Western Nebraska certainly has experienced its share of extraordinary weather conditions, from another year of low precipitation to unusually punishing cold and extreme winds. This combination has produced serious consequences for western Nebraska trees. Now that many area residents have ventured outside they are detecting the unmistakable signs of discolored needles, dead branches and whole patches of brown. Many wonder what is wrong with their trees and want guidance from a trained professional.
That’s why the Grant Tree Board is sponsoring a “Coffee with a Forester” workshop on April 26 from 10 a.m. to noon to help residents understand what is happening to the trees in their back yards and in their community.
The workshop will feature the Nebraska Forest Service’s Southwest District Forester Rachel Allison. She will discuss how to observe changes in trees, review disease and insect problems and describe what tree roots should look like. It will be held at the Hastings Public Library meeting room.
“We’re seeing more widespread winter burn this spring due to our extreme cold and blustery winter,” Allison said. “And we’re getting calls about needle drop from residents wondering what is wrong with their trees. It’s important to reassure people about what is a natural occurrence and when to be concerned about their trees.”
Residents may notice changes in their trees but not know what they mean or what to do about them. Others may notice dead branches in the canopy or discolored needles, and in the growing season, may remember wilting or thin foliage, brown, curled or yellowing leaves.
A forester can help explain these changes, reassure residents and give them the information they need to feel more confident about caring for trees.
According to Allison, people also are concerned about the emerald ash borer, which has been detected in states surrounding Nebraska. To help people understand how beetles and borers affect their trees, she works from the needles or leaves to the stem and then down to the trunk to explain how insects affect different parts of the tree.
During the workshop Allison also will:
• Address how to observe the tree–its parts–the canopy, branches, needles, trunk, roots, etc.
• Review diseases and insect problems–what is a problem and what is not.
• Explain when it is time to be concerned, when nature is just participating in the situation, and when a few bugs or disease are not a problem.
• Describe what tree roots should look like, the trunk flare, how they grow and what they need.
• Provide details on soil moisture needs and how to make sure trees have water, especially when trees are planted in frequently irrigated lawns.
For example, checking the soil monthly throughout the year and providing a slow, deep watering when needed will help your trees withstand the drought so they can continue to provide shade, beauty and shelter for many years to come.
To register for the “Coffee with a Forester” workshop, contact Jon Forney, 308-352-8022 by April 23.