Oct 2013

Videos

October is the month of colorful leaves, Halloween, and getting ready for winter. This week's videos cover leaf color, controlling Canada thistle, farm food safety, and what may be stressing your tree.

new

  Trying to remember why leaves turn color in the fall? Nicole Stoner, UNL Extension, will help you recall.

 

A great time to control Canada thistle is after a light frost in fall. John Wilson, University of Nebraska Extension, gives management information on this noxious weed. 

 

Sarah Browning, UNL Extension, shares information for commercial vegetable growers to assist them in developing a farm food safety program and a good worker health and hygiene. 

 

John Fech and Jan Hygnstrom, UNL Extension, explain that a tree with declining health may be suffering from something in addition to drought.

 

 

 

Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs
By John Fech, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator

Image of tulip bedFor color in the spring, you've got to plant in the fall. Unfortunately, here's a common scenario that we see all too often: novice gardeners drive around town, country roads and even rural cemeteries noticing landscapes in April, green with envy because they are jealous over all the flowering spring bulbs they see. Of course, it's too late to plant them then. You must plant them now.

Daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinths are the most common ones planted for spring color. Soil preparation is the key to success. Dig the holes the depth recommended on the labels given to you by the garden center, but in general,

  • Tulips - 8 to 10 inches deep
  • Daffodils - 6 to 8 inches deep
  • Hyacinths - 4-6 inches deep
  • Crocus - 2-3 inches deep

Work in liberal amounts of compost and a bit of bone meal or blood meal and commercial bulb fertilizer. In most cases, both are needed to provide maximum results.

For an interesting effect, try a foreground planting of grape hyacinth. It's vivid purple hue will dazzle visitors as they make their way to your front door. Mass the bulbs; plant them in large numbers (10-25 or so) in one area to create a desirable result. A few here and there just don't cut it.

Print

>>>Top


Fall Brings Spider Indoors
By Nicole Stoner, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator

We are seeing spiders outdoors at this time on our plants and on turf. These are not a problem to our yards and landscape plants, they actually help our plants by feeding on the pest insects that would otherwise feed on our landscape plants. If the webs bother you, you can remove them, but you should try to leave the spider alone as this is a great alternative to insecticides.

Cooler fall weather often means spiders start moving into our homes. There are many kinds of spiders we find in the house, but here is a look at a few common spiders that alarm homeowners.

Image of wolf spiderWolf Spider
The most common spider that people bring into my office to be identified is the wolf spider. These are one of the largest species of spiders that we will find in Nebraska. They are quite hairy and often times will have 2 white or lighter brown colored stripes down the back of the spider. There are some wolf spiders that can be the size of a half dollar or more, legs and all. These spiders are not poisonous, but they can bite. Most often, a wolf spider will not bite us, but if they do the reaction is usually similar to a large mosquito bite.

Commonly, when people bring in a wolf spider, they want it identified to make sure it isn't a brown recluse.

Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders are becoming more common in southeastern Nebraska. These spiders are about the size of a quarter, legs and all. They are a brown color with a darker brown fiddle shape on their back. They can cause a bad reaction in some people, but not all people are equally sensitive to the bites.

Image of brown recluse spiderIf you have brown recluse spiders in your home or office, take the time to look around things that have been stored before you move them. Most of the time, if a person is bitten it is because they accidentally trap the spider between themselves and either an article of clothing or a box. The best way to ensure you do not get bitten is to shake out items when you take them out of storage. Shake shoes and boots that were stored over the winter, wash clothing that was stored over the winter or over the summer, and watch where you put your hands when you pull boxes out of storage.

Jumping Spider
Jumping spiders are quite small, hairy, stocky, and jump when you move toward them. They are most common outdoors because they prefer day hunting and sunlight, but they can move inside. If found inside, they will probably be found around windows or other areas where there is a lot of sunlight.

