1. Published

    While this winter has brought little ice and snow cover, this past weekend’s winter weather put a coating of ice on most smooth surfaces.  Gardeners, businesses, parks and others with landscaping near walkways must apply deicing salts for safety, but these products can harm plant life. 

  2. Published

    Nothing beats the warmth of a crackling fireplace on these coldest days of the year.  Each winter, as my family enjoys the cozy warmth of our woodstove room, I’m always thankful for the firewood supply we’ve been fortunate enough to accumulate over the past season. I enjoy the process of collecting and splitting wood that we can salvage from downed trees in our area.  It’s great exercise which results in some supplemental heat during the colder part of each winter.

  3. Published
    White pine needles are in bundles of 5.

    Evergreen foliage has long been a traditional holiday decoration since it encapsulates the green of the growing season well beyond the first frosts.  The hol

  4. Published

    With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are stocking up on all the ingredients for our favorite dishes so we can contribute to the family feast.  The Thanksgiving meal has traditionally been a celebration of the year’s harvest, making it a great time to focus on the bountiful harvest that has occurred right here in Illinois.

  5. Published

    Over this past week, the fall weather has brought bare branches to the previously color-filled canopies of so many trees in the landscape.  As the autumn leaf drop has progressed, there are several elm trees that I pass each day which have held onto their fall color and really look spectacular as they grasp their foliage late into the season.

  6. Published

    Every plant has its peak season of both ornamental and ecological interest.  With so many plants in full fall color right now, its hard to consider another ornamental attribute.  However, coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) is a native shrub with a spectacular display of berries that mature in coincidence with fall colors each October.  Its coral-pink to almost purplish berries are an attractive ornamental aspect that provides winter forage for birds.

  7. Published

     

    Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs in the landscape.  Since winter dormancy is right around the corner, it’s a low stress time to install woody plants.  I always try to wrap up my fall plantings by about Thanksgiving, but plants can actually be installed anytime up to the point when soil freezes. 

  8. Published

    Earlier this week, I was visiting a neighbor and noticed an eye-catching plant in rare form for this time of year.  It was filled with abundant red blooms that almost glowed against the backdrop of green leaves behind it.  Whorls of the tiny flowers filled the spiky stalks that jutted out in all directions, creating a display that no human or pollinator could miss. 

  9. Published

    As the last asters of the year are wrapping up their flower display and monarchs are migrating through to more southern latitudes, spring flowers aren’t always at the center of attention for most gardeners.  However, now is the time to set the stage for some of the most beautiful and early blooms of spring. 

    Fall is actually the ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs.  These amazing plant structures are tiny powerhouses of energy that can be planted now to explode with flowers and foliage as spring temperatures awaken them next year. 

  10. Published

    As the vegetable growing season quickly approaches fall frosts when production screeches to a halt, there is actually one crop that can be planted now in anticipation of next year’s growing season.  Garlic (Allium sativum) is an easy-to-grow bulb crop that does best when planted now for a summer harvest next year. 

  11. Published

    Fall flowers are some of the best of the year since they take a whole season of waiting to finally display their splendor.  Beyond their beauty, they provide a valuable food source for pollinators late in the growing, which can be especially important for migrating species such as the monarch butterfly. 

  12. Published

    Each gardening season there seems to be a new invasive species we have to worry about.  Unfortunately, this is the sad reality of our ever-globalizing economies.  Despite the best measures to track and limit the indiscriminate spread of exotic biota, regulatory agencies and the industries involved just cannot stay ahead of things.  Without a crystal ball to predict the future, we are often left with a problem that was unforeseen, but irreversible.

  13. Published

    Shrubs are often overlooked in autumn, typically playing second fiddle to overtopping shade trees that steal the fall display.  However, quite a few deciduous shrubs have spectacular fall color to offer in the landscape.  In many settings these smaller woody plants can help provide eye-level fall interest in the garden as blooms fade and many of the herbaceous plants we rely on for beauty throughout the growing season just don’t have as much appeal. 

  14. Published

    Amid all the pollinator conservation efforts in recent years, many gardeners have transitioned areas of lawn and other uses to vibrant pollinator gardens.  As homeowners search for new spaces to install pollinator habitat, many have questions about how and where to place these important oases of floral resources in the landscape.

  15. Published

    The root collar of a tree can be defined as an area of the lower trunk that transitions from trunk tissue to root tissue.  It is typically associated with the basal flare, or the trunk flare of the tree, which is the wider portion of trunk that insects the ground.  In recent years, arborists have spent considerable focus on the root collar, identifying a number of common disorders that can lead to declines in tree health or mortality.

  16. Published

    Last month, the US Forest Service released a technical report titled, “Climate Adaptation Actions for Urban Forests and Human Health.”   The report includes a summation of the current research related to urban trees and climate change, looking at how trees benefit human health, how climate change is impacting urban trees and how we can help our urban forests adapt.

  17. Published

    Many gardeners are starting to integrate more and more milkweed into their landscaping in support of monarch butterflies.  Plants in the milkweed genius (Asclepius) are the exclusive food source for monarch caterpillars, making them incredibly important in the race to sustain imperiled monarch populations across our continent. 

  18. Published

    In the heat of July, it seems out of place to consider fall frost, but it is an important detail for vegetable gardeners planning a fall garden.  There are a variety of garden crops that can be planted in July and August for fall production, many of which are cool-season crops that actually perform better as temperatures drop in the late growing season.  However, planning now is required to ensure plants have adequate time to reach maturity prior to the season-ending frosts that are inevitable. 

  19. Published

    Landscaping is typically designed to provide functional beauty to our yards and community spaces by brightening up the build environment with plant life.  While beauty can lie in the form of interesting foliage, brilliant fall color, or unique growth habit, flowers are always the showstoppers of the growing season.  In fact, many gardeners plan their entire landscape based on flowering displays. 

  20. Published

    Although rainfall has been significant so far this summer, newly planted trees and shrubs need watering as daily high temperatures creep up and rain dwindles during the drier part of our summer. 

    The next few months can be critical for woody plants struggling to become established in their new planting location and the water we provide can really make the difference.