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Trees

plate of Christmas cookies

Sugar and spice make everything nice

Sugar and spice make everything nice, especially Christmas cookies. But, do you know where your sugar and spice come from? Plants make the sugar glucose during photosynthesis. Certain plants can take excess glucose, create sucrose then stored it in either the stalk or root. This is the sugar we...
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Disposing of your Christmas tree by Bob Frazee

Once the Christmas holiday is over, the chore of taking down and disposing of the cut Christmas tree remains. Today, because of solid waste regulations, most communities will no longer permit the used Christmas trees to be hauled out with the garbage and sent to the sanitary landfill. However,...
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Winterize evergreens to prevent injury

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Last year I had a lot of browning on one of my evergreen yew plants. It is next to the house near the dryer vent. The vent's hot air caused my plant to dry out quickly, with some areas dying completely. This year I am prepared to...
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Selection and Care of Fresh Cut Christmas Trees

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator There is nothing like the smell of a fresh Christmas tree to put you in the holiday spirit. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect tree for your home and assure it stays fresh throughout the holiday season. The first step...
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Live Christmas trees can live years in your landscape

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator If you plan to add an evergreen tree to your landscape next year, consider using it as a Christmas tree now. Unfortunately, this isn't as easy as it sounds. It requires some planning ahead, and only allows a Christmas tree in your...
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Sorghum Syrup and More

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I remember going on the Spoon River Drive each fall with my Grandma and Grandpa Simmons. I loved visiting the old school house in London Mills and eating ham-n-beans scooped from a large cast-iron pot. Each year my Grandpa purchased...
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Tree Cankers and Vascular Wilts on the Rise

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator As I've written in previous blogs, the droughts of 2012 and other recent weather events continue to take a toll on tree health. Trees can take three to five years to show symptoms from a severe event such as drought. Unfortunately...
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Bizarre oak leaf damage

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Every year I get questions about bizarre oak leaf damage that most people think is caused by a terrible insect infestation. Although some insects feed on oak trees, often the samples I see have a condition called Oak Tatters. I have...
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Don't prune oaks now?

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Oak trees are majestic, but some are in danger of a disease. One of the best ways to protect oak trees is to prune them at the proper time. You have probably heard that it is not wise to prune oak trees during the active growing...
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Drought impacts trees for years to come

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I continue to get calls about large, old trees that are in major decline. Many of these are just now showing symptoms from the severe drought of 2012. Major weather events have a detrimental long term effect on landscape plants....
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Spruce Tree Problems

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Many spruce trees are showing dieback this year. According to Rhonda Ferree, extension educator in horticulture, the cold, wet spring has brought out many trees diseases. Many of these diseases are causing significant damage on...
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Pine trees picturesque with age

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Have you ever noticed how a pine tree changes shape as it ages? On my way to Springfield recently, several old pine trees caught my attention. Pine trees have distinctively different needle structure than other evergreens. Pine...
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Do not top trees

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I cringe when I see topped trees. Not only is it unsightly to see a tree in such an unnatural state, it is also harmful to trees. Correct pruning is an essential maintenance practice for ornamental trees and shrubs. However, most...
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Trees in Winter

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Each season brings a different look to the garden. I enjoy each one, but I must say that plants are uniquely beautiful in winter. Now is a great time to see a plant's texture and form - each unique and mystical. Look for the...
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Decorate Safely for the Holidays

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I love decorating for the holidays with live plants. To me just the smell of fresh evergreen wreaths and trees says Happy Holidays. The holiday season has almost no limitations from a decorative standpoint. In addition to the live...
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Repair Storm Damaged Trees with Care

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Tree damage is just part of the devastation that severe storms afflicted throughout Illinois. It is important to use proper pruning techniques to help restore these plants' beauty and health, as well as to protect the safety of the...
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Spoon River Drive in OAKtober

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Every year I do a Spoon River Drive article highlighting natural items for you to look for while on the drive. In honor of OAKtober, this year's spotlight is oaks. The Morton Arboretum news says oak ecosystems have been a...
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Does my tree have Emerald Ash Borer?

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator The dreaded Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) continues to cause havoc across Central Illinois. All four of the counties that I cover as a Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension are included in the quarantine area, which...
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Allergenic Plants

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator If you are an allergy sufferer, spring often brings sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes. One culprit is pollen from flowers of trees, shrubs, grasses, and weeds. Though most of these bloom for just a short period each year,...
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