the accomplishment and create a fun environment. However some common Nebraska pests like to invite themselves and overstay their welcome. Our plant and landscaping experts want to provide this guide as a quick reference to identifying these intruders so that you can get us over to analyze, treat and manage the issues before these pests cause serious damage. If you feel you have any of the following hanging around your property, please contact our landscaping pros today by clicking this link

Emerald Ash Borer

Treating an emerald ash borer infestation can be done through a variety of methods. One of the most effective treatments is to use chemical insecticides, which are injected directly into the trunk of the tree or applied as a soil drench around its base. Insecticidal sprays can also be used on the foliage, although this method is not as effective. Biological insecticides, such as bacterial products, can also be used to control emerald ash borer populations, although their effectiveness may vary. Physical removal of infested trees is another possible treatment strategy; however, this should only be done by a certified arborist or other qualified professional. Finally, preventive measures like using resistant varieties of ash trees or implementing a regular program of monitoring for emerald ash borer infestations can help to reduce the need for treatment. With early detection and proper management, it is possible to protect ash trees from emerald ash borer attack.

It is also important to consider non-chemical treatments when controlling emerald ash borer. Biological control measures can be effective in containing the spread of emerald ash borer populations, and some communities have been successful in implementing integrated pest management programs that combine chemical treatments with other non-chemical strategies. Physical barriers like tree banding and/or trunk injections are also becoming increasingly popular as methods for managing emerald ash borer infestations.

Finally, it is important to remember that the best defense against emerald ash borer infestations is prevention. Early detection and removal of infected trees can help stop the spread of emerald ash borer before it becomes a serious problem in an area. It is also helpful to regularly inspect local areas for signs or symptoms of emerald ash borer infestations, and to practice proper sanitation methods that reduce the risk of introducing emerald ash borer larvae into new areas. Removing newly fallen trees or branches, avoiding movement of firewood from one location to another, and properly disposing of infected wood are all important steps toward preventing the spread of emerald ash borers.

In addition to prevention, there are several control methods used to treat emerald ash borer infestations. Chemical insecticides are commonly used and can provide protection for up to two years when properly applied. Biological control agents such as the parasitoid wasp, Spathius agrili, have also been released in some areas. This wasp lays its eggs inside emerald ash borer larvae, thus preventing them from maturing and laying their own eggs. Other methods of control include trunk injections, soil drenching treatments, and cutting down infected trees to prevent the spread of infestations.

No matter which method of control is chosen, it is important for homeowners to monitor the ash tree’s health and condition regularly. This includes inspecting for signs of emerald ash borer activity, such as woodpecker damage, bark splitting, galleries within the bark, and D-shaped exit holes in trees. If any of these signs are noticed, homeowners should take immediate action to prevent further infestation and spread of the emerald ash borer. In addition to preventive or control methods, homeowners should also consider planting a diverse array of trees in their yards. This will help reduce the risk of an entire tree population being affected by one pest species, such as the emerald ash borer. Further, it is important to properly maintain trees by providing appropriate pruning, mulching and fertilization.

If an infestation is found, homeowners should contact a professional tree care company or certified arborist for help in developing a treatment plan.

Bag Worms

Bagworms can be controlled manually, chemically or biologically. Manual control involves handpicking the bags from plants and destroying them by crushing or burning. This technique is effective in controlling small infestations but may not be practical for large areas of infestation.

Chemical control involves the use of insecticides such as permethrin and spinosad, which should be applied when the larvae are actively feeding. The insecticides must be applied correctly and may need to be repeated several times for effective control. Biological control involves the introduction of natural enemies such as wasps, nematodes and fungi, which attack bagworms in their larval stage. These enemies can help reduce the bagworm population, but may not be effective in heavily infested areas. Cultural control involves removing potential breeding sites and pruning out infested branches or leaves to reduce the number of bagworms in an area. Pruning should be done slowly and methodically, as it may cause the worms to disperse into neighboring plants.

The best way to control bagworms is a combination of all these methods. Early detection and treatment can help reduce their numbers and prevent further damage. It is important to remember that even with the number of larvae present. It is important to dispose of all fallen foliage carefully as this is where many larvae overwinter.

