URBANA, Ill. – Many Americans only know chestnuts from the famous line, "chestnuts roasting on an open fire," from the 1945 song, "Merry Christmas to You," by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé. Prior to its demise in the first half of the 20th century, the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was one of the largest and most important timber- and nut-producing trees in the eastern United States.
Companion Planting Workshop
Please join University of Illinois Extension Horticulture program in Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties for a series of workshops designed to teach the community how to grow. The workshops teach both novice and avid gardener's skills to grow flowers and vegetables fruitfully. Please visit the local Extension website for a full schedule of topics, dates and locations of upcoming classes – web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw.
Did you know that with minimal investment, you can open a hotel? Insect hotels offer places for beneficial insects and pollinators to survive winter's chill and to nest in spring and summer. You can use them to employ garden warriors in any flower bed, vegetable garden, or fruit orchard.
Start your gardening endeavors this fall by using plant materials (organic matter) that you would normally put on the curb for pick-up. Whether you use the trench, keyhole, mound (also known as Hugelkultur) gardening methods, you will be creating a growing environment that requires no fertilizer, little irrigation and ideal for root growth.
Spring Sweetness: Strawberries
1. It takes 15-60 visits from pollinators for one plump strawberries. Adding pollinators to the garden can increase yield by over 500%.
2. Strawberry plants decline in quality and production after a few years so are typically replanted.
3. Strawberries are picked with part of the stem still attached.
4. Seventy per cent of a strawberry's roots are located in the top three inches of soil.
5. On average, there are 200 seeds in a strawberry.
One of the most prolific birds of prey seen in Illinois is the Red -tailed Hawk. They are frequently seen along roadsides perched in trees, on light poles, and fence poles. When you see a hawk, you are most likely seeing a Red -tailed Hawk.
Woolly aphids typically feed on two hosts during a 1-year period, with most species apparently having to switch hosts. This host-switching occurs in various species from late June to late July, and fuzzy adult females that look like flying lint seemingly drifting on the wind are their means of getting to the other host.
Top Tree Diseases & Insects Workshop
One thing I constantly get asked when assisting with the Master Gardener help desks, is "How do I grow grass under a tree?" The answer usually is, "You don't grow grass under trees."
It can be very difficult to create a nice-looking stand because most grasses need sun to grow and the roots of trees (especially if they are shallow) will steal the water and nutrients.
Kokedama String Ball Garden Workshop
Few people like 90+ degree temperatures. Plants aren't far behind. On hot days, plants can lose water faster than roots absorb it, even if sufficient soil moisture is available. In these conditions, you can watch the plants wilt, leaves droop, and stems seem to flop. If the soil is moist, the plants start to recover as the sun sets. By morning, they look turgid, only to begin the cycle again when the sun shines hard. This is what we are currently seeing in Illinois.
Four Seasons Gardening Program Offers Spring Series
Ella Maxwell of Hoerr Nursery to Present at 'A Day in the Garden Patch'
Staghorn Fern: A Growing Work of Art
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Do you have an empty spot on your wall that is just screaming for a touch of green? "Create a unique art installment this winter in the form of a beautifully mounted Staghorn Fern," states University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup.
These dangerous carrots cause photo-dermatitis. Cow parsnip, wild parsnip, and giant hogweed contain an allergen that is activated by sunlight to cause rash, blisters, or other skin irritations in susceptible people.
Cow Parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) is a native plant that can reach eight feet tall. Like the hemlocks, its flowers are white, but cow parsnip flowers are larger, growing to 10 inches across. The large flowers were obvious as we rode past them on the motorcycle.
University of Illinois Extension Woodford Master Gardener program welcomes nine new interns to the county. The interns participated in the first Master Gardener training conducted here in Woodford County. They join a group of 15 active Master Gardeners. After completing 11 sessions in all subjects' horticulture, the interns have already started sharing their garden knowledge in the community.
For Immediate Release:
"Brussels sprouts were the high point of numerous meals over my holiday season. I must admit I have never grown this delectable vegetable because it is known to be a slow-growing vegetable, but now have aspirations to make it part of my fall harvest this year," states University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup.
Hostas are among some of the most cherished perennials of all time, creating a lush pallet of bright greens, muted greens, chartreuse greens, variegated greens and creams, and blue greens.
They come in miniature versions to lofting leaves as tall as a small child. Hostas are commonly described as ''fabulous foliage plants" by the industry but some of their blooms can be exceedingly showy, exceptionally fragrant and especially attractive to hummingbirds and bees.
Please join Ginny Hodgson and the University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardeners at the "Gardeners' Gathering" from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 16 at the Great Oaks Community Church, located at 515 Rt. IL-116 in Germantown Hills. Past participants have said this is the best gardening event in Woodford County, so registration will fill up quickly. A $20 registration fee will include morning refreshments, two stellar presentations, one hands-on workshop where you will make your very own container of unique succulents.
Adult Japanese beetles have been reported in southern, central, and northern Illinois. Early control reduces damage through the six weeks that they are actively feeding as beetles are attracted to previous feeding damage.
She's unassuming. She's loud. She's somewhat inappropriate -- that is, if you were thinking you were going to get gardening advice from your grandma. She describes herself as a grade below Martha Stewart and uses common sense to distill her gardening woes.
Join the University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners for the third herb class of the summer at their Herb Garden located in Illinois State University Horticulture Center on Raab Road in Normal. On August 17 at 10 a.m., a program entitled "What to do with your fragrant herbs" will be presented to all who want to learn how to do more with their herbs.
Praying Mantis have been stalking our gardens and startling our young but are a good sign of a healthy ecosystem. Praying Mantis get their name from a Greek word meaning "prophet," "seer" or "diviner." How they stand when they are in position to catch their prey underwrites their name. Two things contribute to high numbers of praying mantis. They are larger later in the season and therefore more noticeable by an unsuspecting passerby, and warm temperatures cause populations to grow faster.
BLOOMINGTON, IL. — The Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference (ISCAOC) will be held January 11-13, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. The conference, which features nearly 100 speakers and 60 trade show exhibitors, will again host four concurrent preconference workshops, general sessions and breakout sessions aimed at helping Illinois specialty growers cultivate their operations.
Fertilize your spring flowering bulbs with a slower-releasing granular of one to two pounds of 10-10-10 per 100 square feet when shoots first appear in spring and ideally four to six weeks before bloom. Adding fertilizer in spring produces healthy and robust foliage which consequently allows bulb's to increase stored carbohydrates that will produce a larger bloom the next year. Work in granular fertilizer shallowly around the bulbs. Repeat this application in the early fall when newly growing roots start spreading.
The popular tree pruning workshop is back, and this year will be led by Illinois State University's own Patrick Murphy. Patrick is a horticulturist and curator of the Fell Arboretum that boasts thousands of trees, including 154 different species. Patrick will demonstrate the correct pruning techniques during this hands-on workshop.
Would you like to try growing something new in your vegetable garden this year? "These unusual but elegant vegetables are sure to give you restaurant-quality meals throughout the summertime," claims University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup.
Haricot vertsare long, graceful and lean beans that grow between 4 to 6 inches long. One plant of these sweet green beans will yield a half pound of produce. 'Finaud,' 'Tavera' and 'Nickel' are the most tender because of their small seeds.
Pollinator gardens are on trend whether you are novice or a professional. University of Illinois Extension has developed a program called Pollinator Pockets giving homeowners resources to start their own pocket gardens. They have created designs that are easy to replicate. All you have to do is find the plants and build your pollinator oasis. They utilize a mix of native perennials, non-native cultivars like Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and annuals that most pollinators love.