Spider Management
The best way to control a spider population indoors is through habitat modification, meaning to seal up all cracks and crevices in your home foundation and around windows and doors to ensure that the spiders don't move into your home. You can also use the indoor/outdoor barrier sprays to spray around the foundation of your home and around the windows and doors to try to stop the spiders before they come inside.

Print

>>>Top


Good Management Practices for Livestock Injections
By Steve Tonn, University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension Educator Washington County

Image of beautiful horseLivestock are injected with a variety of animal health products; vaccines, bacterins, antibiotics, anthelmentics, analgesics, and vitamins. Giving injections properly improves animal welfare and product response. Although the purpose of an injection is to benefit the animal, if proper technique is not used an injection has the potential to do harm. Poorly injected products may not be well absorbed and may not work. The injection could create drug residues, scar tissue, and or abcesses that could cause the animal pain and suffering

If your animal requires medication, it is important to read and follow all label directions or instructions from your veterinarian. The label will tell you where and how to give the product. For example, the label will say whether an injection should be given intramuscular (in the muscle, IM) or subcutaneously (under the skin, SQ). If a product is labeled for both IM and SQ, the SQ route is preferred. The label also may recommend the proper needle length.

Before giving any injection, read the drug label on the bottle. Follow the recommended method of drug storage, drug handling procedures, expiration date, and precautions. It is a good practice to check the label before you draw the medication out of the bottle and again before you inject the drug into the animal. Check the drug name to ensure it is the one recommended by your veterinarian.

Before injections can be administered, adequate restraint of the animal must be achieved. Every effort should be made to keep the animal as still as possible while the injection is given. This helps to prevent broken needles as well as harm to the animal or to the person giving the injection.

If your animal requires an injection, the proper injection site is in the neck for pigs, sheep, and cattle, in front of the shoulder. The IM injection is the most commonly used in the horse. The site of the IM injection is important for the safety of the horse and the handler. Choose a large muscle mass that is actively used by the horse. Consult your veterinarian for the correct area of muscle to use for horses.

Always use a clean syringe and a clean, sharp needle. Dull or worn needles cause tissue damage to the muscle. If a needle becomes bent or broken never straighten it and continue to use it. If the integrity of your syringe or needle has been compromised, the injection site could become severely infected and cause additional problems for your animal.

The size and length of the needle depends on the medication and the method of delivery. Choose the smallest needle size (diameter) that is reasonable to use for the product type and volume to be injected. This will minimize tissue damage and reduce leakage of the product from the injection site. Choose needles of the correct length for the type of injection you are giving, and suitable for the size of animal. Shorter needles can be used for subcutaneous injections; longer ones for intramuscular injections. Small animals have smaller muscle masses and should be injected with needles of appropriate length to prevent injury to nerves and other tissues. Your veterinarian can advise you on selecting the proper needle size and length.

If a needle breaks, it is very important to make sure that none of the broken needle remains in your animal. A broken needle left in an animal is a significant concern. Consult your veterinarian, if you need help in removing a broken needle.

It is very good practice to record the date of the injection, the medication used, the type of treatment, the location of the injection, the amount of medicine injected, the withdrawal date, the name or identification number of the animal and any comments/observations.

Finally, dispose of your disposable needles and disposable syringes in a medical waste container.

For more information check out the following publications:
Good Management Practices for Youth Injections, University of Nebraska- Lincoln Extension NebGuide G2159
How to Give Your Horse an Intramuscular Injection, Alabama Cooperative Extension ANR-1018
Injection Site Management, University of Arkansas Research and Extension FSA 3109
Giving Medication to Animals By Injection, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs AGDEX 400/20

Print

>>>Top


Image of mouseControl of Mice and Rats in Structures
By Stephen Vantassel, UNL Extension Wildlife Damage Management Project Manager

Stephen Vantassel, University of Nebraska, will review the biology and capabilities of house mice and Norway rats and provide tips on how to identify their presence.  Learn how to eliminate mice and rats in structures through Integrated Pest Management. Vantassel will discuss habitat modification, exclusion, trapping, rodenticides, and disease safety. Effectiveness of repellents, frightening devices, and "home remedies" will also be reviewed.

https://learn.extension.org/events/1202

Print

>>>Top


Changes In Gasoline Are Here
By John Hay, UNL Extension Energy Educator

Image of gas pumpFuel changes are here. Lower octane gasoline is now flowing up the pipelines to local terminals. This "sub octane" fuel will change the choices and prices we see at the pump.

