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Good Growing

Keeping you growing with good ideas

What to do When Trees are Damaged in a Wind Storm

Following a series of windy days and storms with high winds in Central Illinois, several homeowners have contacted the Extension office with storm-damaged trees. We have received reports on large sections of trees lost, gashes left in the trunks of trees, and large splits in tree trunks. What do you do when a severe windstorm damages your landscape trees? Obviously, during an outbreak o...

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Be a Plant Detective

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

During the gardening season I always get calls or emails asking what's wrong with a plant and what can be sprayed to help make it better. If you're like me, we love our plants and we want to make sure that they continue to grow healthy and happy in our landscape. It's always sad seeing a plant that is slowly fading away for one reason or another and we sit and try to figure out what is going wr...

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A Bad Year for Ticks? Take Steps to Protect Yourself

Earlier this week during my lunch break, I sat in my home dining room eating with my three-year-old. As our conversation strayed from preschool to Star Wars, a slight tickle on my side encouraged a scratch. Reaching over, I felt through my shirt the slightest bump. Immediately, it was clear this was no ordinary itch to scratch. I had a tick crawling up my side. Going to the bathroom, I...

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Proper Mulching - Save plants, save money

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

This past Friday was Arbor Day and I was working with a local community to help celebrate by planting a tree. Of course one of the important parts of planting a tree is making sure to mulch the tree after planting. I've spoken before on the benefits of mulch but with the gardening season really winding up, I figured it was worth it to revisit proper mulching and the benefits it provides....

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Rose/Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) emerging in my backyard

How Will the Early Arrival of Monarch Butterflies Impact Populations for 2017?

Last week, (April 20, 2017) a client brought in a sample to the Knox County Extension office. The sample was an unknown plant needing identification. Upon initial inspection, the plant was undoubtedly milkweed, likely common milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca ). However, this couldn't be. My milkweed growing in the backyard in Macomb had not yet emerged, and the sample before me stood six inch...

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Trees Do More Then Just Look Good

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

Next Friday, April 28 th is Arbor Day. The day to celebrate trees and to plant trees. Of course in my mind I don't need a specific day to plant trees, but Arbor Day is a great way to bring awareness to the importance of trees in the environment and communities. In past articles, I've written about proper tree planting and the where to's and the how to's. This time I'm going to...

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Dandelion: What makes this weed so great?

"Dad, come look at all the bees!" exclaimed my two young boys last weekend. We were in Quincy visiting my mother-in-law. The kids were playing outside, and they had made a tremendous discovery. Dandelions covered in bees. Dandelions ( Taraxacum officianle ) are often regarded as the bane of our lawns and gardens. Dandelion's seed dispersal and resilience to all manner of controls...

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