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Good Growing 2016

What's In A Name

I was presenting a program the other day and a question came up asking if a plant was related to another plant since they had similar common names. It got me to thinking how important it is to understand the difference between common names and scientific names of plants. Common names are just that...
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What's Your Gardening Muse

I was on Facebook the other day and was so excited when I saw a picture of beautiful flowers in bloom, sun shining and saying 8 weeks until spring. Of course, I immediately had to share it as it had me smiling and I wanted to make other fellow gardener's smile at the thought that spring is on the...
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Peach Leaf Curl

The University of Illinois Extension serves as a leader in the state for offering research-based advice on a multitude of topics. My role as a horticulture educator places me in the realm of anything that grows, creeps, crawls, or flies. Tree fruit questions have been the most common among...
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Here We Go Again – The Great Japanese Beetle Return

They're baaack!! Japanese Beetles are buzzing and flying again and have already begun to feed on some of their most favorite plants including lindens, grapes and roses. With the emergence of Japanese Beetles, people usually also begin to ask about grub control. First off, in regards to Japanese...
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Thinking Ahead to Warmer Days and Greener Lawns

As of today (February 10, 2016) there is a little over 5 weeks left until Spring! I am more than ready for Spring to arrive….I want to open windows and get back out in the yard and get my garden cleaned up from last year. Granted, as we are all well aware, even once it's officially Spring, Mother...
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How Trees Get Their Fall Colors

It feels like just yesterday summer showed up and now its fall and October is here and is leaving me wondering just where has 2016 gone? Cooler days means it's easier to work in the yard and of course being outdoors means we can enjoy the gorgeous colors of fall. How plants get their fall coloring...
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Garden Vocabulary: Water Grass

It started as any normal phone call. A homeowner had contacted the Extension office with a question on controlling a grassy weed in her lawn. A weed she knew was ubiquitous in the world of lawn care. However, when she said the name, "water grass", I was dumbfounded. The voice on the other end of...
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Give a little TLC to Your Houseplants

The other day I bought a brand new bag of potting mix and with some warm weather happily potted up a new houseplant I had purchased in the wonderful sunshine streaming on my back porch. The smell of a freshly opened bag of potting mix makes any gardener's heart begin to sing. It's been a long dark...
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Horticultural Pet Peeves

There are some things I need to get off of my chest and what better place to vent, than a news column. In a profession from astronaut to zookeeper and all careers in between, we learn and do tasks, which in our mind, are the best practices. Imagine you are a professional shower tile installer, and...
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Mulching and Wood Chips

There are many times people will call with questions about what they can do to help their trees grow better (cultural practices) or what they can use to help keep weeds out of the garden. One of my suggestions always is mulch. Now it should be stated that mulch is just one component of good...
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Have I Missed a Chance to Prune My Spring Shrubs?

Yesterday as I pulled into my driveway, I was looking at the shrubs in my front yard and that sudden realization of just how overgrown they had become. In the back of my mind I knew that they needed to be pruned, but I didn't really want to admit that I had let that happen, but sometimes things do...
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Cool Weather Attracts Wildlife Inside

Chirp, chirp, chirp. In my mind, the hum of crickets chirping away outside is very relaxing. In the spring we open our windows and sleep with the soothing sounds of the night outside. Chirp, chirp, chirp. Something changes when that lone cricket enters our house. Instead of a nighttime symphony, we...
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Mosquito management: Avoid the bite

Let it be known that in my family I hold the record for number of mosquito bites at one time. While on a vacation in the coastal swamps of Georgia (yes I said 'vacation'), I racked up over 100 mosquito bites. So what makes a person more attractive to mosquitoes than others? Here are a few things...
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Western IL/NE MO Notill/ Crop Management Conference

Producers are concerned about making a profit on corn and soybeans this year in light of declining crop prices and steady input costs. Looking back over crop prices the past few years, the last time period that saw soybean prices similar to today was in 2009. But input costs have increased sharply...
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What is Your Land Ethic?

"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." –Leopold 1938 What is your land ethic? It is a question to ask of us humans these days. Our ethic toward the land...
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Get Growing with Cool Season Vegetables

60 degree days have already arrived even though the next day the temperatures fell back into the 30's, but spring is definitely on its way. Even my tulips are up out of the ground a few inches and it won't be long before the tulips will be in bloom. Not only does the thought of spring flowers make...
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Moths can be Pollinators?

As usual some days trying to figure out what to write on can be difficult, that is until you are sent photos of a very large caterpillar that needs to be identified. A colleague of mine sent me a few photos of this very large green caterpillar that had what looked like yellow horns on its head and...
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Summer at the Creek: Cultivating our future in conservation

It was a hot late-summer day. A yellow school bus plodded away, leaving a cloud of dust in its wake. Songbirds sang while the leaves rustled, patiently holding on till autumn called them from their perch. The forest was still, as the crunch of leaves beneath hopscotching squirrels echoed on the...
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Spring Lawn Care - What Should You Really Be Doing

It's March and now is the time that everyone starts thinking about lawn care. The grass is greening up and plants are starting to grow again, daffodils are blooming, and garden work has started. You may be looking at your lawn and wondering where to start, maybe you have a few bare patches or the...
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Tri State Local Food Summit

The tri state area will host a Local Foods Summit on Saturday, Feb. 20th, at JWCC in Quincy. The program has educational sessions for both producers as well as consumers, and will provide a plethora of information addressing the importance of local foods. Dr. John Ikerd, who is known throughout the...
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