1. Published

    We are only two weeks away from August already, and that means if you have a pawpaw tree in your yard or know of one nearby, 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!

  2. 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.   

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. Published
    Cicada killer wasps prefer dry, barren ground.
  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.  

  11. 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. 

  12. 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. 

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Published

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

  16. Published
    Jumping worm distribution throughout Illinois as of May 2021.
  17. Published

    If you didn’t know, we are cultivating invasive trees in backyards and urban settings. Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and Amur corktree (Phellodendron amurense) are outcompeting surrounding plants and invading natural areas contributing to the loss of native species in Illinois. 

  18. Published

    My mom deserves an extra special gift for Mother’s Day. She really helped her kids out during the pandemic, offering child care, shopping, laundry, moral support, therapy—and she’s an overall cool person to hang and watch sci-fi movies with.

  19. Published

    For vibrant cut flowers this season, plant summer bulbs like dahlias, gladiolus, and lilies. These summer-blooming tropical bulbs are called ‘tender bulbs’ because they can be killed by our cold temperatures if left outdoors during the winter, or if they’re planted too early in the spring. They do need well-drained soils, but consistent watering. 

  20. Published

    Whether you have an area around your home that gets full sun or shade, is wet or dry, there is a native shrub option for you. Native shrubs are touted as easier to care for and provide ecosystem services like flowers for pollinators and berries for birds. When planting native shrubs, plant in groups and water during the establishment period.  

    Full sun but need additional water during drought: