News source/writer: Brittnay Haag, 309-663-8306,


URBANA, Ill. – Even though it is cold outside and snow may be covering our gardens, we can still exercise our little ones' green thumbs. Bring the garden inside this winter with fun activities and experiments! Winter is the perfect time for kids to learn basic plant concepts and develop an interest in the garden.

University of Illinois Extension Local Foods and Small Farms Educator Grant McCarty will teach Apple tree pruning on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Jo Daviess County Extension Office, 204 Vine St., Elizabeth, IL 61028.

You may have inherited property that has a number of mature apple trees. You may also have ignored and neglected your apple trees for a number of years. Whichever category you fall into, it is not too late to get your trees on the path towards productive yields.

News source/writer: Andrew Holsinger, 217-532-3941,


URBANA, Ill. – Decorative wreaths are a popular favorite during the holiday season. A holiday wreath adds color, interest, and a festive focal point inside or outside your home.

"A wreath can be made from a variety of fresh greenery," says Andrew Holsinger, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "Some of the plant material used for your wreath may even be found in your own landscape."

For those of us that enjoy plants and gardening, winter can seem long and boring. Cabin fever sets in while our mailboxes fill up with seed catalogs and our minds drift to plans for the coming growing season. If you are looking for a good excuse to get out of the house and be with other garden enthusiasts join the University of Illinois Extension at the 20th annual Joys of Gardening workshop.

On Saturday, April 29, 2017 the Jo Daviess County Master Gardener's will be holding their annual Spring Break Gardening event from 9 a.m. to noon at the Elizabeth Community Building (HWY 20 W Elizabeth, IL). Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required to attend. To register or for more information on this program call us at 815-858-2273 or visit us online at

Source: Rhonda J. Ferree, Extension Educator, Horticulture,

Now is the best time to prune many of your trees and shrubs, includ

News source/writer: Rhonda Ferree, 309-543-3308,


URBANA, Ill. – Do you give flowers to your loved one on holidays and birthdays? Flowers are a great way to communicate your love and affection, and some can convey a specific message, according to a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension.

Source: Rhonda J. Ferree, Extension Educator, Horticulture,


Each year I am more distressed by the number of volunteer ornamental pear

News source/writer: Andrew Holsinger, 217-532-3941,

It's not rocket science; we all know that plants need water to thrive. But Andrew Holsinger wants to give gardeners a refresher on the ins and outs of garden hydration.

"Many environmental conditions factor into plant survival," says Holsinger, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "Hydration is one of the most important of those factors."

Source/writer: Kim Ellson, 847-818-2901,


URBANA, Ill. – Forcing branches allows us to enjoy a burst of color and brighten up our homes in the middle of winter with materials from our own garden, said Kim Ellson, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Team announces the Winter 2017 schedule for the Four-Seasons Gardening Webinar Series. The Four Seasons Gardening programs focus on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production, and will begin again this month.

Programs include:

News source/writer: Ron Wolford, 773-233-2900,

News source/writer: Kari Houle, 217-357-2150,

There are approximately 2,000 species of butterflies and moths native to Illinois, and creating a butterfly oasis can bring them to your backyard.

"One of the things to remember when creating a butterfly oasis is to provide both nectar sources for butterflies and larval food sources for caterpillars," says University Extension horticulture educator Kari Houle.

News source/writer: Sandra L. Mason, 217-333-7672,


URBANA, Ill. – Most of us have limited experience with orchids, and may feel intimidated by their reputation as finicky plants. However, orchids are an amazingly diverse plant family, growing in deserts, mountains, marshes, northern woods, and Illinois forests, and should be given a chance, according to a University of Illinois Extension educator.

News source/writer: Andrew Holsinger, 217-532-3941,


URBANA, Ill. – The splendor of trees and shrubs is apparent in the above-ground portions of the plants, but what lies beneath should not be ignored.

"Soil plays a vital role in the survival of trees and shrubs in the landscape," University of Illinois Extension educator Andrew Holsinger explains.

News source/writer: Ken Johnson, 217-243-7424,


URBANA, Ill. – When trying to manage pests in your garden this year consider using integrated pest management (IPM) practices.

News writer/source: Ron Wolford, 773-233-2900,


URBANA, Ill. – No flower says Christmas like the beautiful poinsettia, according to Ron Wolford, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "Let's learn a few facts and dispel some misconceptions about this traditional Christmas plant."

University of Illinois Extension is pleased to announce that Backyard Apple Tree School is coming to Rockford, IL on Thursday, March 23, 2017 from 1-4 PM at the Rockford Public Library East Branch. This program will be taught by University of Illinois Extension Educators Grant McCarty and Bruce Black. Backyard Apple Tree School is for new growers and homeowners and will give an overview of production, weed and insect control, and general management suggestions for apple trees.

News writer/source: Chris Enroth, 309-837-3939,

URBANA, Ill. – Decorating with mistletoe has been a holiday tradition for many centuries in North America and Europe. It begs the question: Why do we have this strange tradition that prompts friends, family, and even enemies to kiss when they meet underneath mistletoe?

News writer/source: Ron Wolford, 773-233-2900,


URBANA, Ill. – Ron Wolford, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, shares these Christmas tree facts that are sure to spruce up your yuletide knowledge.

Source/writer: Chris Enroth, 309-837-3939,


URBANA, Ill. – After a winter storm, the landscape will likely be breathtaking. But it is a beauty with hidden dangers, said a University of Illinois horticulture educator.

"Small limbs can take on hundreds of pounds of additional weight from snow and especially ice build-up, leaving them ready to snap at the slightest breeze. Avoid walking underneath trees burdened by ice and watch your step," cautioned Chris Enroth.

News source/writer: Bruce J. Black, 815-632-3611,


URBANA, Ill. – Like many life skills, gardening is often learned directly from family members. Grandparents might recruit the grandkids to help water transplants or drop in seeds, setting the stage for a lifetime love of gardening.

News source/writer: Martha Smith, 309-756-9978,

When August arrives, our gardens start to show off their late summer beauty. Butterflies flit from plant to plant, often alighting on members of the Solidago species, commonly known as goldenrods. This native plant has gained popularity in recent years.

University of Illinois Extension welcomes spring at its 40th annual garden day, Gardening for Food, Flowers & Fun. This one-day event offers inspiration, ideas, and innovation for area gardeners. U of I Extension educators, Master Gardeners, and other plant experts will present a variety of education sessions and hands-on workshops.

News Source: Jennifer Fishburn, 217-782-4617

URBANA, Ill. – As the season warms up, many gardeners begin looking forward to their first rhubarb harvests. Although it was first cultivated in central Asia more than 2,000 years ago for its medicinal properties, rhubarb is best known today as an ingredient in our early-summer pies.

The spring series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program, which focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production, gets underway this month. Learn from University of Illinois Extension horticulture experts from the comfort of your home computer! These classes are live so you can ask questions of the presenters.
The first session of the series is titled, Growing Vegetables for Beginners. The program is offered twice–on April 18 at 1:30p.m. and again on April 20 at 6:30 p.m.

News source/writer: Richard Hentschel, 630-584-6166,


URBANA, Ill. – Taking a little time this spring to care for your fruit trees will improve their performance and quality all season, according to University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Richard Hentschel.

University of Illinois Extension is accepting applications to participate in the 2017 Master Gardener Training. Master Gardeners are volunteers that have gone through an eleven week horticulture training course led by Extension Educators. Once training is complete, trainees participate in volunteer work before being designated as "Master Gardeners."