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What We Do

We plant Nebraska for healthy people, vibrant communities and a resilient environment.

We do this through tree planting, garden making, community building, and education.

  • Nance's Testimony

    When I consider what I could be proud of, nothing makes me feel better than the plants I’ve helped get planted. The trees that Bob helped me plant for my neighborhood association through a grant program. They were tiny, hopeful little things that are now becoming real trees that provide shade, shelter for wildlife and a healthier environment. Long after we’re gone, those trees will be there. How cool is that?
    -Nance Harris, Past NSA Board President

Our Impact In 2023

At the heart of our work is the mission to support communities throughout Nebraska when they have a sustainable landscaping or gardening idea, but need help accomplishing it. We work with their Green Teams to make a plan, coordinate the project and provide funding. From planting 10 free trees to multi-year green infrastructure installations, we do what it takes to Plant Nebraska for healthy people, vibrant communities and a resilient environment. 

  • Grant Dollars Distributed


  • Trees Planted


  • Plants in the Ground


  • People Reached


Space Invaders

A jack-in-the-pulpit colony at Horning Farm. 

Recently the Arboretum staff were invited to a workday at Horning State Farm, a Nebraska Forest Service demonstration forest near Plattsmouth that is one of the Arboretum's affiliate sites. Workdays are always a good time, if a bit dirty, because they give us a chance to get out of the office and work hands-on to Plant Nebraska. Spending some time in the fresh air, under the shining sun, listening to the variety of bird calls—there’s no better way to spend a day.

Workdays can include a lot of different tasks, including trail maintenance, tree planting and pruning. On this particular workday, our main focus was on removing invasive garlic mustard plants (Alliaria petiolata). 

Garlic mustard was originally introduced to the United States in the 1800s for medicinal purposes, and it is still used by some today for those purposes. Since then, it has spread into the understory floor of forests, pushing out more beneficial native species. It can form a fairly dense carpet of foliage, blocking light and inhibiting the establishment of other plants. At Horning Farm this plant has popped up as a succession plant after successful control of another invasive species, amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Once the honeysuckle is gone, the garlic mustard is quick to move in (for more information about garlic mustard, see this Nature Conservancy article). 

The best way to remove garlic mustard is to pull it by hand, which is exactly what we did at Horning Farm. Gloves on, pants tucked into socks (ticks), garbage bags at the ready, we descended on a specific area that had been prepped for removal. And what did we find? Native plants fighting their way through to fill in the forest floor, including a few gorgeous specimens of jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) pictured above. 

Invasive species removal can be a never-ending battle for land managers. From woody trees and shrubs, to small, seed-spreading annuals, there is an ever-growing list of species to look out for, but we can do our part to help prevent the spread of unwanted plants. Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure you’re planting thoughtfully. If you want to plant a species that hasn’t been tested in your area for invasive features, use a pot, don’t plant it in the ground. You’ll be much better equipped to control it in a pot. 
  2. Do some research about what you’re planting if it’s not native. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 
  3. Inquire about helping to remove invasive species at local public land sites near you; many offer volunteer opportunities. Contact your city park managers, Nebraska Game & Parks staff at a park or recreational area near you, your local Natural Resource District, or the manager of an Arboretum affiliate site to ask if they have any workdays or volunteer opportunities.

It will take all of us to fight back against invasive species, but there are certainly worse ways to spend a spring or summer day.  

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

  • University of Nebraska logo
    University of Nebraska logo
  • NFS