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A Fan of the State Tree

As Nebraska celebrates its 157th year of statehood, an iconic, representative symbol of the state is the official tree — the native eastern cottonwood. The 1972 legislature named the eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) as the state tree, replacing the original selection made in 1937 — the American elm (Ulmus Americana L.). The eastern cottonwood was chosen because many elm trees had been killed by Dutch elm disease and it is rooted in Nebraska’s pioneer history. The cottonwoods are large deciduous …

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Nature’s fantastic color show is emerging in the west and north. To me, that means the forest floor will soon be saturated with autumn leaf matter as well as something else — nuts! Freshly fallen black walnuts on the forest floor along a creek bottom in southeastern Nebraska woodlands. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. One of the reasons to take a long walk in the woods during autumn is to gather some delicious, nutritious, wild or homegrown …

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Hedge Apples, Hedge Balls, Mock Oranges … What are they exactly and are they good for anything?

They have all sorts of names: Hedge Apples, Hedge Balls, Mock Oranges and others. You’ve probably seen them. But, what really are they? Spider/insect repellents? Hmmm … Dang, they are sure strange looking. What is this bright yellow to yellow-green, grapefruit-sized, brainy-looking fruit-like thing? Fruit? Well, this is actually fruit of the Osage orange tree, an inedible fruit to humans, I might add. Hedge apple, hedge ball or mock orange, in hand. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. …

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Game and Parks to burn brush piles throughout winter

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LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will burn brush piles throughout the winter as conditions allow. Many tree and shrub piles occur in areas where trimming has occurred, areas with storm damage or where trees have been cut to improve wildlife habitat. Removing piles when snow is on the ground is safer, and their removal allows for safer prescribed burns later in the year. It also facilitates the area to be seeded to desirable grasses and forbs. …

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