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With two nurseries, over 100 acres of trees and 35 years experience, we would like to help you get a great value for your landscaping dollar.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Top 10 Questions & Answers

Question: What kind of Pine do I see dying around the landscape?

Answer: Mostly Scotch Pine have been affected by a disease called pine wilt in eastern and south central parts of Nebraska. However, there have been some reported cases of the Austrian Pine being affected also. Most native pine species, as well as other conifers like spruces and firs are resistant to the disease and are only rarely killed by it. Pine wilt is caused by the pinewood nematode, a microscopic worm-like organism that lives in the wood of declining and dying pines and other conifers. The tree typically dies within two to three months after becoming infested by the nematode. The first visible symptoms of pine wilt are the needles turning grayish green then straw brown in color, and the needles may remain on the tree for a year or more. Some individual branches may show the symptoms first, or the tree may change color uniformly, but in either case the tree usually turns completely brown within just a few weeks. If branches are cut from the tree, the cut surfaces are typically not sticky to the touch and may feel dry. Samples of wood from a diseased tree that are checked by a diagnostician will usually contain large numbers of nematodes. Additional information can be found our website. 

Question: What kind of conifers should I plant for a windbreak?

Answer: Austrian Pine is a native plant that tolerates cold, heat and adverse weather in Nebraska. The dark green, heavy, long needles have a strong ‘Northwood’s’ fragrance. They are a vigorous grower reaching heights of 50-60’.  Limber Pine is a slow irregularly growing native pine that has extremely cold and drought tolerant characteristics. It reaches a height of 30-35’. Colorado Spruce is noted for it’s hardiness and attractive bluish or green or blue/green color. The Spruce likes fully exposed, well-drained locations. There are several hybrid Spruce, such as Bakeri Spruce, Fat Albert Spruce and Hoopsi Spruce that would do well in windbreaks as well. A full list of conifer species that we grow can be found here on our web site.

Question: When is the best time to plant trees, Spring or Fall?

Answer: Either time is a good time to plant. We can only dig a deciduous tree, (B&B) when it is dormant, (before the trees leaf out in the Spring or after they turn color in the Fall) As long as they are dug in the appropriate time, they can be planted at any time. Container trees are another source that can be planted at any time because their roots are already contained and won’t be disturbed by planting.

Question: How much should I water my newly planted tree?

Answer: Good common sense is needed to determine how much extra water your tree will need. A rule of thumb is 1” a week. It is possible to kill a tree by watering it too much and robbing it of oxygen as well as not giving it enough to survive.  Automatic sprinklers can sometimes give a tree too much water, planting it 6” higher than the existing ground level to let it breathe is a good idea. It is difficult to plant a tree too high; it is always better to err on the side of planting high. Purchase a moisture meter, a simple device that you can stick into the ground and it will detect the amount of moisture 6” in the ground. If this is not available, a long screwdriver can be inserted and just like a cake, if it comes out wet, it is wet enough and if it comes out dry, it needs water and your cake is done!

 Question: Should I take off the wire basket when planting my tree.

Answer: Some experts will tell you that the wire basket should be removed.  We have found after many, many years of experience that the roots of a B&B tree readily grow through the wide spaces in a wire basket and over the course of only a few months, the wire starts to rust and within a year or two has completed rusted. By removing the basket before planting, the roots and entire tree are disturbed and undue stress is caused to the tree. 

Question: Should I stake my tree?

Answer: The primary purpose of staking trees is to prevent the wind from damaging the root system on a new tree before enough new root development has occurred to enable the tree to properly anchor itself in the ground.  Less potential damage is likely to be done to container grown trees because in the most severe of winds the root bal will typically move intact with the tree. Balled and burlapped (B&B) trees are particularly prone to wind damage and should generally be staked, Exceptions are when they are planted in a very sheltered location or when a tree is planted in a clump form. The stakes should remain on until at least early summer after one full growing season. The guy wires should be checked frequently and loosened to avoid the trunk growing around them. Staking should be loose enough for the tree to move slightly. 

Question:  When should I prune my trees?

Answer: Some trees such as maples and birches will ‘bleed’ or lose sap from pruning cuts made early in the spring. This bleeding does not hurt the tree, and the loss of sap is inconsequential. With a few exceptions, most routine pruning can be done any time of year. The worst time is just as the tree has leafed out in the spring. The best time is when the tree is dormant. To maximize flowering for the following year, prune just after bloom this year. 

Question: What are some good varieties of trees for Fall color?


Autumn Purple Ash turns purple or mahogany in the Fall.  

Aspen and Birch will turn a bright yellow.  

Locust and Linden will turn yellow. 

Amur Maple has bright scarlet Fall foliage.  

Embers, Sun Valley, Red Sunsets and Autumn Blaze Maples will have orange-red colors in the Fall.  

Emerald Lustre Maples turn yellow.  

Sugar Maples will turn an excellent orange, red and yellow color in the Fall.  

Red Oaks turn a deep red in late Fall.  

Chanticleer Pear will turn reddish-purple in late November. 

Question: When can I come to Oak Prairie Nursery to look at trees?

Answer: Our normal hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, Saturday mornings in season and after hour visits can be made by appointment.