1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.)

  7. Published

    Now that our days are warming up, so are those outdoor overwintering insects along with our not-so-favorite winter indoor pests.

  8. Published

    Note: this is the fifth post in a series on fruit trees. Read part one.

    Young fruit trees in the home orchard should begin to fruit once the tree has become established.  Several conditions will need to be met before that happens. Some of them we cannot control and others, we can help along. The four big factors are: typical age for the tree to bear, tree health, weather, and proper pollination.

  9. Published

    Note: this is the fourth post in a series on fruit trees. Read part one.

  10. Published

    Note: this is part three of a series on fruit trees. Read part one.

  11. Published

    Note: this is part two of a series on fruit trees. Read part one.

    Whether you have a single fruit tree or a small grove in the backyard, having the correct pollination is key for fruit production. However, for some species that is easier than others.

  12. Published

    Note: this is part one of a series on fruit trees

    You don’t need space for a full orchard to plant and enjoy fruit trees in the home landscape. However, where you place those fruit trees – whether it’s a whole home orchard or just a few trees – makes a big difference in how they grow and perform. As they say, “location, location, location.” Here’s what to consider:

  13. Published

    January finds us thinking we have already had our share of cold, and this year, some snow. Yet the colorful gardening catalogs keep us thinking that spring will return. The vegetable and flower gardens are certainly asleep until spring, but we can take a yard inventory from the dining room window and think about what we liked, what grew well and not so well, and begin to generally plan how we want our yard to look in 2021.

  14. Published

    As we approach mid-January, there may be more going on inside than outside for gardeners. Perennial beds covered in snow enjoy the protection from drying winter winds and the winter sun (if we ever see sunny days anytime soon). For some of us, traditional bird feeding started weeks back.

  15. Published

    January begins the annual flight of vegetable, flower, and fruit tree catalogs to your mailbox (or your email inbox). Depending on your level of gardening, the catalogs may arrive frequently and in mass.

  16. Published

    Firewood is sold in a variety of ways these days, from a small bundle at the local gas station to a truckload dumped on the driveway waiting to be stacked by you later.

    Measurements for firewood go back to sometime between 1630 and 1640. Back then, you could still buy firewood by the “cord.” The story goes that the term originated from the materials used to measure the firewood – namely a line, string, rope or “cord.”

  17. Published

    I know you are already thinking, “Why is he talking about what to do with the holiday tree while presents are still under it?” Well, I may be rushing the calendar a bit, yet having an expectation of how best to recycle the tree makes the follow-through easier.

  18. Published
     

    In 2020, many garden retailers found themselves with empty shelves or running very low on seeds and other common garden items. Like any other industry, future orders are based on previous sales with a projected increase to match sales goals. Seed producers base their production on the orders they get from retailers without a lot of cushion. (There is not always a good market for leftover seed.)

  19. Published

    A brief history of decorating evergreens

  20. Published

    Everyone recognizes that 2020 has been quite a unique year. Travel has been limited or off the table, school or work may have been moved to home, and since spring, holidays have been celebrated in different ways. One big stress reliever in all of this may just have been the backyard garden and the home landscape.