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The Garden Scoop 2023

Spring flowering trees and shrubs

Signs of spring are beginning to pop up if you look close enough.  In the last week or so, I’ve noticed harbinger of spring (Erigenia bulbosa) and spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) in natural areas. The beginnings of Virginia bluebells can also be found as their distinctly purple-blue new leaves poke up in more protected locations on the forest floor or in garden beds.  Daffodils (Narcissus spp.) and other non-native bulbs are up with flowers developing on plants in...
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Prairie Establishment at ClarkLindsey

On a sunny and cold day in early February, some Urbana residents helped to spread handfuls of native prairie seed on the ground.  Using tools as simple as a paper cup or their bare hands, the seeds were broadcast into the air, falling silently to the ground.  As these seeds are exposed to rain, sun and warming temperatures in the coming months, they will germinate and start to establish a native prairie planting filled with beautiful flowering plants and tall, stately grasses.  To a gardener...
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Vegetable Garden Planning

It’s that time of year again – time to start planning for the vegetable gardening season.  The explosion of enticing seed catalogs hitting my mailbox these days has started to get me in gear by dusting off all the tools, looking at our empty garden beds and dreaming of the growing season to come.  Despite all the excitement, it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to figure out where to start planning.  Before we know it, spring may be upon us, although Punxsutawney Phil may disagree...
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Pruning cuts can tell a tale

If you are just dying to get into the garden these days, there is one essential practice that is best done during winter dormancy. Pruning is perhaps the most important landscape maintenance task performed in any space that hosts woody plants. There is a large list of benefits to plant health, which is the most important reason to prune, but it’s often essential to prune woody plants so they maintain the form and structure we expect.  Dormancy is the best time for pruning because it has the...
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U.S. Native Tree Checklist

Across the United States, our urban and natural forest ecosystems support a wide range of both flora and fauna. Trees are certainly the center of these plant communities and remain the most symbolic and recognized plant life on the landscape. Have you ever wondered exactly how many native species are native to our state, or even our country? Filling a Gap A recent research collaboration between Morton Arboretum and others sought to address many of these questions. These...
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Extreme winter cold and plants

Extreme winter cold is something that can keep gardeners up at night.  Since plants are dormant, there is little we can do in the way of plant health care and that can be a real helpless feeling.  The extremely cold weather back in December certainly raised concern and my office received a number of calls from worried gardeners.  USDA Cold Hardiness Zones To put our recent cold snap in perspective, it helps to consider the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cold...
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