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Hort Update for March 1, 2023

Image of dormant buffalgrass.
Glyphosate applied to fully dormant buffalograss will control cool-season grasses and broadleaf weeds. Make sure the buffalograss is completely dormant before spraying.
Timely TipsMajor Symptom:
1. Buffalograss - early season weed control Glyphosate applied in March will control cool-season grasses and broadleaf weeds, proceed with caution
2. March 1st growing degree days (GDD) Several Nebraska sites below, Understanding Growing Degree Days
3. Delay fruit pruning - trees, shrubs and grapes Recommend clientele prune as late in spring as possible, but before new growth starts
4. Dormant seeding vs. spring seeding of turf Dormant seeding can take place when soil temperatures are 40 degrees F. or below
For Your Information
5. ProHort Lawn & Landscape Management Workshop series continues March 9th & 15th
6. Commercial/Non-commercial pesticide applicator certification New license and recertification options
7. Digital Diagnostic Network - Need help with diagnostics? Submit pictures and questions for diagnosis by Nebraska Extension experts

1. Buffalograss - early season weed controlGlyphosate applied in March will control cool-season grasses and broadleaf weeds, proceed with caution

Glyphosate (RoundUp™) applied over the top of dormant buffalograss will control cool-season grasses and broadleaf weeds while not affecting the dormant buffalo. This is an important application in almost all buffalograss sites to control cool-season grasses and other weeds that have contaminated the stand. Though late fall (Nov-Dec) is better timing for this application, it can still be done now, with caution.

Like all grasses, buffalograss greens-up from the base of the plant near the soil line. Before spraying, check closely at the base of the buffalograss plants in multiple locations on the site to make sure it is not greening-up yet.  Do not apply if you see green at the base of the leaves. Buffalograss tends to start greening at the base of the plant early in the spring, but leaf growth is not readily apparent, and the turf still appears dormant. It is safer to treat late in the fall when the target cool-season weeds are still green after the second killing frost. Be sure and closely examine the buffalograss in the spring before treating with glyphosate, any evidence of green color at the base of the turf near the soil line is a no treatment indicator. Later applications may delay green-up or significantly damage the buffalograss. Missing this application will make it difficult to near impossible to remove cool-season grasses during the growing season.  F. Dandelions, white clover, and other broadleaf weeds can be controlled after the buffalograss comes out of dormancy this spring and preemergence products can be applied when soil temps reach 55.

Buffalograss Lawn Calendar, Nebraska Extension


2. March 1st growing degree day(GDD)

Location Accumulated Growing Degree Days
Grand Island, NE - Airport 0
Lincoln, NE - Airport 0
Omaha, NE - Airport 0
Norfolk, NE - Airport 0
North Platte, NE - Airport 0
Scottsbluff, NE - Airport 0


3. Delay fruit pruning - trees, shrubs and grapesRecommend clientele prune as late in spring as possible, but before new growth starts

The ideal time to prune fruit trees and grapes is late spring, right before they start new growth. Winter damage to fresh cuts is avoided and repair of the cut surfaces is fastest when pruning is done at this time. 

Excessive dormant pruning may cause trees to produce many water sprouts diverting energy from fruit growth and development. Therefore, it is best to limit dormant pruning to cuts those that remove dead, diseased or damaged branches and those the develop the desired tree shape.

Grapevines produce shoots from buds on the previous season’s growth; each shoot will produce the leaves, flower clusters, and tendrils for the current season’s growth. Most healthy mature grapevines will have 300 or more buds that are capable of producing fruit. If all buds are left to grow, the number of fruit clusters would be excessive. Hence, pruning is necessary to create a balanced vine that has neither too heavy a crop nor excessive vegetative growth. A well-pruned vine allows for adequate light interception; good air movement through the vine, which helps minimize disease problems; and facilitates ease of management, including spraying. 

Note - If you begin pruning and discover an active nest, pruning should cease. All native birds, their chicks, eggs and active nests are protected by a federal law called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Pruning Fruit Trees, Nebraska Extension
Grape Growing for the Home Landscape, Nebraska Extension


4. Dormant seeding vs. spring seeding of turfDormant seeding can take place when soil temperatures are 40 degrees F. or below

The best time to seed cool season turfgrass is late summer, however spring seeding may be needed. If spring-seeding is necessary, consider seeding before the ground thaws. This is defined as "dormant seeding" because the seed will lie dormant until the soil temperatures warm in April or May.

It is already getting late for dormant seeding. Dormant seeding can be done as early as Thanksgiving and as late as March in most locations. The benefit of dormant seeding is that as soil heaves and cracks during winter, crevices are created providing ideal germination conditions in spring. Additionally, dormant-seeding is easier to schedule than spring seeding, because spring rains make it difficult to seed after March in much of the Great Plains states.

