• Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: Statewide arboretums provide forestry outreach

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 27, 2015

    Nebraska has a long and storied tree history. For a prairie state, we love our trees. Another interesting, but not well-known chapter of that tree planting history still lives on through Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. NSA is completely unique, with over 100 certified arboretum sites, scattered throughout 56 communities across the state. This system is unlike any other arboretum network in any state. It all began 40 years ago, with Arbor Lodge, the home of Arbor Day founder, J. Sterling Morton…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Be careful out there with prescribed fire

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 24, 2015

    Back in 1987 when I was working part time for UNL Extension, I had the opportunity to help out with a prescribed burn on a quarter section of CRP land. It was the first time I had been on such a project. Fortunately, the burn had a crew of experienced fire fighters and prescribed burn professionals. I was the only rookie that day. I showed up and immediately, the crew handed me a fire retardant jacket. I strapped on a heavy backpack filled with water and was handed a long-handled flapper…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Location, location, location

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 27, 2015

    It is true in real estate and farming, and it is true in tree planting as well. Location means everything. When I go out to schools and conduct Arbor Day celebrations and festivities, we always talk with students about proper tree planting techniques. I always ask students, “What is the first thing you do when you plant a tree?” Unless they’ve heard the discussion before, they will invariably say, “Dig a hole.” I suppose technically they would be correct, but…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Safety Gear Keeps Joy in Cutting Wood

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 9, 2015

    I love the woods. For a guy who grew up in Nebraska, that might seem like an odd thing. We’re not exactly known as the forest state, but we are known as the tree planters’ state. Maybe it goes back to my days of playing in our farmstead woods as a kid, or cutting and splitting wood for our wood stove as a teenager. No matter the reason, trees and woods are in my blood. I guess that’s why I discovered the true enjoyment of cutting wood. No sound is sweeter than the roar of a…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Christmas Tree Growers Enrich the Holiday Experience

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 16, 2014

    It’s been about 8 years since we sold fresh cut Christmas trees from our farm. I still get calls from folks looking for real Christmas trees. Although there are about 20 active Christmas tree farms in Nebraska, many growers here and around the country have retired their operations or stopped selling trees. There are many reasons for this. For our family, after 20 years of growing and selling trees, most of our many loyal customers had started to put up artificial trees. So, our real tree…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Get Ready for the Cover Crop Boom

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 3, 2014

    I think the boom is coming if it isn't already here. We are seeing greater rumblings every day. There is no question that it is beginning and will continue on the horizon. That boom is cover crops. In the past three years, we’ve written more and more about cover crops in the pages of Nebraska Farmer and our sister publications. We’ve written about why cover crops are good for the soil and why they build organic matter and add to the biological life of the soil. We’ve…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Early Defoliation of Cottonwoods

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 31, 2014

    Since its designation in 1972, Eastern cottonwood has been our state tree. And Nebraska maintains the national champion cottonwood tree, located in Gage County. This mammoth tree measures 88 feet high, and has a diameter of 36 feet, 9 inches. According to the Nebraska Forest Service, cottonwood, or Populus deltoides, is native across the state, but is usually found in native stands near rivers, streams and lakes. A fast grower, the cottonwood has been used for lumber, but also has conservation…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Caring About Water Quality in Our Little Creek

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 19, 2014

    I read every day about some environmental group blasting farmers and ranchers for water quality issues. I’m sure there are isolated cases of bad actors, as with any industry. However, the idea that farmers are intentionally being careless about water quality in our watersheds is foreign to me. Having grown up and farmed along the West Bow Creek all of my life, with our family’s farm tied directly to this lively little stream, I suppose I have at least a bit of firsthand knowledge on…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: What I Learned About My Farm Woodland

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 1, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I will talk about what I learned from Nebraska Forest Service district forester, Steve Rasmussen, when he visited our farm and walked my farmland woods to evaluate what we have and how we might reach our goals. As I wrote last month, our goals for this woodland include wildlife enhancement, conservation, aesthetics and recreation, which includes building a trail. We also want to insure that this woodland survives for another century for sure. Bringing…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: Ask a Forester About Managing Farm Woodlands

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 27, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I want to talk about a recent visit I had with Nebraska Forest Service district forester, Steve Rasmussen, about managing farm woodlands. With most of Nebraska’s forested land in private hands, farmers and ranchers often find themselves managing hundreds of acres of woodlands, in some cases, in spite of their best efforts to get rid of them. Around our farmstead, we have about 15 acres of planted windbreaks, with most of these admittedly…

    Continue Reading