1. Published

    Experienced gardeners know where poison ivy is likely to be found in the home landscape, and what it looks like in its various forms and stages of growth. That may not be the case for newer gardeners or those having moved from an area relatively free from poison ivy to a wooded area or neighborhood. Without knowing it is in the yard, it is all too easy to get the oils on your hands and clothing while clearing beds of otherwise harmless weeds.

  2. Published

    This time of year, garden insects are often a topic of questions or discussion. Plants and pests have grown up alongside each other, and now there may be a little too much feeding going on for your liking. It is also about now that the natural insect predators show up to take care of the damaging insects for you.

  3. Published

    Regular rains (or watering) is almost always a good thing for our landscape and gardens. However, every time it rains (or we water) we can get weeds. If you ignore those weeds, let them flower and set seed, the landscape can begin to look like a jungle. For every square foot of soil there are many thousands of weed seeds in the top inch, and they are just waiting to germinate with sunshine and water.

  4. Published

    Any homeowner who has suffered from flood waters in the yard will find getting the lawn back can take some time. Several factors impact the amount of damage and the recovery, including what kind of grass, what season, and how long the area stayed flooded.

  5. Published

    Every summer, neighbors can be found discussing which is better, watering the lawn all summer or letting mother nature take over. You can find pros and cons on both sides of the fence.

  6. Published

    It is that time of year for plant galls (or things that look kind of like a gall anyway) to be more obvious in the home landscape. They got a start long ago when bud swell was going on earlier this spring, but they are more noticeable now.

  7. Published

    Watering plants may seem easy, but it can inspire a lot of questions – When? How much? What is the best way? What kind of watering attachment? Can I use harvested water?

  8. Published

    Plants can be found in nearly every house, apartment, or really any dwelling we call home. It may be that spider plant in your home office, or the avocado seed rooted in water on the kitchen windowsill, or even an entire collection of African violets (or another favorite family of plants).

  9. Published

    Water is a critical component of a successful garden, but are we watering wisely? There are steps we can take to make sure our plants have enough water while keeping our efforts efficient.

    Calls and emails to the Extension office have certainly been trending on all things water, and I wanted to share a few of our most-asked questions:

    Q: I am seeing cracks in the ground. I am wondering, should I be watering already?

  10. Published

    Gardeners have really enjoyed the great bloom show from our spring flowering bulbs in the past few weeks. No matter how bad the winter weather seems to get or how late we have a frost or snow, spring bulbs always seem to pull through for us.

  11. Published

    For more than 20 years, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has been continually monitoring gypsy moth in an effort to track infestations, put quarantines in place, and provide treatments.

  12. Published

    We can always count on spring, but we cannot count on how our plants will come through the winter weather. Emails and phone calls coming into our offices are revealing some trends on how our landscape plants faired.

  13. Published

    Dividing perennials has been, and always will be, a good gardening practice. However, with invasive jumping worms now confirmed in more parts of Illinois, sharing those perennials with neighbors or donating them to plant sales may not be the best thing to do.

  14. Published

    2021 gardeners are reporting plant development as much as two weeks earlier than expected. Even the “early asparagus” seems earlier this year. That is a promising thought, though in the back of our minds, we can all remember those late frosts, or even a light freeze, after setting out our vegetable transplants.

  15. Published

    Last week, I wrote about what I feel is the most damaging fungal disease for apples and flowering crabapples – apple scab. These treatments may seem like a lot of work, but control measures for apple scab also will help with other diseases and pests.

  16. Published

    Our Master Gardener help desk gets emails mid-summer when apple trees drop many of their leaves, except for the outer 12 inches or so. The same thing can happen to our ornamental flowering crabapples. In both cases, the cause is the same – a fungal disease that infects the foliage and fruits.

  17. Published

    The snow is long gone, but it has left us with lawns that, to date, may look pretty sad. Prepare for the spring green up ahead with these tasks.

  18. Published

    University of Illinois Extension offices always know when spring is on the way based on kind of questions emailed to our Master Gardener Help Desk. As the weather warms up, the messages increase, and here are two common questions this time of year:

    Q: How early is too early to start vegetables indoors for planting outdoors later?

  19. Published

    Recent warming temperatures signals the beginning of the pruning season. Gardeners may need to just help nature shape up a shrub that did not read the rule book on how it should look, or they may begin or continue to structure the tree fruits or grapes in backyard.

  20. Published

    Outdoor insects have endured quite well, despite our hopes that either the cold or snow would have done them in for the 2021 gardening season. The cold is more of a factor than the snow. The snow will act as insulation for those overwintering insects at or below the soil line. (Side note: This also is why our perennials do so much better in the spring if covered with snow all winter compared to open and exposed to the wind and cold temperatures.)