News Releases

group of Master Gardeners holding their teamwork awards
Gardeners flock to 2023 Illinois Master Gardener State Conference
Local volunteers recognized at state conference for outstanding work EAST PEORIA, Ill. - Master Gardeners and gardening enthusiasts from across the state converged on East Peoria for the 2023 Illinois Master Gardener State Conference, held September 7-8. The conference...
Lawn with clover next to house.
Go green with eco-friendly lawn care
URBANA, Ill. — Residential lawns consume over 2.5 billion gallons of water a year. This makes taking a natural approach to lawn care appealing for homeowners. Also, almost 3 million tons of fertilizer are applied to residential lawns every year, and homeowners typically use three times more...
watering can with flowers in top
Keep garden, plants hydrated going into fall
URBANA, Ill. — This summer has brought drought to many parts of Illinois. Most gardeners are aware that plants need water to thrive, but it can be helpful to review the ins and outs of garden hydration to ensure the best results.  “Many environmental conditions factor into plant survival...
nimbleweed
Grassy weeds becoming more common in lawns
URBANA, Ill. — When confronted with lawn weeds, typically we think of dandelion, creeping Charlie, and violet. These plants and many others are classified as broadleaved weeds, or dicots, and are easily distinguished from grasses which are monocots. Scientists have engineered herbicides that...
Little bluestem is a native prairie grass with beauty in all four seasons, including excellent fall color.
Native prairie grasses create distinct, breezy aesthetic in home landscape
URBANA, Ill. — Nothing beats the light and airy look of tall, distinctive grasses in a landscape arrangement. The fluffy seedheads and slender, attractive stems practically dance in the wind on breezy days, adding texture as well as a structural element to any landscape bed.    For many...
poison vines
Leaves of three? Keep poison ivy out of the home landscape
URBANA, Ill. — Experienced gardeners know where poison ivy is likely to be in the home landscape and newer gardeners will likely learn fast. Without knowing poison ivy 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...
Orange flag marks the location of an underground utility line in a leaf-covered yard..
Avoid injury, fines, power outages by calling 811 before digging
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — National Safe Digging Day, or 811 Day, is upon us. Easy to remember because of its 8/11 date, the day is a good reminder to get underground utilities marked prior to breaking ground. Having utilities marked is free and easy to do; simply call 811 two to three business days...
Illinois Extension wordmark
Microclovers making a comeback as lawns grow in biodiversity
URBANA, Ill. – Clovers are making a comeback in lawn seed mixes. Today many families want to attract more pollinators to their yards. They are searching for ecologically sound ways to grow grass, including adding white clover back to the turf seed mix. Clover adds diversity to lawns and provides...
Illinois Extension wordmark
To outsmart weeds in the garden, take multiple approaches
  URBANA, Ill. – As gardeners know, weeds will grow nearly anywhere. Even cracks in the pavement can sustain plant life if there is soil, water, and light. Whether a plant is considered a weed depends on how it is affecting the intended use of the site and who is looking at it. “...
map of soil lead concentration in Chicago area
Is there lead in your soil? New Chicago-area map tells you
In backyards and community gardens across Chicago, growers tend fruit and vegetable crops as diverse as the city they live in. Most have one thing in common – lead lurking in the soil. Legacy lead, leftover from paint, gasoline, and other sources, lingers in the environment. Lead...
Keep jumping worms from damaging lawns, gardens, natural areas
URBANA, Ill. – A new threat is invading Illinois. Jumping worms attack gardens, lawns, and natural areas with devastating results. Illinois Extension forestry research specialist Chris Evans says the worms are voracious eaters that decrease soil quality and reduce organic matter....
Grub attack could be just under the surface
URBANA, Ill. – Hundreds of dead and dying grubs littered the dirt Chicago sports field once covered in grass. Nancy Kreith, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator...
Don't rake fall leaves, recycle them
URBANA, Ill. – Every fall, an onslaught of leaves drop relentlessly into yards leaving homeowners to rake, bag, and haul them out on the curb. But what many don’t know is that those golden-hued leaves are gold in the garden. “After raking leaves this fall, think about recycling them on...
Natural lawn care made easy with new eco-friendly guide
URBANA, Ill. – Every summer weekend, like clockwork, the roar of lawnmowers fills neighborhoods across the state as homeowners and landscape companies try to keep up with the never-ending chore that is lawn care. ...
Armyworms march into Illinois' fields, lawns, gardens
  URBANA, Ill. – Fall armyworm caterpillars are enjoying a bountiful meal at the expense of farmers and homeowners. Prevalent in the southern states, the adult moths move north to Illinois to mate and lay eggs. This year’s appearance is earlier and in higher numbers, says...