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Protect your Landscape from Rabbits this Winter

Colder weather, frozen soil, fallen and windblown leaves, and later any accumulated snow, all will force rabbits to take shelter and begin to look for food anywhere they can. Once the ground is frozen, rabbits will have fewer places to take shelter or hide. Foraging for food will mean staying a lot closer to the protection of their winter home. While the weather remains favorable, rabbits feed...

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Late Season Vegetable Storage Tips

Many Master Gardener Help Desk calls at the end of this growing season have been about garden cleanup, as would be expected. Yet other calls have been about handling expected or bonus yields of late season produce, especially root crops and the hard rind squashes. Q: We still have carrots in the garden, and do not want them to go to waste. How can we store them for a while lon...

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Drought to Drowning

Our latest weather pattern is making outdoor fall clean up more difficult than usual. It always can seem overwhelming, but even more so this year thanks to several long rain events. For example, just keeping up (again) with the flush of the lawn has been hard, but add in finding a time when the ground is firm enough and grass dry enough, is the real challenge. While at a recent meeting...

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Down the Garden Path

Good gardening questions

As our gardening season is winding down, questions to the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteers have been mixed, and they have been really good questions to share with others: Q: My white pine is losing many needles on the inside, is that normal? A: White pines, like all needled evergreens, naturally let go of one set of needles a...

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Birdseed and firewood

Birdseed and firewood are two common topics that come up this time of year. Both take some planning to be successful. Feeding the birds means starting earlier than later. Birds need to know early on that there will be something to eat on a regular basis if you want them to hang around in your yard. Rather than buying seed that has a little bit of everything for every bird out there, consider s...

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Houseguests Even Before the Holidays

Just about a month ago, I wrote about getting those houseplants back inside after vacationing in the backyard or on the patio. Now, there are other parts of nature that are trying to follow suit, but are really uninvited houseguests. This includes any kind of insect critter that has begun to look for a place to overwinter and wants to stay warm as long as possible. One that you can count on ev...

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Where has all the water gone?

This column has frequently addressed the need to water new plantings, transplanted trees, shrubs and evergreens added to the landscape. Little has been written regarding water management on what we would all call our "well-established" landscape plants in the yard. Most of us give little thought that those big oaks, maples, pines and spruce could use our help. The last time the hot, dr...

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