August Landscape Notes
John Fech, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator

Image of Shrub RosesAt this point in the acreage landscaping season, reflection on the developments of the year and a look forward to the fall is called for. Many facets should be considered, including the following.

SUN/SHADE: To determine the right plant for the right place, choose shade loving plants for areas that receive less than 2 hours of direct sun each day and sun-loving plants for sites that receive 6 or more hours of direct sunlight. If plants are struggling, replace or re-locate them.

WOOD CHIP MULCH conserves soil moisture, reduces weed seed germination and provides a good growing environment for plant roots. A two to three inch layer is appropriate for most woody plants. Shredded corncobs, newspapers, grass clippings and the like are useful in the veggie garden.


Keeping Your Landscape Healthy During Drought
By Sarah Browning, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator
Image of Drought damaged turfgrass

High temperatures and dry conditions have resulted in many lawns turning brown in the last two weeks, but all plants suffer during hot, dry conditions. With 11 days of 90+ degree heat between July 1st and 16th, and a 3 inch rainfall deficit in eastern Nebraska, plants are requiring much higher amounts of water than normal to maintain normal functions.

Knowing how and when to water, as well as setting landscape priorities can help you focus your efforts.


White Grub Control in the Home Lawn
By Sarah Browning, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator

Image of masked chafer

One of the most easily recognized insects in the home landscape is the white grub. Almost every gardener has seen white grub larvae in the soil, while installing new plants or tilling the vegetable garden. The term "white grub" actually encompasses the larval stage of several scarab beetles, the most common, and most damaging, being the June beetle or masked chafer, and the Japanese beetle. Less well-known are the May/June beetle, and green June beetle. All have a white grub larval stage that can cause damage to turfgrass. The grubs are off white, with six legs located just behind their reddish-brown head, and are usually found curled into a "C" shape in the soil.


Sustainable Landscapes

Sustainable Nebraska landscapes minimize high maintenance turfgrass areas, utilize plant material for shade, wind protection, erosion control and beauty, and use native/adapted plant species to save on maintenance costs.

Native and adapted plants include those which:

  • Are hardy to USDA hardiness zone 4 or 5 (depending on where you are located in the state.)
  • Resist disease and insect pests to minimize pesticide use.
  • Have deep root systems for maximum drought tolerance.
  • Use existing soil fertility with low-input fertilizer applications.
  • Tolerate Nebraska winters with periods of minimal snow cover, desiccating winds, temperature extremes, and winter warm spells.