Spring has sprung and there’s a lot to celebrate! This year April 22 is Earth Day, April 28 is Arbor Day and the entire month of April is Earth Month and National Native Plant Month.

If you’re looking for ways to honor our planet, here are a few ideas to help grow a greener world.


Planting 101

Right plant. Right place. One of the best ways to ensure a healthy garden is to follow the Golden Plant Rule: Right plant, right place. Some plants require lots of sun, shade or both. Choose plants best suited to your environment, including temperature, according to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.

Gardeners always know the best dirt. Soil provides nutrition and plants typically grow best if their needs are met. Do you know if your soil is sandy, clay, silt or a combination? Your state’s local University Cooperative Extension Office does soil testing and can answer specific questions you may have. For example you can find a local Cooperative Extension office in Nebraska or Indiana or use the USDA’s interactive extension map to locate your state’s main extension office.

Plant a tree. Nebraska City is the official birthplace of Arbor Day in 1872, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Not sure what tree to plant or when’s the best time or how to care for a tree? Check out an online resource such as the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Wizard for suggestions. Remember to call before you dig!

Native plants, all year long. Plants native to North America are generally recognized as those that have inhabited a particular region prior to European settlement and occur naturally in a particular region, as defined by the U.S. Forest Service. Native plants typically are hardier, require less maintenance and benefit wildlife in your area. For example, a monarch butterfly lays its eggs only on the native plant butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). If you would like suggestions for plants that are native to your region, enter your 5-digit zip code and check out the National Audubon Society’s Native Plants Database.


Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” —Robin Williams


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