Previously gasoline in the pipeline was about 87 octane, starting now gasoline in the pipeline will be about 83-84 octane. This "sub octane" will need to be blended with an octane enhancer to meet the 87 and above octane ratings we see at the pump. This is where ethanol comes in, as the lowest cost octane booster (ethanol has an octane rating of 100).

In recent years the choices have been 91 premium, 89 "super" with 10% ethanol, and 87 regular. Starting now there are many choices for fuel stations, yet of greatest interest to the public will be the low cost option which will change from the 89 "super" with 10% ethanol to the 87 with 10% ethanol.

Don't let the numbers confuse you, octane rating is not energy, and mileage per gallon will not change between the old 89 "super" and the new 87 with 10% ethanol.

Just to make things even more confusing we are nearing the time when we switch to winter fuel which is more volatile and has lower BTU per gallon than summer fuel (more short HC chains thus lighter fuel).

Below are some potential options for fuel stations and generally how they could be priced assuming premium fuel is highest cost and ethanol trades at a discount to gasoline. Note the list below generally goes from lowest cost to highest.

  • 87 with 10% ethanol
  • 89 with 10% ethanol (mix of "sub octane, premium and ethanol)
  • 87 (made from "sub octane" and premium)
  • 93 with 10% ethanol (premium with ethanol)
  • 91 (premium)

This new "sub octane" will shake things up for a while as fuel stations figure out how to label, price, and market these new blends.

Things to know

  1. Octane rating is not energy and a car should get the same mileage with 87 as 89 or even 91.
     
  2. Cars with high compression engines are the only cars that need high octane fuel. Read your gas cap and your manual (most cars list a minimum octane such as 85). High compression engines are more efficient, due to the compression ratio. Not the fuel.

Print

>>>Top


Household Water Use: Typical Uses and Conservation Practices
By Kristen Cope, UNL Civil Engineering Intern, and Bruce Dvorak, UNL Environmental Infrastructure Engineer

Image of Energy Star applianceEvery day people use water not only for drinking and cooking, but for bathing, cleaning and many other purposes. However, the amount used by families in their home can vary because people have different water use habits and a variety of fixtures and appliances installed in their homes.

Water-using fixtures and appliances (e.g., faucets, toilets, showers, clothes washers, dishwashers) designed in the past two decades typically use less water than older devices, and water-using devices labeled as "ENERGY STAR" or "Water Sense" are the most water efficient. The ages, gender and number of occupants in the home also plays a role in how much water is used.

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the American Water Works Association collected water use data from over a thousand homes in different North American Cities. They found a wide range of water use depending on whether or not families addressed leaks, how efficient the fixtures and appliances were in the home, and whether or not families applied conservation practices.

Families that used the most water did not fix leaks; used older and less-efficient fixtures and appliances, and did not use water-saving practices. A family of four used about 499 gallons of water per day under these conditions. The largest amount of water use was from bathing, followed by the kitchen faucet and toilet. These were followed by the clothes washing machine, leaks, and other uses. The fixtures in this scenario were over 20 years old and had higher flow rates than newer more efficient fixtures. Leaks were most commonly due to the toilet, followed by faucets.

Image of showerheadAlternatively, a family that fixed leaks and used the most efficient fixtures and appliances (meeting the Water Sense/ENERGY STAR standards) but maintained the same water use pattern (e.g., same frequency and length of appliance use) saw significant reductions. The total water consumption for a family of four under these conditions was 176 gallons of water per day, which is less than half the water use as the first example. Further reductions in water use can be realized as the water use patterns are changed.

