1.  Do not fertilize most trees and shrubs after the first week of August. Fertilizer on trees and shrubs will prompt new growth that will not mature by the time we get a frost and thus will not be hardy enough to withstand a normal Nebraska winter.

          If your tree is in the lawn area, every time you water your lawn you are also indirectly watering your trees, and your trees need a lot less water than your lawn. Just be careful when watering and do not allow your sprinkler to hit the trunk, especially if you have an automatic system. Just under the bark is the cambian layer where all the nutrients go up and down. You can injure that cambian layer and impede the flow of nutrients up and down the tree if you have an impulse sprinkler that hits the tree in the same place twice a week or even once a week over 10 years. Most trees that are outside your yard where you water, do not need additional watering unless we are having a severe drought. By this I mean it has not rained for 4 to 5 weeks.

          Also, after a tree is 5 years old usually it does not need additional fertilization, if growing under normal circumstances. In Nebraska we have good healthy soil. Clay soil can get hard when it is dry but it is full of nutrients. If a tree is in the yard or close to it, every time you fertilize your lawn you are indirectly fertilizing your trees, as the major feeder roots are in the top 12 to 18 inches of the soil and go way out beyond the drip line.


2.   “Tomatoes often have problems with cracking caused by pressure inside the fruit that is more than the skin can handle. Cracks are usually on the upper part of the fruit and can be concentric (in concentric circles around the stem). We do not know everything about cracking but here is what we do know.”

          “Tomatoes have a root system that is very dense and fibrous and is quite efficient in picking up water. Unfortunately, the root system can become unbalanced with the top of the plant. Early in the season it may be small in relation to the growth, resulting in blossom-end rot in hot dry weather. Later it may be so efficient that it provides too much water when we get rain or irrigate heavily after a dry spell. This quick influx of water can cause the tomato fruit to crack. Therefore, even and consistent watering can help with cracking. Mulching will also help because it moderates moisture levels in the soil. However, you can do everything right and still have problems with cracking some years.” (Source: Ward Upham, Kansas State University Horticulture 2013 Newsletter #29 for July 23, 2013


3. This time of year set your mower as high as it will go so the hot sun does not dry out or burn the crown. Let the taller grass provide some shade. Remember the shorter you mow your grass the more often you have to mow it because cutting your lawn stimulates growth. Your next application of fertilizer should be around Labor Day.

          July 1st to August 15th is not a good time to put a high nitrogen fertilizer on your Turf Type Tall Fescue or Kentucky Blue Grass lawn as it will promote Brown Patch Disease. Low nitrogen (10%) with high iron content is ok and will green up your grass. If you have adequate nitrogen, iron is what will make your grass green in our clay soils. Make sure every application of fertilizer you put on has iron in it. This makes a big difference in our clay soils.

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