Kelly Feehan, an extension educator in horticulture at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, succinctly outlines four key issues driving garden and landscape trends in a recent article in the Columbus Telegram newspaper.

The issues: invasive species, pest resistance, pollinator conservation and water conservation/quality.

1. An invasive species is an alien (not native) species, whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health, she writes, mentioning emerald ash borer, Japanese beetles and daylily rust, among others.

“Report problems found in the landscape if they might be an invasive species,” Feehan advises.

2. Pest resistance is when a weed, insect, or other pests develops resistance to a control method, mainly pesticides. Resistance occurs when the same pesticide (herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, etc.) or pesticide mode of action is used repeatedly,” Feehan warns.

How do you forestall the development of resistance? Feehan offers these suggestions:

Avoid applying the same pesticide or pesticides with the same mode of action year after year.

  • Use a variety of control methods.
  • Mow turfgrass higher.
  • Avoid overhead irrigation.
  • Select pest-resistant plants.
  • Handpick weeds.

3. In terms of pollinators, Feehan writes that backyard habitats are increasing in importance, and should include a variety of plants that bloom throughout the season. To learn more about pollinator conservation, visit bumbleboosters.unl.edu.

4. In regards to water conservation and quality, Feehan advises the use of drought-resistant plants that, once established, require little irrigation.

“Redirecting downspouts onto planted areas, installing a rain garden, and planting large shade trees can help reduce the amount of runoff from a property. Runoff collects and carries pollution to our rivers, lakes and streams,” writes Feehan.