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Panhandle Lawn and Garden Resources

Master Gardener Program:

Information and advice about lawn and garden care in western Nebraska, from UNL specialists and trained volunteer Master Gardeners. The University of Nebraska Extension's Master Gardener Program uses the talents of experienced, knowledgeable gardeners who want to share their knowledge with others in the community. Master Gardener volunteers may be anyone who has gardening experience and has the time to devote for public service. People who participate include active retired persons, housewives, part-time employees, garden club members and others.

D.A. Murphy Arboretum at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center:

An on-line tour of the The D.A. Murphy Panhandle Arboretum (an affiliate site of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum), 40 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and research plots at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The Arboretum is an important teaching and demonstration tool in the research, teaching and extension mission of the Center.

Water & Environment Programming

We provide research-based programs and educational materials to help you understand the value of Nebraska's natural resources and the value of good stewardship to ensure sustainability of those resources.  More information.

Drinking Water Q&A

Do you have questions about your private drinking water supply?  How about wellhead protection, including the management of your private sewage treatment system?  Send your questions using the Ask An Expert feature on this web site.  University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension Water Quality Educator Sharon Skipton will address your questions.

Q: How can I safely store water for an emergency drinking water supply?

A: I was out of the office, so UNL Extension Associate Nancy Urbanec referred to the NebGuide- Drinking Water: Storing An Emergency Supply to provide the answer. I followed up at Nancy's request to see if the caller had any additional questions.

Image of stored waterThe caller got their drinking water from Omaha's Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD.) MUD's public water supply is safe and suitable for storage; it is disinfected, and is free of disease causing organisms.

When storing water from any potable water supply, bacteria can be inadvertently introduced into the water during the collection and storage process. MUD's water supply may contain enough residual disinfectant to deactivate pathogens that might be introduced during the water storage process, making additional treatment prior to storage unnecessary. However, for an additional safety margin, the water can be treated with a chemical disinfectant to inactivate organisms that might be present in the storage containers, or that might be introduced as the water is collected.

This treatment is especially important for water supplies that are not disinfected, such as water from a private drinking water well.

Use liquid household chlorine bleach that contains 4 to 6 percent sodium hypochlorite. Chemical treatment provided by the bleach will inactivate pathogens that may be introduced through unsterile containers or when filling the containers. Bleaches with labels such as "Fresh Wildflowers," "Rain Clean," "Advantage," or labeled as scented may contain fragrances, soaps, surfactants, or other additives and should not be used for drinking water disinfection. Use the freshest container of liquid chlorine bleach available, preferably not more than three months old. Add six drops of bleach per gallon of water using a clean uncontaminated medicine dropper. If the bleach contains a lesser or greater percent of sodium hypochlorite, adjust the dose accordingly.

Stir the water, cover, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes. You should be able to smell chlorine after the 30-minute waiting period. If you cannot, add another dose and let the water stand covered another 15 minutes. Cap containers and label each, describing the contents and preparation date.

See the NebGuide for more information, including how long water can be stored.

Now Available

Water Wise: Tree Selection and Tree Care, EC 302

This publication provides information on the value of trees; how to choose the best tree species for various parts of the landscape; and how to properly install and care for them in a water-conserving and drought-conscious manner.

2015 Master Gardener Training Begins in January

The Nebraska Master Gardener program is a horticulture related volunteer training program based in many counties throughout the state. It has been part of UNL Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UNL Extension faculty and staff. They contribute time as volunteers working through their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their community. More specifically, they provide education about sustainable horticultural practices.

Master Gardener training sessions are held at county offices throughout the state. Classes begin in February or March, depending on the location. A minimum of 40 hours of educational training is provided. Most locations conduct training during daytime hours, but some offer evening classes.

For more information, or to complete an on-line application, visit http://mastergardener.unl.edu/become-a-master-gardener