If you are using pesticides be sure to follow all label directions and use protective gear such as gloves and a face mask when handling insecticides. Lastly, it is important to monitor the plants in your area for any signs of bagworm infestation so that you can take appropriate action. By taking these steps, you can help keep your plants healthy and free of bagworms.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles are a destructive species of insect that can cause significant damage to plants and gardens. They were introduced from Japan to the United States in 1916, probably hidden in shipments of nursery stock. These beetles feed on over 300 varieties of plants and lay eggs in soil at the base of the host plant. The larvae then hatch, burrow into the soil and feed on plant roots for about 10 months before emerging as adults.

There are several different methods to help get rid of Japanese Beetles in your garden or lawn. Traps work by releasing a scent that attracts beetles, who enter a bag-like container with an exit barrier that they can’t escape from but sometimes can this method can be too effective in that they attract even more Japanese Beetles. Additionally, chemical insecticides can be used to target adult beetles as they feed on foliage or flowers. These insecticides are usually applied to the plants as a spray and are most effective in controlling small populations of Japanese Beetles.

It is important to note that when applying any kind of pesticide, appropriate safety precautions should be taken. Some of the most well-known insecticides used to control Japanese Beetles are carbaryl, permethrin, and imidacloprid. Carbaryl is a broad-spectrum insecticide that targets contact and ingestion by insects. It is often found in garden centers as “Sevin” brand insecticide.

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid that acts as an insecticide, repellent and growth regulator. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid, meaning it works by disrupting the nervous system of insects. Neonicotinoids are effective against chewing and sucking insects.

When applying any kind of pesticide, it is important to read and follow the labeled directions carefully. This includes the type of pest, amount of product to be applied, when to apply, and protective clothing that should be worn. Application rate is just as important as timing; applying too much can result in over-treatment or damage to plants. In addition, it is also important to remember not to treat areas near ponds, streams, or other water sources.

It is best to apply an insecticide early in the season before Japanese beetles lay their eggs and larvae begin to feed on plants. This will help reduce their population before they cause large-scale damage. If a severe infestation has already occurred, then multiple applications may be necessary

Article Help Courtesy of UNL- Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Planting & Soil Tips 101: Beginners Guide to Growing the Best Garden

Photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash


(It ALL Starts in the Dirt!!)

Fertilizing Trees & Shrubs

Fertilizer is frequently applied to shade and ornamental trees and shrubs. Fertilization can result in faster growth, faster recovery from injury, pruning, or pest problems, better health, and more vibrant foliage color. Trees grown in modified urban soils typically benefit more than those grown in good agricultural soils; therefore, if you live in a developed area, a fertilizer program for your trees is likely to pay big dividends.

Fertilizers are most effective when applied during the dormant season (usually November through April). The following best time is in the spring and early summer (May through July). Fertilize only between July and November.

In their first growing season, newly planted trees are not routinely fertilized. An exception is the use of a low-analysis starter solution. After the first year, granular fertilizer can be easily applied through holes distributed throughout the root zone. The holes can be made with a soil auger, punch bar, soil probe, or large drill bit. A 1.5-2.5" diameter hole is ideal.

The drip line should be the starting point for the first row of holes. The holes should be 10-12" deep, 2' apart, and slanted slightly toward the tree trunk. The 2 foot row spacing should be maintained in subsequent rows. No holes should be dug closer to the trunk than 18-24" apart. If you hit a root while digging, remove the bit and dig to one side or the other.

Fertilizer rates are determined by measuring the diameter of the tree at 4.5' above ground. To calculate the correct amount of fertilizer, use the formulas below.

For trees with a trunk diameter of 6" or less - Per inch of trunk diameter, apply 1-2 pounds of 10-6-4, 10-20-0, 12-12-12, 6-10-4, or a similar low analysis fertilizer. (A 4" diameter tree, for example, will require 4-8 lbs. of 10-6-4 fertilizer.) Any complete fertilizer with a nitrogen content of 6-12% is acceptable. High levels of phosphorus and potassium are not required.

For trees larger than 6" in diameter - Per inch of trunk diameter, apply 3 pounds of 10-6-4 or a similar low analysis fertilizer. (For instance, an 8" diameter tree will require 24 lbs.

