1. Published

    Like it or not, fall and winter will be here before we know it! During the off-season, too many gardeners leave their vegetable or flower gardens bare over winter. This can cause major problems for the following growing season, especially an invasion of winter weeds and erosion of high-quality topsoil to boot. Beat the weeds and hang on to your soil this fall, winter and spring by planting a cover crop, or at least putting down some straw. 

  2. Published

    Are you ready to toss in the towel on your overgrown, drab-looking container gardens for the year?

    Unfortunately, our gorgeous summer containers are now fading due to the stress of the summer heat, possible insects or diseases, and the changing temperatures and sunlight in fall. Don’t give up! Now is the perfect time to give them a fall makeover and create a beautiful display of autumnal colors amongst the pumpkins on your front porch for a couple of months.

  3. Published

    The larvae of a moth may be wreaking havoc on your lawns right now and could be exacerbated by the lack of rain leaving behind lots of dead grass in its wake. Recent sightings of large fall armyworm infestations of turf have been reported in Bloomington Normal this week.

  4. Published

    We are officially into the dog days of summer; with daylight noticeably shorter than around the June solstice, berry season is sadly coming to an end. However, there is one local berry that is putting on a show right now. Besides its fruit, elderberry has many other contributions to the landscape that we can be thankful for. If you’re reading this in September, you’ve missed the berries, but read on so you can be on the lookout for edible perks of the elderberry next year!

  5. Published

    They are annoying, pesky, and won’t leave you alone. They look like little bees. Most people think they are sweat bees because of their black and yellow stripes but they don’t sting despite their extremely offensive behavior during the latter part of the summer. Regardless of their interactions with us, it is the covert interactions with the environment that make them standout insects in Illinois. Here are three things you didn’t know about Hover Flies:

  6. Published

    It is almost pawpaw eating time! For those not already in the know, you too could soon have the opportunity to try your first delicious pawpaw fruit.  If you’ve never heard of pawpaw before, don’t know what the fruit or the tree look like, and are interested to hear what all the hullabaloo is about, read on!

  7. Published

    Rainy weather is leaving gardeners confused. Traditionally, Illinoisans would be gearing up for a very hot and very dry late summer and I would be encouraging consistent watering as the key to good harvest. However, with the deluge of irrigation from the sky, there are some other landscaping tasks that need to be done to address the overwatering.   

  8. Published

    Growing up, a summer meal at grandma and grandpa’s house wasn’t complete without a giant, juicy tomato and fried squash blossoms. Squash blossoms are one example of edible flowers that are already growing in our gardens and just waiting for us to enjoy. Edible flowers can be added as the main ingredient in a new recipe, offer a little spice to a dish, or even used as a garnish to add some color and texture to a plate.

  9. Published

    When people hear the term “brambles”, they might not be familiar. What the heck is a bramble, you may ask? Or maybe you’ve heard the term, and likely it is a love or hate relationship for the reader here. “Brambles” to you could mean a garden or landscape problem, or a delicious summer treat! Let’s dive in!

  10. Published
    Cicada killer wasps prefer dry, barren ground.
  11. Published

    Summer is officially here, and it’s time to get out to your favorite walking or hiking spot! That may entail walking through tall grass and woodland brush, depending on where you go. Protect yourself from Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever by following tick prevention advice of forest enthusiasts and agricultural professionals.

  12. Published

    Thank a pollinator for that warm cup of coffee in your hands, or for that chocolate sundae you indulged in the other day. National Pollinator Week is June 21-27; celebrate pollinators and support their health this year. Did you know that that pollinators like bees and butterflies, provide 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat? Over 80% of flowering plants are pollinated by these small, but busy animals.

  13. Published

    BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The state insect, the monarch butterfly, is facing a crisis. Each May, Illinoisans celebrate the monarch butterfly, but University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup says that Illinois residents should be worried.

  14. Published

    Some trees may be showing damage from the late frost much of Illinois had in May for several months to come as well as diseases that pop up during the rainy, cool spring weather. Watering during the hot dry months of summer will help these trees back to being a beautiful specimen.

  15. Published

    Chances are if you have driven along any country road in Illinois, you have seen a tall plant with a spiky silvery thistle-like flower head swaying in the wind. What you may not know is that this plant hides a sinister side. Cutleaf teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) and its relative the Common teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) are prairie “bullies” and have been slowly taking over our high-quality agricultural landscapes.  

  16. Published

    They are crawling on my windows, walls, and houseplants newly rescued from the lower night temperatures of the fall and creeping me out. They could be hanging out on your dishes, doing a balancing act on your toothbrush, resting in your clothing or hair, or be a rather interesting ornament on your Christmas tree. 

  17. Published

    A recent study tracking butterfly abundance in Ohio over the last 20 years has discovered a 33% decline. We can only assume that in Illinois we have similar patterns in decline in our butterfly populations. Scientists believe the decline may be attributed to climate change, habitat degradation, and agricultural practices. 

  18. Published

    Wild parsnip often makes headlines because of its negative effects on naïve gardeners and hikers. Wild parsnip along with giant hogweed and poison hemlock are types of carrots gone bad.

  19. Published

    It’s that time of year again… time to plant your tomatoes and peppers and get your summer garden going! Most gardeners have grown these before, but with a few tips and tricks, you can decrease disease prevalence, increase plant health and get a better harvest. One tip: prune them both!

    It is recommended to prune your tomato and pepper plants at planting and during establishment, and depending on variety, throughout the harvest season as well. Of course, pruning practices differ between the two crops and within crop variety, so each are addressed here in turn.

  20. Published

    Sun-loving, season-long blooming, low maintenance, dependable and pollinator-friendly. Sound like a perfect perennial to add to your garden?