Dormant seeding is more effective when weather remains cold enough to delay germination until spring. Occasionally, extended warm periods in winter could allow for germination and seedling death with ensuing cold weather. Thus a fast-germinating species like perennial ryegrass is rarely used for dormant seeding. If late summer or dormant-seeding are not possible, seed cool-season grasses as early in the spring as possible to take advantage of spring rains and cool temperatures.

Establishing Lawns from Seed, Nebraska Extension


5. ProHort Lawn & Landscape UpdateWorkshop series continues March 9th & 15th

The final two programs in this year's workshop series are offered in March. Register now!

  • March 9, Scottsbluff
  • March 15, Omaha

Cost varies by site. Lunch is included at some sites. At those sites, lunch is not guaranteed for registrations received after the site's registration deadline.

Topics include:

Japanese Beetles and More - Japanese beetles are an invasive species moving throughout Nebraska and leaving a wake of destruction in its path. These and a few other pests are causing a great deal of damage to many of our landscape ornamentals. Learn about these more problematic pests including magnolia scale, kermes scale, twig girdlers and more and find ways to manage your plants from these harmful pests.

What's Wrong with my Turf? - Solving turf problems can be challenging and complicated. Living and non-living factors are influential including seasonal changes of the environment; all must be taken into account in a step-by-step approach. Grow your diagnostic skills by learning how to distinguish damage symptoms between common insects, diseases and drought effects.

What's Wrong with this Spruce? - Spruces are an important evergreen tree for Nebraska landscapes and windbreaks. But even this tough, hardy tree can struggle due to soil, planting and management issues, along with several insect and disease pests. Learn how common management missteps can cause problems for spruce trees, current best management practices and how to identify and control common pest problems.

Evergreen Selection & Placement for Nebraska - Evergreens play an important role in our landscapes. Some struggle due to weather extremes, pest issues and overplanting. Diversity in evergreen plantings is needed. Hear about new and tried and true conifers for Nebraska, where best to site them, and some management tips to increase success.


6. Commercial/Non-commercial pesticide applicator certificationNew and recertification options

If you have a pesticide applicators license expiring April 2023 or you need to get a new license — classes begin soon. Make plans now to attend the training option that fits your needs.

Commercial/noncommercial applicators are professionals who apply restricted-use pesticides for hire or compensation. Anyone who applies pesticides to the property of another person, either restricted- or general-use products, for control of pests in lawns, landscapes, buildings or homes must also have a commercial pesticide applicators license. Public employees (those employed by a town, county, state) applying mosquito control pesticides whether restricted- or general-use, must also hold a commercial or noncommercial certification.

Commercial/noncommercial applicators have several options to recertify or get a new license.

Traditional In-person Classes
Classes begin in late January. Visit for dates, locations and registration. Preregistration is required; cost $95 per on-line registration.

In-person trainings are a supplemental learning opportunity; they DO NOT replace pre-class studying of category manuals or flipcharts for test preparation. Study materials for all commercial categories must be purchased online

On-line Self-Paced Option - Recertification ONLY
This is a 100% online training, which includes watching the General Standards recertification video, plus a video for each additional category to be renewed. Cost is $80.00 per on-line registration. Visit to register, beginning December 19, 2022. 

Conference Options - Recertification ONLY

  • Urban Pest Management Conference - For commercial/noncommercial applicators needing recertification only for General Standards (00), Structural Health (08), Wood Destroying Organismas (08w) and Fumigation (11) categories. Visit more information.

Testing-only Options

  • Closed-book exams are given by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). Preregistration is not required an there is no cost. Visit the link below for a list of available test-only dates, times and locations -
  • NDA computer-based testing is provided through the Pearson-Vue company. Click here for a list of testing sites, categories available, dates, and registration information. Cost $55 per exam. (For applicators with multiple categories on their license, each category is charged the full testing fee.)


7. Digital Diagnostic Network - Need help with diagnostics?Submit pictures and questions for diagnosis by Nebraska Extension experts

Do you or your clients have questions you need help answering? Maybe you are a lawn care person and they're asking about trees, shrubs, or flowers? While you can refer them to their local Extension office, another option is Digital Diagnostic Network. Homeowners, lawn care professionals, pest control operators and others are invited to submit questions and photos through this website or with the assistance from an Extension professional at any Nebraska Extension office. All offices are equipped with high-resolution digital image capturing technology. Whether the question is about a lawn weed, insects on a plant, diseases in a shrub border or other, an expert panel of Extension professionals will review and respond to the question. To get started, create an account so the question can be reviewed and responded to via email. For more information and to create an account, go to Digital Diagnostic Network.

Bugging Out With Your Camera Phone - Tips on how to get a good picture.


Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Nebraska Extension is implied. Use of commercial and trade names does not imply approval or constitute endorsement by Nebraska Extension. Nor does it imply discrimination against other similar products.