U of Nebraska Lawn Care Research

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May 23, 2017
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At times it may feel like you need a degree in horticulture to understand what you need to have a green lawn with no weeds. Growing beautiful turf is rarely as simple as cutting it every so often to make sure your yard doesn’t resemble a jungle, and as homeowners, we are often ill-equipped to know what to do when issues arise. Sure, we can ask around and talk to the neighbor down the street whose yard always resembles a perfectly manicured golf course. Your neighbor may be able to give you some useful tips on watering and mowing height and perhaps even fertilizing, but other more complex issues may elude even some of the most seasoned homeowners. At the same time, lawn care professionals also need reliable resources to lean on for lawn maintenance related information. The University of Nebraska Extension Program can help answer the questions your neighbor can’t, and then some. Located right in the Heartland, the University of Nebraska has an entire department that is dedicated to turfgrass and turfgrass science. They are experts in breeding, weed control, plant physiology, entymology, and soil and water management. Ultimately, their goal is to provide research and education so that turf can be beautifully maintained while conserving resources.

About the University of Nebraska Extension Program

This program is designed to continue education in many different areas to improve people’s lives with an intensive focus on agriculture and horticulture. They offer youth programs, such as 4-H to get children involved in learning about plants and animals early on. The program provides vital information and research to students, scientists, lawn services, and citizens all over the country.

Valuable Lawn Care Research

When trying to find answers to your turf care questions, it is crucial to seek out reputable sources. The University of Nebraska provides valuable and trusted lawn care information that is backed by experts. Science-backed research and professional hands-on experience in real-world situations make the University of Nebraska Extension a trusted source of lawn maintenance expertise. Some of the most sought-after yard care advice from the University of Nebraska Extension Program includes the following:

Lawn Care Advice

Lawn care consists of more than just cutting and watering. Here you can find a wealth of information on lawn care topics including aerating, water-saving tips, surviving drought, growing turfgrass in shady areas, aeration, lawn repair, and dozens of other important topics. It even covers advice on cutting and watering. Hint: you may be surprised to find you may be doing these wrong. The topics on these pages lead to full articles loaded with grass care related information in an easy-to-read format that is also easy to understand.

Weeds, Toxic Plants, and Wildflowers

Think you can tell the difference between a weed and a wildflower? Sure, in some cases the distinctions are apparent. But in other cases, weeds can be cleverly disguised as a beautiful wildflower, and before you know it, your beautiful lawn is susceptible to diseases and stresses. Toxic plants are also important to identify if you have pets or small children who may wander out to the yard looking for an afternoon snack. Here you will find information on general weed control, specific weeds, a guide to noxious weeds which tend to proliferate in southeastern Nebraska, aquatic plant control, weed images, wildflower images, and a toxic plant database so you can keep your lawn, pets, and family happy and healthy. They also provide top-notch advice about lawn treatments, including applicable lawn spraying protocols as they relate to different weed control products and grasses.

Turf Fact Sheets

These turf fact sheets offer information about soil fertilization, diseases, and insects, establishing lawns, fertility, and weed control. There is even an entire series dedicated to turf care professionals maintain athletic fields. The pages in this section of the Extension Program are all downloadable into a PDF format, so it makes it easy to download on a tablet or phone to use as a quick reference or resource no matter where you are. It also includes downloadable calendars for some of the most commonly found grasses in Nebraska with a time table for important maintenance steps throughout the growing season.

Tree and Shrub Topics

Trees and shrubs add beauty and symmetry to a lawn when they are done correctly. When placed incorrectly or with the wrong type of tree or shrub, you can end up with competition for resources among other plant life in the area, which can result in weak growth and susceptibility of diseases for all nearby plants. This section of the University of Nebraska Extension Program details some of the most in-depth information for homeowners on selecting and maintaining your trees and shrubs. There is information on some of the most common trees and shrubs found in southeastern Nebraska as well as common problems seen with them. Trimming, watering, fertilizing, and even some diseases and pest infestations are discussed.

Plant Diseases and Pests

Many people will see a drooping or limp plant and assume it must need more water. Or they see curled leaves and think the plant is getting too much sun. While these are certainly often the culprits behind greenery that is not thriving, there may be something more going on. Here, the Extension Program outlines some common culprits of plant diseases as well as pests. You can find help diagnosing and treating plant diseases and pests through these pages while learning about ways to prevent and avoid future infestations and infections.

Insect and Animal Pests

Not all insects and animals are harmful to your lawn and garden. Bees, of course, are one of the most beneficial insects you can have around your garden, though their stings may have you thinking otherwise. Ladybugs are excellent for preventing aphids from becoming a problem in your yard. However, certain insect species can be detrimental to your lawn and garden. Animals such as moles can destroy root systems of your lawn and garden and make it more susceptible to disease and weeds. In this section of the site, you can learn about different insect and animal pests, how to identify them, and how to engage in pest control. In some cases, there is even information about how to live with them.

Landscape Topics

When talking about landscape, we are talking about the whole picture–not just the lawn, garden, trees, shrubs, greenery, or foliage. When we are looking at the property as a whole, it gives us a picture of the whole landscape. These pages are dedicated to a wide array of landscape topics to consider the entire ecosystem and symbiotic relationship among all of the facets of your space. Topics like attracting pollinators to your landscape, butterfly gardening, growing fruit trees, and other larger picture details are covered in these sections.

Horticultural Topics

Gardening is more than just digging in the dirt. It is also more than just a hobby for retired people. It is truly a combination of art and skill that can be cultivated over time. These pages give some fantastic general gardening tips to those looking to green up their thumbs. It offers some useful tools such as calculating your lawn and garden areas, plants that may be poisonous for your pets, and tips for improving poor soil conditions among dozens of other tips for growing a garden.

The University of Nebraska Extension Program is generally geared towards people in Nebraska. However, much of the information found within their pages is useful for people all over the country, including lawn services. Whether you are merely looking for some quick tips on reducing the amount of water you use for irrigating your lawn or some tips on honing your gardening skills, you are likely to find it among these pages. No matter what your knowledge level is of maintaining your home landscape, the University of Nebraska Extension Program pages likely have the answers.