Distribute the required amount of fertilizer evenly among the holes, not exceeding 14-1/2 cup in each. Drill more holes if you have extra fertilizer. Fill the holes with water until they are completely full. After that, the holes can be filled with soil or a mixture of soil, sand, and peat moss.

Fertilizing pine, red cedar, spruce, and fir trees should be done sparingly. Unless the soil is too wet, these trees thrive in a wide range of Kansas soils. Even in poor soil conditions, adapted pine varieties and red cedar can be expected to thrive. If evergreen trees are fertilized, the recommended rate for deciduous shade and ornamental trees should not be exceeded.

Chemical fertilizers are rarely required for flowering or evergreen shrubs. Typically, these plants grow faster and larger than desired.

Additional soil nutrients will only exacerbate the situation. If soil tests or foliage-growth symptoms indicate that established shrubs require additional soil nutrients, apply up to 12 pounds of a low analysis fertilizer per foot of height or spread, whichever is greater.

A 6 foot wide spreading juniper, for example, may require up to 3 pounds of fertilizer, whereas a 4 foot high flowering shrub may require up to 2 pounds of fertilizer.

Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plant, covering the area beneath the branches, and then incorporate it into the soil. Water thoroughly afterwards. The fertilizer application schedule is the same as it is for shade and ornamental trees.

Water soluble fertilizers injected into the soil are an excellent way to fertilize trees. Most "injectors" attach to the garden hose and are simple to operate. Unlike dry fertilizers, their use does not necessitate the drilling of holes. There are also liquid "root feeders" for sale. Follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly.

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash


What exactly is Myke?

Myke is a beneficial soil   that attaches to plants and works to build a larger, more efficient root system, assisting the plant in finding more moisture and nutrients in the soil.

Why use it?

By applying the recommended amount of Myke when planting, we can extend our current one-year nursery warranty to five years. Warranty will be honored with a store credit equal to 12 the item's purchase price. Myke's name must appear on the plant's sales receipt.

Recommended amounts of Myke to use for certain sizes and products:

Trees and Shrubs

6-7” Container ½ Cup

8-10” Container 1 Cup

12-15” Container 2 Cups


1 Tbsp per bulb


6” Pot 3 Tbsp

8” Pot ¼ Cup

12” Pot ½ Cup


Less than 4” Hole 1 Tbsp

4” Hole 2 Tbsp

8” Hole ¼ Cup

12” Hole ½ Cup


Because the soil in our area is so densely packed with clay, it is best to follow these planting and watering guidelines:

1. Dig a hole that is at least 6-8 inches wider and slightly deeper than the container or root ball.

2. Fill the hole with enough soil amendments* so that when the tree is placed in the hole, the soil level in the pot or the top of the root ball is an inch or more above ground level. The soil should then be mounded and packed around the root ball. When planting burlap-wrapped trees, make sure to cut the twine and pull the burlap back into the hole.

Combine the following suggested changes:
-half of the dirt from the hole
-1/2 compost, for example, Cotton Boll Compost or Nature's Blend

3. Root Stimulator is recommended once a month from April to October, during the first two growing seasons. Use 1 gallon per 1 to 3 gallon plants, more for larger plants and trees.

4. Using a hose, trickle water around the plant's base. The stream should be the width of a pencil.

Water small plants (one gallon size) for 30 to 45 minutes. Trees with large root balls require one to two hours of watering.
If one inch of rain does not fall each week, water regularly. A deep soak like the one described above once every 5-10 days (depending on the weather) should suffice. During the winter months, most plants require watering once a month on a warm day.

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash


Preparing Soil

The key to growing plants that thrive is to improve the soil. We've all heard the saying "a $50 hole for a $5 plant," but the more you work the beds now, the better off you'll be later. You can't help but grow great, healthy plants if your soil is good!

For the purchase of new beds. We recommend using topsoil and compost in a 1:1 ratio. Cotton Boll is an excellent compost for our area because it incorporates air and microbes into the soil, which aids in the breakdown of clay soils.


The key to success is to water deeply and less frequently. Deep watering encourages healthy root growth, allowing plants to thrive even in drought conditions. Shallow watering on a regular basis can result in weak and leggy growth that is more susceptible to water stress, insects, and diseases. During the growing season, all trees and shrubs require 1 inch of water per week. For large trees and shrubs, a slow soak is best - a soaker ring or hose at the base works well. For large beds, a sprinkler works well; just make sure you're watering enough. A rain gauge in the bed is the best way to determine how long to leave the sprinkler on.


Mulch should truly be your garden's best friend. It not only looks nice, but proper mulching cools roots, prevents weeds, and retains moisture. There are many different types of mulching materials; each has advantages in different situations, but they all work the same way. The key to proper mulching is depth - 2 inches is required to block out the sunlight. Mulching too close to the base of small trees, shrubs, and large perennials can trap moisture and cause rotting. As an additional weed barrier, paper can be laid down beneath a thick layer of mulch, but avoid using plastic sheeting or weed mat.


A regular feeding schedule is the difference between a good plant and a great plant, regardless of the plant. Proper fertilization promotes lush, vigorous growth by strengthening the root system and increasing fruit and flower production. Water soluble fertilizers (the blue stuff) work quickly but quickly leach out. These are the best fertilizers for indoor plants. Slow release fertilizers, either synthetic or organic granular type foods, are our preferred option for outdoor potted plants, trees, shrubs, and perennials. Plant health is more than just the three major nutrients. Here are a few products used behind the scenes to achieve award-winning results.

Soil Acidifier Fertilome: This product, which contains zinc, sulfur, magnesium, copper, and iron, works wonders on potted annuals and other acid-loving plants.

Myke: Myke is a beneficial soil fungus that attaches to the roots of plants and travels in search of food, dragging the roots along with it. Myke significantly boosts root growth, reduces transplant shock, and reduces the effects of environmental stress.

Make sure to come meet with our professionals at Landmark!

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

Composting Tips to a Better Garden

Photo by Julietta Watson on Unsplash

Composting Tips to a Better Garden

Composting is a natural process that converts organic matter into nutrient-rich soil known as compost. It is the process of breaking down organic materials, such as kitchen scraps and yard waste, by mixing them together with oxygen to create rich compost that can be used in gardens or farms for plant nutrition and to improve soil texture. Composting helps to reduce waste and conserve resources, as it diverts materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or incinerators. Composting can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as the decomposition of organic matter produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Finally, composting also helps to create rich soil that improves plant health and yields by increasing water retention, improving the soil's ability to absorb nutrients, and providing a healthier habitat for beneficial microorganisms. With composting, gardeners and farmers can improve the health of their soils without relying on synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.  Composting can be done at home or in community gardens, making it an accessible way to reduce the environmental impact of organic waste. It can also be beneficial for commercial-scale operations, as it reduces the amount of waste that needs to be transported offsite. Composting is a simple, effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and help create healthy, fertile soil.

Composting is a process of breaking down organic matter like food scraps and yard waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. This process of decay occurs naturally, but it can be sped up with the help of special composting techniques and tools. Composting breaks down organic matter through a combination of bacterial and fungal activity. The end result is an earthy mixture that can be used to fertilize plants or enrich the soil for gardening.

Composting has numerous environmental benefits. It reduces the amount of waste that would otherwise be sent to landfills and incinerators, where it can release harmful pollutants into the air or water supply. Composting also helps conserve resources by reducing the need for chemical fertilizers, which can be expensive and taxing on the environment. Additionally, the composting process captures and stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing its concentration in the air.

Composting is relatively simple and can be done on both a small and large scale. For individuals or households, compost piles or compost bins can be set up in a backyard or garage. Composting can also take place on a larger, commercial scale. This kind of composting involves collecting organic material from the community and using specialized equipment to speed up the decomposition process. Once the compost is ready, it can be used as fertilizer for gardens and farms.

What can I compost?

Browns = High Carbon

  • Ashes, wood
  • Bark
  • Shredded cardboard
  • Corn stalks
  • Fruit waste
  • Leaves
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Peanut shells
  • Pine needles
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded stems and twigs
  • Vegetable stalks

Greens = High Nitrogen

  • Alfalfa
  • Algae
  • Clover
  • Coffee grounds
  • Food waste
  • garden waste
  • Grass clippings
  • used Hops
  • Manure
  • Seaweed
  • Vegetable scraps

What not to compost:

Meats, fats, grease, oils, bones, diseased plants (never compost roses), colored paper, ashes (coal or charcoal), cat or dog waste, toxic materials, or inorganic materials

