1. Published
    Have you noticed the huge hibiscus blooms this summer? Hibiscus has magnificent flowers that make quite an impressive display each summer.

    There are many different types of hibiscus. The rose-of –Sharon (Hybiscus syriacus) is a popular shrub hibiscus. Herbaceous perennial hibiscuses are available in tropical and hardy forms.

  2. Published

    I'm growing several summer bulbs this year. These include cannas, caladium, and elephant ears. Summer bulbs are summer-blooming plants that have some type of underground storage structure, but most of them don't look like bulbs.

    The vast majority of summer bulbs are not cold hardy and will not survive our winters. They are often referred to as 'tender' bulbs. These plants need to be dug up at the end of the season, and the storage structure kept indoors until the following planting season--after the danger of frost has passed.

  3. Published

    I recently attended an Illinois State Horticultural Society summer field day at Christ Orchard near Brimfield. The day included tours of apple orchards, current pest management information, and new technologies for the fruit industry. I left the day even more impressed with the amount of work it takes to grow apples, pears, and other fruits commercially.

  4. Published

    Master Gardeners are a special group of people who all have a common interest – a love of gardening and nature and the desire to share that knowledge with others. The Master Gardener Volunteer program is a very successful University of Illinois Extension Horticulture program. The program aim is to give intensive horticultural training to individuals who will, in turn, share this training with the public.

  5. Published
    Rain barrels and rain gardens are becoming more and more popular by those wanting to recycle and conserve natural resources.

    According to U of I Extension Educator Duane Friend, when we receive rain, a lot of it falls on surfaces that cannot soak up water. Roofs and driveways create large amounts of runoff—much of which ends up in storm drains. It is estimated that water from these areas can increase stream flow by up to five times!

  6. Published

    Issue 10, July 5, 2017 Illinois Pesticide Review Newsletter

    White Grubs

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    This is a good time to observe the abundance and activity of white grub adults. This knowledge along with rainfall patterns is useful in making treatment decisions over the coming months.

  7. Published

    Ticks! We all dread getting them. To help us better understand these nasty critters, here is part of an article written by Dr. Phil Nixon, recently retired University of Illinois Extension Entomologist.

  8. Published

    Issue 9, June 26, 2017 Illinois Pesticide Review Newsletter

    Japanese Beetle

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    Adult Japanese beetles have emerged in Illinois. Early control reduces damage through the six weeks that they are actively feeding as beetles are attracted to previous feeding damage.

  9. Published

    Old-fashioned flowers and flowering shrubs like roses, hydrangeas, sweet pea, lilac, and more have always been common garden plants. Technically, an heirloom is defined as a plant that is open-pollinated. These are pollinated by insects, hummingbirds, or the wind and the resulting seed will produce plants that are identical (or very similar) to the parent plant.

  10. Published

    The summer series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production.

    The first session of the series is titled, Using Essential Oils Safely. The program is offered twice –on June 27 at 1:30 p.m. and again on June 29 at 6:30 p.m. Essential oils have been growing in popularity, but some people are unsure of how to use them properly. Join Nancy Kreith, Horticulture Educator, as she leads you through the history, production and safety of using essential oils.

  11. Published

    How do dogs harm lawns? Chris Enroth, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, explains.

    First is the traffic. Very often backyard dogs will wear down paths in the grass from circling or pacing. Not only is this hard on the lawn itself but it also leads to compacted soils, making reestablishing turf in these locations even more challenging.

  12. Published

    Tuesday, June 6, 2017

    Last week I noticed an unusually large number of daylily (Hemerocallis sp.) leaves turning completely yellow and dying. Upon closer inspection, I found that they have aphid feeding on the lower stems.

    Aphids are a soft-bodied insect with piercing mouth parts that they use to suck out the plant's sap. They multiply quickly, resulting in large populations.

  13. Published

    Do you wonder why your tomato plants have so many yellow leaves or how to deal with those pesky bugs eating your roses? If so, University of Illinois Extension is here to help answer all your gardening questions.

    For almost 30 years, Master Gardeners have answered home garden questions through their Garden HelpLine located in Peoria. Staffed every weekday morning throughout the growing season, they answer hundreds of homeowner garden questions each year.

  14. Published

    It seems like yesterday that Judy Holloway walked into my office wanting to start a Canton garden club and annual garden walk. As a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener, she did just that, and much more. Since 1999, the Spoon River Garden Club has sponsored garden walks across Fulton County.

  15. Published

    Be sure to look for mosquito breeding sites in your yard. The first step to fighting mosquitoes MUST begin in YOUR backyard.

    West Nile Virus is most frequently transmitted through the house mosquito. Since it can only fly about 1-½ miles, this mosquito usually breeds and lives in our own backyards. After getting an adequate blood meal, the adult female mosquito lays her eggs in any stagnant water source. The eggs and larvae must have water to live. Therefore, we must remove as many water sources as possible from our yards and communities.

  16. Published

    Mint! For some, the word brings to mind fresh breath, refreshing drinks, or a place where money is printed. As a plant nerd, to me, mint means square stems. Here's why.

    All mint plants are in the Lamiaceae family. Although not exclusive to this family, most mint stems are square rather than round or flat like other plants. Most are also quite aromatic. All mints have opposite leaf arrangement and two part (bilaterally symmetrical) flowers, which are quite lovely.

  17. Published
    Home, Yard, & Garden Newsletter Issue 3, May 15, 2017

    Emerald ash borer adults are emerging in southern and central Illinois and will probably do so in northern Illinois in about two weeks. They will continue to emerge over several weeks. Now is the time to apply systemic insecticides to control this pest if emerald ash borer has been found within 15 miles.

  18. Published

    Central Illinois continues to receive excessive spring rains, which have resulted in waterlogged soils and flooding. Rhonda Ferree, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, says "It is important to understand what is happening to plants growing in these conditions and what to expect later." Rhonda describes this as "a wait-and-see situation." Many herbaceous plants are experiencing injury symptoms now. Visible injury symptoms on trees and shrubs may not occur for a year or more.

  19. Published

    I recently overheard a conversation while shopping for plants. The shoppers were discussing whether or not to prune their tomatoes. Pruning tomatoes can help some types produce more fruit. University of Illinois Extension educator Maurice Ogutu explains why below.

    "Tomatoes are divided into two different types namely determinate and indeterminate varieties based on their growth habits."

  20. Published

    The garden season is in full force, and I'm excited to hear about all the food and community gardens happening in our area. As we begin growing food and other plants this summer, please consider some potential health hazards.

    A growing concern in urban soils is lead contamination, though suburban and rural soils may also be contaminated. I recently partnered with the Peoria City/County Health Department to highlight the importance of avoiding lead contaminated soil during the gardening season.