If you didn’t know, we are cultivating invasive trees in backyards and urban settings. Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and Amur corktree (Phellodendron amurense) are outcompeting surrounding plants and invading natural areas contributing to the loss of native species in Illinois. 

Photo by Nick Windsor via Unsplash

For vibrant cut flowers this season, plant summer bulbs like dahlias, gladiolus, and lilies.

These summer-blooming tropical bulbs are called ‘tender bulbs’ because they can be killed by our cold temperatures if left outdoors during the winter, or if they’re planted too early in the spring. They do need well drained soils, but consistent watering. 

Amorpha canescens - Lead Plant - Layne Knoche

Whether you have an area around your home that gets full sun or shade, is wet or dry, there is a native shrub option for you. Native shrubs are touted as easier to care for and provide ecosystem services like flowers for pollinators and berries for birds. When planting native shrubs, plant in groups and water during the establishment period.  

Full sun but need additional water during drought: 

Callery Pear on forest edge - Photo by Chris Evans, University of Illinois Extension

Do you see those beautiful white flowering trees lining the streets and backyards? These delicate white blossoms, made brighter by the months of winter endured, are actually an environmental hazard to the Illinois wilds. Callery Pear season is upon us.

witch hazel (fothergilla) flowers - photo by kelly allsup

When creating a landscape, shrubs make up a large portion of the design. Shrubs are a great way to start building the blue print and creating a framework in you landscape design. Most landscapers plant them in groups and always account for mature size rather than trying to control size with pruning. Here are some tips to add more shrubs and or upstate existing plantings in your landscape this year.  

tree cookies hanging from woody vine

Anyone can make their holiday season a little more earth friendly with a new family tradition: recycling the tree!

bulbs, pixabay

As many perennial plants are getting ready to go dormant for the winter, it is time to start thinking about next spring’s floral display and plant spring-flowering bulbs. The best time to plant spring bulbs is late September through October to allow sufficient time for a good root system to develop before winter. Depending on the location, spring bulbs begin blooming in late February (snowdrops) and continue until late June (alliums).