What can you do to be more water-efficient in your home? First, identify and repair water leaks. Second, change water use practices. Consider taking shorter showers, flushing the toilet less often, doing fewer, and full loads of laundry or dishes. Third, add aerators to faucets to reduce water flow while maintaining wetting ability. Fourth, replace older fixtures and appliances (esp. toiles and washing machines) with more efficient, up-to-date versions. Saving water in your home is important.

Changing water use practices will cost nothing, and may even save money as less water might be heated and used. Other conservation methods like taking care of leaks or adding an aerator to your faucet are fairly inexpensive. Water is a finite resource, and it is important that we work to conserve it, so it will be available for future use.

 

Household water use illustration

Print

>>>Top


 

Still Time for Fall Tree Planting
By Nicole Stoner, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator

Image of tree mulchingFall is a great time to plant trees in Nebraska as the humidity and heat has decreased, causing newly planted trees less stress.

Diversity is very important in tree selection. We all aware of the problems Dutch Elm Disease and Chestnut Blight caused in the early to mid 1900's. Now, we're seeing what is happening in other states to the Ash trees due to Emerald Ash Borer and what is happening to our Pine trees due to Pine Wilt.

Selection
To limit the damage caused by any insect or disease, we need to plant an array of tree species in our landscapes. Due to this need for diversity, the Nebraska Forest Service's ReTree Nebraska program recommends trees that we should use in our landscapes. The list of 13 trees for 2013 includes: Baldcypress, Catalpa, Kentucky Coffeetree, Elm Hybrids, Sugar Maple, Shantung Maple, Miyabi Maple, Chinkapin Oak, Bur Oak, English Oak, Gamble Oak, Tree Lilac, Concolor Fir and Black Hills Spruce.

When planting a tree, consider overhead and underground utilities, future construction sites, and the mature size of the plant. Large trees should be planted a minimum of 15 to 20 feet away from buildings and a minimum of 20 to 25 feet from overhead power lines.

Purchasing a 3-6 foot tree saves money, and results in a tree that re-establishes faster and outgrows more expensive alternatives.  Do not purchase any trees that are root bound in their container, meaning that the roots are very thick and matted along the outside of the root mass.

Planting
When planting a tree, ensure it is planted correctly or it will not live as long as it should. You should start by pulling the tree out of its container. Remove all wraps and ropes from around the roots of balled and burlapped trees, including the burlap. Then, gently remove excess soil and get down to the main root ball.  Remove soil from the top of the root ball until you find the root flare, and tease out any circling roots so that the root system can be spread out in the planting hole.

When planting the tree, the hole should be only as deep as the remaining root ball and twice as wide. (The tree's root flare, where the first lateral roots emerge from the trunk, should be visible at the soil surface when the tree is planted.)  Then fill the hole back in with the soil you dug out of it.  Don't amend the planting hole with top soil or compost, unles you can amend the entire area of the tree's mature root system.

Mulch
Finally, add a mulch ring around the tree. Mulch helps keep the roots cool, holds moisture for the tree, and keeps weeds, turf, and lawn equipment out away from the trunk of the tree. The mulch ring should be 2-3 inches deep and should go out at least 2-3 feet away from the base of the trunk.

Staking
Only stake the tree if it necessary, and leave the staking equipment on the tree for only one growing season. There are many different ways to stake a tree, just make sure that the staking equipment is loose on your tree allowing it to move in slight winds. Movement in a tree in the first few years of growth will help it to establish better and stronger roots to hold it in stronger winds.

Print

>>>Top


Heating With Wood: Tree Species Characteristics

Image of FirewoodMany Nebraskans use firewood as a supplemental heat source, but to use wood effectively its important to understand tree species characteristics and the wood they produce.

Species Characteristics
Firewood, from different species or types of trees, varies widely in heat content, burning characteristics and overall quality. The table below presents several important burning characteristics for most species used in Nebraska.