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

Helpful Tips to Keep your Lawn Green

Helpful Tips to Keep your Lawn Green

Water-Saving Techniques: Educating yourself on water-saving technologies and strategies for your own lawn or landscape will help conserve our natural resources while also saving you money. If you have an irrigation system, having it inspected by a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor will ensure maximum efficiency. More information is available on the Irrigation Association's website at www.irrigation.org. Knowing the different environmental and plant zones in your landscape will aid in providing proper water/usage requirements. Following the guidelines in the Right Plant/Right Place section will assist you in selecting and establishing plants that are suited to your region and yard. Plants that have been adapted will survive in your landscape with minimal inputs and supplemental irrigation, and they may even exist solely on rainfall.

Water deeply and sparingly: The key concept for all plant irrigation is "deeply and infrequently." This concept implies that you should irrigate with enough water today to replenish the moisture in the soil and then wait as many days as possible before irrigating again. The depth and frequency will be determined by the type of soil, slope, and environmental conditions. Nice black, loose, and loamy soils can hold more water and do not require as much irrigation as sandy or clay soils.

As the weather changes, so will the frequency. The intervals between irrigation events will be longer in the spring and fall, but shorter in the summer. Allowing it to dry between rain and irrigation events causes the roots to grow deeper, giving the plant a better chance of survival. If you water too frequently, the roots will remain short and in the top few inches of soil, making them easily stressed when temperatures rise and rain frequency decreases.

Cycle and soak: It can be difficult to apply the required amount of water all at once in heavy clay soils. For example, the area may require the sprinkler system to run for 45 minutes to achieve the desired amount of water, but after 15 minutes, the water begins to puddle and run off into the street. In this case, the soak-and-cycle method should be used. Using the soak-cycle approach, one would irrigate for 15 minutes, then wait 30-90 minutes for the water to soak into the soil, then irrigate for another 15 minutes, wait 30-90 minutes, and then apply the final 15 minutes.

Try not to water every day. Plant roots require air to breathe, and if the area is irrigated too frequently, the soil will become saturated, causing the plant roots to suffocate. Furthermore, overwatering keeps the soil surface and plant foliage wet, which exacerbates disease, insect, and weed problems.

Irrigate first thing in the morning: Irrigation is most effective early in the morning, just before dawn. Irrigating early in the morning will help maintain plant health while maximizing irrigation efficiency. If you water your plants in the afternoon or evening, the foliage will be more likely to stay moist all night until mid-morning the next day. Most fungal organisms require moisture to thrive and cause harm to our plants. The foliage is only wet for a few hours if water is applied only in the early morning.

Irrigating early in the morning maximizes irrigation efficiency by ensuring that the majority of the water reaches the intended plants and is not wasted. The wind is usually at its calmest just before sunrise. Temperatures are usually at their lowest near dawn. Irrigating during windy or hot weather causes more water to be blown offsite and/or evaporated before it reaches the plant. Furthermore, before the rest of the neighborhood wakes up, city water pressures are usually at their highest. Irrigating at this time will ensure that your system operates at peak efficiency.

Keep an eye on the weather: It is critical to use a rain gauge to adjust your irrigation so you know when and how much to water your lawn and garden. As a starting point, most lawns and gardens require 1 inch of water per week on average.

Consider installing a "Smart" irrigation controller if you have an in-ground irrigation system or plan to install one soon. Smart controllers gather environmental data from your yard to determine when and how much soil moisture, sunlight, rainfall, evapotranspiration, and wind speed occur. Installing and utilizing Smart irrigation controllers will ensure a healthy landscape while reducing water consumption by 20-40% per year.

Install a rain-shut-off sensor if you have an in-ground automatic irrigation system. This is a simple and low-cost device that turns off your irrigation system when it rains. Save your water and temporarily turn off the irrigation system while Mother Nature supplies the moisture. Installing a rain-shut-off sensor will lower your water bill and conserve water.

Automatic Timers for Hose-Bibs: Purchase and install hose-bib automatic timers if you use a hose to irrigate your lawn or gardens. These are mechanical or battery-powered devices that can be screwed onto your house's spigot to automatically control when and how long the water runs. These devices can be as simple as a 'egg-timer' dial, in which you turn on the water and turn the dial to the desired length of time before walking away. The water will be turned off at the specified time. More sophisticated battery-powered timers can be used to turn on and off the water at predetermined times of day.

