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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Lawncare

Dog Gone Lawn by Chris Enroth

How do dogs harm lawns? Chris Enroth, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, explains. First is the traffic. Very often backyard dogs will wear down paths in the grass from circling or pacing. Not only is this hard on the lawn itself but it also leads to compacted soils, making reestablishing turf in these locations even more challenging. And then you have...

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lawn totalitarian

LAWN MOWING GUIDELINES by Sandy Mason

LAWN MOWING GUIDELINES Sandra Mason State Master Gardener Coordinator slmason@illinois.edu For better or worse the drone of busy lawn mowers is heard throughout the summ...

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crabgrass

Control Crabgrass in the Lawn NOW

The odd weather patterns over the past few years have played havoc on my lawn. As a result, I now have out-of-control crabgrass in areas of my front yard. Crabgrass is an annual weedy grass that, from a distance, blends into your lawn during the summer. Upon close inspection, it can be identified by its wide leaf blade and light green color. During the summer, this low growing weed can...

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lawn totalitarian

Rhonda's Top FIVE Turf Tips

Warm temperatures this winter have caused some lawns to green up early. This could impact the timing of various spring lawncare activities, such as seeding, fertilizing, mowing, and weed control. Here are a five turf tips to consider this season. 1. FERTILIZE at the proper time. Most homeowners only need one application a year, which should be done in early September. This helps the gra...

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living with wildlife website

Choose Treatment Properly for Moles

Moles become active each spring, with tunnels appearing as raised areas of soil in lawns and garden beds. "Questions about mole control are probably the most common question I've received in my 27 years with University of Illinois Extension," says Rhonda Ferree, Extension Educator in Horticulture. "Mole damage is frustrating and unfortunately homeowners sometimes resort to costly, ineffective,...

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Dandelion with pollinator next to white clover
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Microclovers…A New Lawn Alternative

I enjoy the focus on green, shamrocks, and clovers that St. Patrick's Day brings each year. It reminds me of the hours I'd spend as a kid searching for four leaf clovers in our yard. There are many different types of clovers that grow in Central Illinois. Technically, clover is the common name for plants of the genus Trifolium . All clovers are in the legume (pea) family. Many a...

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seeding lawn with push spreader
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Fall Seeding a New Lawn

The best time to seed a new lawn or overseed an existing lawn is in late summer. In Central Illinois, seeding in late summer (August to September) has a much higher success rate than seeding in spring. "Warm days and cool nights combined with more regular rainfall are ideal conditions for seedling growth," explains Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension. "Also,...

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front lawn on 6-11-12
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To Water Lawns or Not

Whether or not to water the lawn is a perennial question for homeowners. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, offers the following advice to help you decide whether to water your lawn this year or not. "When the hot, dry weather arrives, each homeowner needs to decide if they want a green lawn, or if they are willing to let it go dormant," said Rho...

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club moss at fern clyffe
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Mosses…Friend or Foe

If you look at ferns, mosses, lichens, and club moss closely, they look like something right out of a fairytale. In fact, these non-flowering plants do have their very own kingdom in the plant world. Instead of reproducing by flowers and seeds, these plants use spores to multiply. There are more than 13,000 species of mosses, which are small, primitive, leafy, green plants that develop...

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Fairy Rings

Do you have fairy rings in your yard? After reading this article you might decide that you do. Fairy rings are an interesting situation that is quite noticeable this time of year. Fairy ring usually appears in the lawn as circles or arcs of dark green, lush, fast growing grass. These rings are most commonly between 2 and 15 feet in diameter. Since a fungus causes fairy ring you may see mushroo...

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Sedge as a lawn alternative

Lawn Alternatives

Do you tire of mowing grass or want to add more diversity to your garden? Lawn alternatives are a growing garden trend. It seems that every trade show, conference, and symposium I've attended this winter includes reference to various plants we can use instead of traditional grass. The most commonly mentioned plant is sedge. There are many different types of sedge. Some grow in deep shade while...

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Compost bins at Illinois governors mansion in Springfield, IL
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Recycled Leaves Make Inexpensive Mulch

Fall brings wiener roasts, festivals, and leaf removal. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, suggests making good use of the fallen leaves in your yard. The tree leaves that accumulate in and around your landscape represent a valuable natural resource that can be used to provide a good source of organic matter and nutrients for use...

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Fall Lawn Care

The summer of 2013 has been much better for lawn care than last year considering the amount of rainfall this spring and milder, daily temperatures, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "The lawns have had a good year to recover, and lawns are looking so much better, yet there will always be some areas in the lawn that could be improved," Richard Hentschel...

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Rhonda's Top 10 Turf Tips

For pdf of factsheet that includes pictures, go to http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/downloads/47563.pdf 1. FERTILIZE at proper time, depending on grass quality. If only do one application a year – Early September Two applications a year – Ear...

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Spring Lawn Seeding Tips

Unfortunately, we will soon see how much last summer's drought impacted various plants in our landscapes. It may take 3 to 5 years to see the impact on trees, but other plants respond quicker. Although most lawns revived much better than expected last fall, I anticipate that many lawns will need some renovation this spring. Here are some spring seeding tips from University of Illinois Extension ho...

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Fall Lawn Care

Will your yard lawn survive this summer's drought? "Unfortunately I see too many lawns that look dead instead of dormant this summer", says Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension. If the grass doesn't tug when you pull on it and you can't find white roots when you dig it up, it is probably dead. Many lawns have large dead patches in them....

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