Green weight is the weight of a cord of freshly cut wood before drying.  Dry weight is the weight of a cord after air drying. Green firewood may contain 50 percent or more water by weight. Green wood produces less heat because heat must be used to boil off this water before combustion can occur. Green wood also produces more smoke and creosote than dry wood. Firewood always should be purchased dry or allowed to dry before burning.

Dry wood may cost more than green wood because it produces more heat and is easier to handle.

A wood's dry weight per volume, or density, is important because denser or heavier wood contains more heat per volume. Osage-orange is the densest firewood available in Nebraska. It contains almost twice the heat by volume as cottonwood, one of our lightest woods. It is best to buy or gather dense woods such as oak, ash or mulberry.

Hardwoods, or woods from broadleaved trees, tend to be denser than softwoods, or woods from conifers. Some firewood dealers sell "mixed hardwood" firewood. This may or may not be desirable, depending on the proportion of low-density hardwoods, such as cottonwood, that are included.

The amount of heat per cord of dry wood is presented in Table I. Heat content is shown as a percent of dry green ash, a common Nebraska firewood. Values above 100 signify higher heat content than green ash and values below 100 lower heat content.

Table I also contains information on other characteristics that determine firewood quality. Ease of splitting is important because larger pieces of wood usually must be split for good drying and burning.

Fragrance and tendency to smoke and spark are most important when wood is burned in a fireplace. Woods that spark or pop can throw embers out of an open fireplace and cause a fire danger. Conifers tend to do this more because of their high resin content.

Woods that form coals are good to use in wood stoves because they allow a fire to be carried overnight effectively.


Species

Weight (lbs./Cord)

Heat per Cord (Million BTUs)

% of Green Ash

Ease of Splitting

Smoke

Sparks

Coals

Fragrance

Overall Quality

Green

Dry

Apple

4850

3888

27.0

135

Medium

Low

Few

Good

Excellent

Excellent

Ash, Green

4184

2880

20.0

100

Easy

Low

Few

Good

Slight

Excellent

Alder

 

2540

17.5

 

Easy

 

Moderate

Good

Slight

 

Ash, White

3952

3472

24.2

121

Medium

Low

Few

Good

Slight

Excellent

Basswood (Linden)

4404

1984

13.8

69

Easy

Medium

Few

Poor

Good

Fair

Birch

4312

2992

20.8

104

Medium

Medium

Few

Good

Slight

Fair

Boxelder

3589

2632

18.3

92

Difficult

Medium

Few

Poor

Slight

Fair

Buckeye, Horsechestnut

4210

1984

13.8

69

Medium

Low

Few

Poor

Slight

Fair

Catalpa

4560

2360

16.4

82

Difficult

Medium

Few

Good

Bad

Fair

Cedar, Red

 

2060

13.0

 

Easy

Low

Many

Poor

slight

Fair

Cherry

3696

2928

20.4

102

Easy

Low

Few

Excellent

Excellent

Good

Coffeetree, Kentucky

3872

3112

21.6

108

Medium

Low

Few

Good

Good

Good

Cottonwood

4640

2272

15.8

79

Easy

Medium

Few

Good

Slight

Fair

Dogwood

 

4230

High

 

Difficult

 

Few

Fair

 

 

Douglas-fir

3319

2970

20.7

103

Easy

High

Few

Fair

Slight

Good

Elm, American

4456

2872

20.0

100

Difficult

Medium

Few

Excellent

Good

Fair

Elm, Siberian

3800

3020

20.9

105

Difficult

Medium

Few

Good

Fair

Fair

Fir, White

3585

2104

14.6

73

Easy

Medium

Few

Poor

Slight

Fair

Hackberry

3984

3048

21.2

106

Easy

Low

Few

Good

Slight

Good

Hemlock

 

2700

19.3

 

Easy

 

Many

Poor

Good

 

