Plants & Pests with Nicole


Upcoming Events

December 9th Master Gardener Luncheon 11:30 @ The Extension Office

December 12th Radio Interview on KWBE 1450AM

Recycling your Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are typically only used for a few weeks and then they are thrown away to a landfill somewhere. However, there are many other uses for those trees once their primary purpose of making your home festive for the holidays is over. Christmas trees can be chipped up to be used as mulch in your landscapes. This mulch can be made now and stored for use next spring. Christmas trees can also be placed in designated areas at local lakes and ponds to provide new fish habitat in the spring when the ice melts and the trees fall into the water. Christmas trees can also be made into bird habitat by placing it outdoors with oranges, berries, popcorn, and bird seed hung on them like decoration. Finally, the trees can be pruned up and used as a trellis for vertical gardening. If you prune off the needles and make a trellis out of the branches, the tree can last a lot longer in your garden next spring. This trellis can be used for vining perennials or vegetables, cucumbers can be grown on a trellis system including one made from your old Christmas tree.

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Winter Mulch

Extremely cold winter weather is not only hard on us, but it also can be harmful to our plants. If you recently planted any perennials, the winter conditions can cause them to frost heave. This is a situation where freezing and thawing of the ground in the winter months can actually cause the ground to push plant out of the ground, or heave it out. When this happens, the roots become exposed to cold weather and it can harm if not kill the plant. Once night temperatures have dropped consistently into the 20’s, go out and apply winter mulch. It is better to apply winter mulch later in the season rather than too soon, so if you haven’t done it yet, there is still time. Apply a 4–6-inch layer of coarse mulch over the top of the plants to help protect them from frost heaving. If your plant has already experienced a frost heave, add topsoil around the exposed soil and then apply the winter mulch.

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Dates are approximate, activities do not necessarily need to be completed that day.

Holiday Decorations from the Garden

Happy Holidays! I know it is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is next week. We will soon begin preparing for the holiday season. With the holiday season comes all the decorations, which I love! Horticulture pieces are a large part of our holiday decorating, which makes it even better for us gardeners. We can use pieces from our own landscape to decorate our homes for the holidays.
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Nicole Stoner

Nicole Stoner is the Horticulture Extension Educator located in Gage County, serving Southeast Nebraska. Nicole's focus areas include trees, shrubs, lawns, gardens, and insects. Nicole obtained her Master's Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for Horticulture with a minor in Insect Science, she also has Bachelor's Degrees from UNL in both areas. Nicole is also an ISA Certified Arborist and has her Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ).