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Invasive Species

Berries on Burning Bush

Burning bush threatens migrating birds

Some years ago, it was shocking to learn that one of my favorite ornamental shrubs, burning bush (Euonymus alatus), is invasive.   It took a while for this news to sink in, and after seeing it invade woodlands across southern Illinois, I finally came to terms with the bad news....
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A spotted lanternfly on a red flower.

Spotted lanternfly spotted in Illinois

Invasive species are putting continual pressure on plants and animals in Illinois, which is only expected to intensify in the coming years.  This means we all need to be vigilant for new threats and aware of their impact when new invasives arrive. Last month, experts confirmed the arrival a...
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Bindweed on top of straw in a garden

Managing Bindweed a difficult task

Occasionally, a weed pops up that commands attention due to its aggressive habit.  Action must be taken quickly to avoid its establishment in the landscape, or years of control efforts will ensue.  Knowing when a tiny invading plant should be taken seriously can be difficult for a...
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Invasive Species and Birds

Nearly every deciduous plant in the Illinois landscape has lost it leaves for the year, except for one standout.  The non-native, invasive shrubs collectively referred to as bush honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) have not quite lost them yet, which makes it noticeable this time of year....
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poison hemlock flowers

Poison hemlock toxicity risk and control

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) has received a lot of attention lately, with reports of expanding populations statewide and subsequent increased human contact with this toxic plant. However, there is some confusion about the risk this plant poses to humans and animals,...
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stacked firewood

Invasive species hitchhike on firewood

Nothing beats the warmth of a crackling fireplace on these coldest days of the year.  Each winter, as my family enjoys the cozy warmth of our woodstove room, I’m always thankful for the firewood supply we’ve been fortunate enough to accumulate over the past season. I enjoy the process of...
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Non-native, invasive jumping worms can be identified by a cloudy white band that completely encircles the worm’s body

Jumping Worms Invade Illinois

Each gardening season there seems to be a new invasive species we have to worry about.  Unfortunately, this is the sad reality of our ever-globalizing economies.  Despite the best measures to track and limit the indiscriminate spread of exotic biota, regulatory agencies and the industries...
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wild parnsnip

The wild carrot family is full of harmful plants

The plant world is filled with amazing feats of both helpful and harmful attributes when you consider all the ways that humans interact with our floral friends. Everything from disease treatments or cures, to irritating rashes and seasonal allergies, or even highly toxic compounds all come...
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The brown marmorated stink bug is an increasingly detrimental pest on wide range of agricultural crops that commonly seeks shelter in our homes over winter.  Photo credit – Kelly Allsup, Illinois Extension

Unwanted Winter Houseguests

Insects are a celebrated part of our natural ecosystems, but when they enter our homes, it’s rarely anything to celebrate.  Each fall as cold weather closes in, there are a few usual suspects that surface at my house to cause a hubbub.  However, these exotic houseguests are rarely a...
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Burning bush (red leaves) and bush honeysuckle (green leaves with red berries) are very easily identifiable in fall as leaves change.  Changes in plant processes this time of year make control of these exotic, invasive species more effective in fall as well.

Fall Color and Phenology

Fall color is upon us with so many plants entering their annual push toward winter dormancy and putting on a great display in the meantime.  As deciduous plants show their true colors this time of year, it offers the observer an opportunity to quickly identify many species by the color and...
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The tufted seedheads of reed canary grass are easily noticed this time of year.

Plant Phenology for Identification

There are so many plants in nature that tend to reveal themselves during some kind of phenological event, such as flowering or fruit set, and then scream for attention.   For example, consider Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum), which one of my favorite native wildflowers, frequenting...
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burning bush

Burning Bush

This past week, the vivid red leaves of our native maples have really stolen the show, reaching near peak fall color for the year.  I have always loved the brilliant red colors of autumn leaves, making burning bush (Euyonomous alata) an old favorite of mine. However, in recent...
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illinois forest

Forest Management, HIPP and RCPP

The management of Illinois’ forests has become an increasingly difficult task for landowners focused on maintaining and enhancing native plant diversity.  I have often thought of it as a similar process to weeding a vegetable garden, with a diverse mix of our native forest trees as the...
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creekbed garlic mustard

Garlic Mustard and Phenology

It’s beginning to feel more like spring and I know that many of us are anxiously awaiting the awakening of the plant world.  Although we all know spring is sure to come, it would be nice to have some assurances on the timing and date of warm weather’s arrival.  Unfortunately, that’s just...
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spotted wing drosophila

Spotted Wing Drosophila

In our increasingly globalized society, invasive species have become somewhat of a way of life as we continuously intermix the world’s biota. Plants and animals from other continents tend to find their way to our landscapes and often are here for good.  As a gardener, it’s difficult to keep up...
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Japanese beetles emerge each June to feed on a variety of host plants, like this rose.

Japanese Beetle Emergence

Last week, I notice the first of an annual pest in our area that is always unwelcome to anyone that gardens.  Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) adults emerge from the ground every June to voraciously consume a plethora of plants.  Although there are certainly plants these...
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amur bush honeysuckle

Exotic Invader, Bush Honeysuckle

This time of fall, most of our native, deciduous vegetation is turning beautiful autumn colors and nearing the annual leaf drop that occurs before winter.  In the next few weeks all of our native vegetation will drop the leaves that have worked so hard to produce energy all year.  However...
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