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

Preparing Soil for Seeding Your New Yard

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Preparing Your Soil for Seeding


  • Kill weeds: During the summer, this is a continuous process. Stop using weed killers 4 weeks before planting or seeding to avoid interfering with germination
  • Obtain a Soil Test: Most extension offices will test your soil and inform you of any problems or deficiencies in your yard. Have your soil tested every three years. DO NOT ADD ANYTHING TO YOUR YARD, INCLUDING LIME, WITHOUT FIRST CONSIDERING A SOIL TEST.
  • Measure the Area: You won't know how much seed to buy unless you know how much ground you're covering.
  • Take note of the sunlight: The amount of sunlight you receive will influence the type of seed you should buy and plant.
  • Spray Earth-Right: Earth-Right helps to aerate and loosen compacted soil.


  • Typically, September is the best month for seeding. The air temperature is cool, but the soil temperature remains warm, ensuring good germination. After September, you can still seed, but you never know when the weather will change. Also, if you're seeding under trees, you'll want to get the grass established before the leaves fall.
  • Make the soil ready for seeding.
  • Mow the lawn and collect the clippings.
  • Remove dead grass by verticutting or raking. It is critical that the seed comes into contact with the soil. Verticut machines cut thin grooves in the soil to lift thatch and debris, which is then raked or mowed and bagged. For best results, go over the turf in two directions. The lawn should be seeded.
  • Install grass seed and a seed starter fertilizer, then top dress with fine compost, strawnet, or topsoil.
  • Water, water, and more water! Once the seed is wet, it is activated - IT CANNOT DRY OUT!
  • Water less frequently but for a longer period of time after the seed has germinated. Deep, thorough soakings promote root development.
  • Mow as soon as the new grass requires it and apply three applications of Winterizer.
  • The best time to feed your lawn is at the end of September, October, and November, and K-State recommends three feedings. Fall feeding promotes more spreading root growth with less top growth to mow.
  • It may take several years to get your yard to look the way you want it to. Make the best of what you have. If you only have time or resources for the front yard, do it right and work on the back yard the next year.


  • Bluegrass: 1# per M overseeding 2# per M bare soil
  • Fescue: 5# per M overseeding 10# per M bare soil
  • Fescue/Blue Mix: 5# per M overseeding 10# per M bare soil
  • Sow the seed with a Rotary or Drop Spreader for an even application.

Article Help Courtesy of Family Tree Nursery

Monthly Landscaping & Yard Care Calendar


  • Mulch perennials if no snow cover and not already mulched.
  • Check trees for wind damage and frost cracking.
  • Make sure you are using de-icers that are plant safe.
  • Look for ideas for next season and start planning for your landscaping projects.
  • Water houseplants
  • Look for spots that need more winter interest in your landscape.
  • Depending on snow fall, & frozen ground temperatures, check if you can water trees if abnormally dry season


  • Prune dormant trees, shrubs, grapes, and berries only if necessary. 
  • Getting rid of everything that is dead, dying, sick, or broken is the first stage in pruning plants and shrubs, followed by cleaning up the rest. Look for suckers, branches that are growing parallel to or too close to one another, and branches that cross or rub against one another.  Cut side branches close to the main stem if you're removing them. If the surviving branch is left too long, disease and insect infestation might develop in the cut region.
  • When you prune, keep in mind that you're leaving wounds on your plant that will need to heal, which is why we recommend not pruning more than 10-25% of your plant, tree, or shrub at a time.
  • Summer-flowering deciduous shrubs - These are shrubs that bloom on new growth.
  • Random-branching conifer trees and shrubs
  • Deciduous perennial vines - These types of vines bloom on new growth.
  • Inspect house plants for insect issues.
  • Start planting seeds that will benefit from an early start.
  • Beat the rush! Call Landmark to set up a site visit & consultation with one of our expert designers.


  • Apply dormant spray to fruit trees, lilac, and flowering trees.
  • Start planning gardens and containers for the approaching growing season.
  • Keep snow and mulch on beds to protect tender new growth from freezing night temperatures.
  • Beat the rush! Call now to set up a site visit with your designer.


