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Getting trees and shrubs ready for winter. Trees with red and orange fall foliage with evergreen shrubs behind

Getting trees and shrubs ready for winter

The leaves are dropping off trees, and many of us are putting our gardens to bed for winter. While preparing the garden for winter, spend a little time preparing your trees and shrubs, too. Doing a few simple things this fall can help protect them from damage this winter and get them off to a good...
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The weight of winter: snow and ice on trees image of ice on dormant tree branches

The weight of winter: Snow and ice on trees

I write this article as I look out at a snow-covered landscape and give thanks for the warmth of my office. It is during these days that I’m reminded of the awesome adaptability of nature. Trees and animals can survive, even thrive, in a climate where temperatures can easily span one-hundred...
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a thirteen-lined ground squirrel eating a seed

Managing thirteen-lined ground squirrel

Gnawing Rodents and Landscape Shrubs This past spring, I found myself at a friend’s house enjoying some barbeque on the back deck. He remarked on the issue they had with ground squirrels, burrowing all over their yard and landscape beds. Later in the year, a phone call came into the office of a...
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pruners cutting dried hydrangeas

How to properly prune hydrangeas

When pruning species that bloom on new wood such as panicle and smooth hydrangeas, you can remove as much as one-third to one-half of the total mass of the shrub. Hydrangeas are a popular blooming woody shrub that add attractive foliage and large, striking blossoms to landscapes. An important part...
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Add some color to your winter landscape by growing holly. Red holly berries and green holly leaves.

Add some color to your winter landscape by growing holly

Needled evergreens like pines, firs, and spruces get most of the attention this time of year. However, broadleaf evergreens like holly also make an appearance during holiday festivities. In addition to providing some decoration for the December holidays, they are also great plants in the landscape...
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diseased lilac leaves

What's wrong with my lilac? Summer foliar diseases on lilac

This year has been good for many plants, but not all. In late spring Central Illinois went through almost three weeks where it rained at least once per day. Many of our plants responded to this favorably. Standing in a pollinator garden a few days ago, the goldenrod towered over me. Our vegetable...
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pots with dormant plants covered in snow clustered together on a porch

Overwintering potted plants

Have you ever gone a little overboard buying plants and run out of room or energy to plant them all in the fall and figured it could wait until spring, only to find out most, or all have died? Or maybe you’ve had a container planter with perennials and excitedly waited for them to resume growth in...
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branches from cherry tree blooming indoors

Bringing Spring Indoors - Forcing Branches

The weather this year has been a bit of a roller coaster. One day it feels like spring, and the next, we are reminded that we’re still in the middle of winter. Despite some of the warmer temperatures we’ve had this year, we still have a way to go before the warm weather sticks around for the long...
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