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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Part of yard without irrigation on 7-13-12
NOTE: We are watering the spruce tree!

Spruce Problems Continue in Illinois

One of the saddest parts of my job is when I cannot help someone save a large tree. Unfortunately, this seems to happen too frequently. Sometimes the tree is too far along to help. Other times it is a problem that we simply cannot do anything about. Such is the case with far too many evergreen trees. Questions about spruce trees and other evergreen problems are very common in our Univer...

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Reusing wooden pallets in the garden

The trend of reusing wooden pallets for gardening seems to have become as popular as ever, said University of Illinois horticulture educator Candice Miller. But there are certain things to consider before such pallets are used, she said. "It's a great idea for the environment to reuse and recycle as much as possible in gardening, but you must also think about the safety of the p...

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The Management of Japanese Beetles Begins Soon

It is not too early to begin preparing for Japanese beetle problems. "It is too early to tell how bad the Japanese beetle problem will be this year," says Rhonda Ferree, extension educator in horticulture with University of Illinois Extension. Here are some tips from Dr. Phil Nixon, Extension Entomologist, University of Illinois, for starting early to help keep Japanese...

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Recipe for Successful Container Gardens

Every year I seem to add another container to my gardens. Containers add new dimension, emphasis, and interest to existing gardens. They extend gardens to windowsills, balconies, porches, or other small paved areas. Containers are also a good alternative for those with limited garden space and time. Anything can be used as a container as long as it has a drainage hole. I mostly use blue...

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Help Available for All Your Garden Questions!

Do you wonder why your crabapple trees are dropping so many yellow leaves or how to deal with those pesky green bugs eating your roses? University of Illinois Extension is here to help answer all your gardening questions using our front line of attack - Master Gardener volunteers (MGs). Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, says that homeowner yard an...

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Virginia bluebells
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Spring Wildflowers

A University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator said that spring walks are very enjoyable. "Many of us look for morel mushrooms, but there is much more to see at the same time," said Rhonda Ferree. "Woodland wildflowers are beautiful and a welcome sign of spring." A common woodland wildflower is the spring beauty ( Claytonia virginica ). This is...

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Japanese maple leafing out, vinca vine in flower, Carlesei viburnum flowering on 3-26-12
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Fragrant Gardens

Spring flowering plants are finally starting to bloom in my yard. Many of those also add great scents to my outdoor gardens. Adding fragrance to a garden excites our senses and adds another dimension to the gardening experience. Here are several examples to try in your garden. Lilacs come in many types, including common lilac ( Syringa vulgaris ), dwarf lilacs ( S. meyeri...

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