Add A Fresh Evergreen Centerpiece to Your Holiday Table
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Simplify the holidays by purchasing an evergreen centerpiece created by University of Illinois Extension-Livingston County Master Gardeners. Master Gardeners are celebrating the holidays with rich, textural, aromatic evergreens, colorful ribbons, and earthy pine cones all tucked into a 6" decorative container that are ready for the holiday table or as the perfect gift. The cost is $25 and all proceeds from the centerpiece sale go back into their programs and community projects.
The University of Illinois Extension Livingston County Master Gardeners and the Yost House Museum are partnering for a program about herbs on Saturday, August 20 from 1 to 2 p.m. on the grounds of the Yost House. The house will also be open for tours from 1 to 5 p.m. on that day.
Home, Lawn and Garden Day
A new invasive species, jumping worm (Amynthasspp.), was identified in Illinois in 2015. By the end of the year these worms had been confirmed in three northern counties: Cook, DuPage, and McHenry. A worm from far southern Illinois in Williamson County was examined at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic and confirmed as a jumping worm, drastically increasing the range of this worm in Illinois.
With damaged lawns in the news lately, I thought I would share tips on renovating lawns this spring from fellow University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Chris Enroth.
Spring is a time when we must go into landscape rehab mode. Mother Nature has shown her friendly side with the warmer winter temperatures and a handful of good rain and snow events. With the soil moisture up and temperatures warming, it is time to think about overseeding your lawn.
URBANA, Ill. – Plant enthusiasts should check out tillandsia this holiday season, according to University of Illinois Extension educator Kelly Allsup.
"Even if you describe yourself as a brown thumb and are allergic to soil, you are going to love growing these super easy plants. The strappy tillandsia plants come in different sizes, textures, and colors and you are sure to find one to fit your holiday décor," Allsup says.
University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardeners celebrate this summer with the sweet aroma and culinary delight of herbs from the garden in a program entitled "It's a Culinary Delight!" Learn how to grow herbs, revel in the "tastes" of the landscape with Master Gardener treats and discover new and inventive ways to use your herbs on Tuesday, September 27 at 5 p.m. on the Woodford County Courthouse lawn in Eureka.
"The major houseplant migration, along with the bananas that are ripening on my counter have caused fungus gnat chaos in my kitchen," states University of Illinois Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup. Flying gnats have not only populated my home but they have thrived. Another factor that may have contributed to this pest is compost collecting. Without natural pest predators to take care of the problem, I must consider other options.
Seed Starting at Eureka Public Library
Learn to start seeds like a professional with the University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardeners, and check out your first seeds from the Eureka Public Library's seed library for free at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26. Seating is limited, so make sure to register by calling the Eureka Public Library at (309) 467-2922. The library is located at 202 S. Main St, Eureka. If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend this program, please contact the Woodford County Extension Office at (309)467-3789.
The Bald Eagle has inspired feelings of majesty and strength long before it became the symbol of the United States. This bird looks strong and powerful and awe inspiring when in flight or sitting on a perch. The way that the Bald Eagle looks makes it easy to see how it was chosen as the national emblem of the United States, though long before the birth of this nation, it was a strong spiritual symbol for the Native Americans.
They are lichens, and they are not harmful to your tree but an indication that you live in an area with good air quality. It can be common to see lichens growing on trees in Illinois, but they can also grow on rocks, homes and barns.Lichens are a symbiotic combination of algae and a fungus.
Small Garden Pizazz in Gridley
University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners start their educational series in Gridley at 2 p.m. on April 23 at the Gridley Public Library with Amy Davis presenting on "Small Garden Pizazz." This program is free to all and no registration is required.
Mitigating Winter Damage to Trees and Woody Shrubs workshop
Please join the University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardeners for a hands-on workshop titled Mitigating Winter Damage to Trees and Woody Shrubs on Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Eureka Public Library. Illinois State University's Patrick Murphy will lead this workshop just in time for you to learn the skills to prune and repair your landscape trees like a professional.
The fall series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program, which focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production, is underway this month. The first session of the series is titled, Mysterious Modifications: Plants That Grow in Unusual Ways.