  • Clean and aerate lawn.
  • Apply pre-emergent in mid to late April (crabgrass and some broadleaf weeds).
  • Slowly uncover roses, perennials, and strawberries.
  • Apply preen around new trees, bushes, roses, and perennials.
  • Fertilize evergreens.
  • Time for spraying for borers and pine diseases.
  • Begin planting trees, shrubs, perennials, flowers and vines once soil can be worked 
  • Re-mulch beds to prevent weeds and soil drying out.
  • Seed new lawn areas or repair bare spots.
  • Fertilize woody plants such as shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Trim hedges and summer blooming shrubs before new growth emerges.
  • Plant cool season annuals and vegetables.
  • Divide and replant summer blooming perennials.
  • Once snow has melted and temps start to rise cut back old perennials.


  • Apply post- emergent herbicide to lawn (broadleaf weeds).
  • Plant annuals and gardens.
  • Prune junipers, yews, flowering shrubs after flowering.
  • Start fruit tree spray schedule.
  • Start fungicide spray on roses.
  • Manage bagworms.
  • Prune spring blooming shrubs immediately after blooming.
  • Prune Maples.
  • Overseed lawns.
  • Remove excess debris that collect over time.
  • If you haven’t yet fertilize woody plants like trees with slow release fertilizer. 
  • Plant spring bulbs and tubers.
  • Transplant any perennials.
  • Install new beds and amend soil.


  • Pinch back mums and annuals.
  • Apply Fungicides (Scotts Disease Control or Bayleton) for fusarium prevention in lawn (last week of June or the first week of July).
  • Water lawns deeply 1” per week.
  • Fertilize annuals.
  • Watch for insects in roses, flowers, and vegetables. Use sprays appropriate for insects.
  • Plant cold sensitive plants pumpkins, cucumbers, sweet potato ect…
  • Continue regular watering for newly planted material and supplement watering as needed for established plantings.
  • Deadhead flowers.
  • Weed regularly to keep on top of them.
  • Continue pruning as needed.
  • Trim hedge plants to shape as needed. 
  • Prune most evergreens mid- June.
  • Re-Mulch any beds that still need it.
  • Treat black spot in roses.


  • DON’T apply Nitrogen to lawns (cause diseases).
  • Watch for grub damage.
  • Water new plantings if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Apply insecticide mid-July for white grab prevention.
  • Continue to deadhead plants.
  • Bring outdoors in! Cut flowers that can be enjoyed indoors.
  • Continue to weed your beds.
  • Continue to water plants as they get established.
  • Contact a Landmark Landscaping designer for fall projects.


  • Water new plantings if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Late August: divide iris, peonies, and fall bulbs.
  • Insect control needed in roses, flowers, and vegetables.
  • Reduce fertilizer on perennials, shrubs, and trees. This allows them to prepare for dormancy.
  • Divide spring blooming perennials.
  • This is the best time of the year to seed grasses.
  • Move indoor plant to shadier locations if outdoors.
  • Check for insects on plants as you move them indoors.
  • Continue regular watering of perennials, shrubs, and trees planted this growing season.
  • Don’t prune plants that are susceptible to Rust.
  • Show off you landscape and share picture to your Facebook page.
  • Continue your harvest of fruit, vegetables, or flowers.
  • Needle drop on evergreens will begin and go through October.
  • Plan for plantings of spring blooming bulbs.
  • Continue to deadhead to encourage blooming.


  • Fall grass seeding time continued
  • Spray 2, 4-D for dandelions.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, peonies, and iris.
  • Plant Fall bulbs for spring bloom.
  • Dig frost- tender bulbs after a hard frost.
  • Relace tired annuals with fall planter arrangements. 
  • Determine landscape areas lacking color.
  • Don’t forget to continue watering and weeding.


  • Complete fall bulb plantings.
  • Divide Peonies.
  • Amend soil so it is ready for spring.
  • Water until the ground freezes.
  • Apply winter mulch to keep everything protected.
  • Rake leaves to minimize lawn disease.
  • Remove dead annuals and get ready to replace with winter arrangements.


