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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.)
Now that our days are warming up, so are those outdoor overwintering insects along with our not-so-favorite winter indoor pests.
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.
Note: this is the fourth post in a series on fruit trees. Read part one.
Note: this is part three of a series on fruit trees. Read part one.
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:
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.
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.