Honeylocust

4640

3832

26.7

133

Easy

Low

Few

Excellent

Slight

Excellent

Juniper, Rocky Mountain

3535

3150

21.8

109

Medium

Medium

Many

Poor

Excellent

Fair

Locust, Black

4616

4016

27.9

140

Difficult

Low

Few

Excellent

Slight

Excellent

Maple, Other

4685

3680

25.5

128

Easy

Low

Few

Excellent

Good

Excellent

Maple, Silver

3904

2752

19.0

95

Medium

Low

Few

Excellent

Good

Fair

Mulberry

4712

3712

25.8

129

Easy

Medium

Many

Excellent

Good

Excellent

Oak, Bur

4960

3768

26.2

131

Easy

Low

Few

Excellent

Good

Excellent

Oak, Gamble

 

 

30.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oak, Red

4888

3528

24.6

123

Medium

Low

Few

Excellent

Good

Excellent

Oak, White

5573

4200

29.1

146

Medium

Low

Few

Excellent

Good

Excellent

Osage-orange

5120

4728

32.9

165

Easy

Low

Many

Excellent

Excellent

Excellent

Pine, Ponderosa

3600

2336

16.2

81

Easy

Medium

Many

Fair

Good

Fair

Pine, Lodgepole

 

2610

21.1

 

Easy

 

Many

Fair

Good

Fair

Pine, White

 

2250

15.9

 

Easy

 

Moderate

Poor

Good

 

Poplar

 

2080

Low

 

Easy

 

Many

Fair

Bitter

 

Redcedar, Eastern

2950

2632

18.2

91

Medium

Medium

Many

Poor

Excellent

Fair

Spruce

2800

2240

15.5

78

Easy

Medium

Many

Poor

Slight

Fair

Sycamore

5096

2808

19.5

98

Difficult

Medium

Few

Good

Slight

Good

Walnut, Black

4584

3192

22.2

111

Easy

Low

Few

Good

Good

Excellent

Willow

4320

2540

17.6

88

Easy

Low

Few

Poor

Slight

Poor

Firewood Volume
Though firewood dry weight is important for determining heat content, firewood is normally bought and sold by volume.

The most common unit of firewood volume is the cord, also known as a standard or full cord. A cord is an evenly stacked pile containing 128 cubic feet of wood and air space.

Though a cord can be piled in any shape, a standard cord is generally thought of as a stack of wood four feet tall, eight feet long, and four feet deep. To figure the number of cords in another size or shape pile, determine the pile's cubic foot volume and divide by 128. A randomly piled stack of wood generally will contain more air and less wood than one neatly piled.

Some dealers sell wood by the face cord or short cord.  A face cord is a stack of wood four feet high, eight feet long, and as deep as the pieces are long. Pieces are commonly 12 to 18 inches long, so a face cord may contain 32 to 48 cubic feet of wood and air.

Another common firewood measure is the pickup load. This is an imprecise but common measure. A full-size pickup with a standard bed can hold about 1/2 of a full cord, or 64 cubic feet, when loaded even with the top of the bed. Small pickups hold much less. Random loading will decrease this amount further.

A randomly piled stack or pickup load of wood will contain more air and less wood than one neatly stacked. Crooked, small diameter, and knotty or branchy pieces also reduce the amount of wood in a pile.

Buying Firewood
Species, volume, dryness and need for splitting should be considered when buying firewood. Before buying firewood, it's important to learn the basics to become an informed buyer, but knowing your dealer is the best way to ensure that you are getting the best firewood value for your money.  

Sources:
1.  Mike Kuhns, and Tom Schmidt. Heating With Wood I. Species Characteristics and Volumes. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska- Lincoln Extension, 1988, G88-881. Digital Commons. Web. 22 Aug. 2013 <http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1858&context=extensionhist>.

2. Mike Kuhns, and Tom Schmidt. Heating With Wood I. Species Characteristics and Volumes. Utah State University Cooperative Extension. Web. 22 Aug. 2013 <http://forestry.usu.edu/htm/forest-products/wood-heating/>.

Print

>>>Top