  • Remember to water if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Re-wrap tender tree trucks to protect from rabbit damage and sun scald.
  • Mulch Roses 4-6” deep.
  • Clean and put away tools for next year.
  • Remove garden debris to have ready for spring.
  • Continue to water until ground is frozen.
  • Begin dormant pruning of ornamentals, fruit trees, oaks, and elms.
  • Install winter container designs.


  • Mulch roses and perennials, cut back only far enough to prevent wind damage.
  • Water if insufficient moisture and ground is not frozen
  • Make sure as the snow gets higher that the trees guards are high enough to protect from pest damage.
  • Gently remove heavy snow loads off branches.
  • Clean indoor house plants.

How to Care for New Plantings and Trees in Nebraska


This is the most crucial part when you have planted a tree, shrub, or perennial. The question of how much water needs to be applied needs to be addressed. The amount of water needed depends on the plant you have and the time of year it is planted. Spring plantings where temperatures are cooler and rains more plentiful require less than summer plantings when temps are hotter and rains less frequently.  Fall plantings are similar to spring in temperatures with the potential for fewer rains.  The volume of foliage (leaves) will influence water needs as well. Example: A tree will need more water than a small perennial.  Most newly installed plants require at least an inch of either rainfall or supplemental water each week.  Weather conditions affect the rate of water consumption of plants as well. Hot, windy, summer days dry out plants quicker than calm, cooler, shady days. It takes roughly 8 weeks for a plant’s roots to reestablish in the soil. Once they start to develop new growth that is a good sign that they are rooting in.  Back off watering after this occurs but continue to monitor them. This is the golden rule for new plantings, water deeply but infrequently. Light, infrequent watering’s encouraging shallow root growth, whereas infrequent deep watering’s encourage deep root growth.  Remember roots seek out areas where the moisture resides. Correct watering methods will encourage your new plants to develop robust deep root systems and increase their drought tolerance. Talk to our wonderful staff if you have additional questions as to your plant’s needs.


Trees need water to survive.  The small moisture-absorbing roots will get damaged during planting, resulting in transplant stress. Keep in mind, newly planted trees need to be kept moist but not to the point of being saturated. They will need to be monitored weekly to ensure the root ball does not dry out. The outer band of the root ball will need to be watered to encourage root growth out into the existing soil.  Some sites may have been compacted from construction leading to poorly drained soils.  In these situations, trees should not exceed 1 inch of water per week. If the tree gets more water than this, it will get over watered. A good rule of thumb is to water no more than 2-3 times a week. As an easy gage for watering, we like to say a minimum of 5 gallons per week on potted trees (15-gallon pot size or smaller) and a minimum of 10 gallons on larger balled and burlaped trees (3” to 1.5” caliper in size). Supplemental water may not be required during the rainy seasons.  However, it will need to be increased in the summertime i.e. June, July, and August; they most likely will need more than 1 inch of water to establish. Repeat this routine throughout the growing season. The simplest way to check if your tree needs water is to pull the mulch back from the trunk and pick up a portion of the soil. Compress the soil and make a ball.  If the soil is very sticky, it is too wet and will have to dry out for a few days. If the soil is dry, it will not form a ball. The correct amount of moisture allows for a ball that is not sticky. When you are ready to water, there are a few ways you can do so:  Option A: Water with a garden hose on trickle for 30 minutes.  Option B:  fill 5-gallon buckets as described above.  Option C: Fill up 20-gallon self-watering bag which is available for purchase at the garden center.

The leading cause of death in trees is overwatering. This occurs most often in irrigated lawns with automatic sprinklers. Be aware that your turf requires more water than the tree itself.  So that is why you cannot water your lawn every day. Back the timer off to no more than 2-3 times a week. Going into winter it is wise to give your new trees a deep watering. Trees should go dormant with a moist root ball to protect the root system through the winter.


Perennials and shrubs will require less water than trees do. New plants need to be watered a minimum of twice a week or every four to seven days. Be sure to allow for them to dry out a little between watering. But be careful to water accordingly on hot days. The amount of water varies on the type of plant you have. Example: Hydrangeas will take a lot more water compared to a drought-tolerant sedum.  Large leaves dry out quicker than small leaves. Plants with leaves tend to dry out quicker than evergreens with needles. Once your plants have made it through the first year you can reduce the amount of supplemental water you give them. Continue to monitor your plants, severe temperatures, and or droughts that can place even established plants under undue stress.