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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Disaster Resources
Drip irrigation in a raised bed garden.
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Wise Watering Tips for Gardeners

What is the best way to water plants? Community watering restrictions, rural water shortages, and high water costs sometimes require homeowners to make some tough decisions about outdoor water use. Here are ten wise watering tips for gardeners. Establish plant priority needs for water by watering only your most valuable plants. Consider a plants value, its replac...

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State champion Bald Cypress tree in Southern Illinois along Cache River basin. That is my husband Mark kayaking up to it. It is only accessible by watercraft. The tip of my yellow kayak is shown at the bottom of the pictures - among the duckweed and watermeal.
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Waterlogged Plants

Central Illinois continues to receive excessive spring rains, which have resulted in waterlogged soils and flooding. Rhonda Ferree, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, says "It is important to understand what is happening to plants growing in these conditions and what to expect later." Rhonda describes this as "a wait-and-see situation." Many herbaceous plants are experienci...

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Maple in decline with possible verticillium wilt.
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Tree Cankers and Vascular Wilts on the Rise

As I've written in previous blogs, the droughts of 2012 and other recent weather events continue to take a toll on tree health. Trees can take three to five years to show symptoms from a severe event such as drought. Unfortunately trees under stress are less able to fight off insect and disease problems. Plant diagnosticians at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic describe the follow...

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Oak tatters on white oak on 7-13-12
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Don't Prune Oaks Now?

Oak trees are majestic, but some are in danger of a disease. One of the best ways to protect oak trees is to prune them at the proper time. You have probably heard that it is not wise to prune oak trees during the active growing season. The actual act of pruning does not harm the tree. The problem involves what you will attract to the tree—insects that may carry the oak wilt fungus....

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ems oakwilt 8-06

Drought Impacts Trees for Years to Come

I continue to get calls about large, old trees that are in major decline. Many of these are just now showing symptoms from the severe drought of 2012. Major weather events have a detrimental long term effect on landscape plants. Many people feel that large trees won't be harmed by drought because they have large root system. This is not the case. Instead we often see substantial tree di...

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Repair Storm Damaged Trees with Care

Tree damage is just part of the devastation that severe storms afflicted throughout Illinois. It is important to use proper pruning techniques to help restore these plants' beauty and health, as well as to protect the safety of the home area and workers. University of Illinois Extension Educator Rhonda Ferree suggests the following procedures. "Tree damage, unless it's a hazard or...

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ems oakwilt 8-06
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Dead and Dying Trees on the Increase

The droughts of 2011 and 2012 continue to take a toll on tree health. Rhonda Ferree, Extension Educator in horticulture, says that trees can take three to five years to show symptoms from a severe event such as drought. Unfortunately trees under stress are less able to fight off insect and disease problems. Plant diagnosticians at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic describe the following...

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Landscaping Following a Disaster

"Last fall's Central Illinois tornadoes, the severe winter, and previous summer droughts have all had devastating effects on landscape plant materials, says Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, "Dealing with these problems requires a basic understanding of the type of damage that occurred, as well as the best management practices required to addres...

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Evergreen Tree Problems Intensified by Drought

This summer's drought is tough on many landscape and garden plants. Unfortunately, plants already stressed by previous problems are in major jeopardy during this drought. According to Rhonda Ferree, extension educator in horticulture, the odd weather patterns in recent years has brought out many trees diseases. Spruce and pine trees are particularly at risk. "Calls from...

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2012 Drought Warning! WATER your Landscape and Garden Plants

This year is quickly becoming one of the driest in history. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, says that if your yard is like hers, your landscape plants are suffering from the dry conditions. The rapid onset of poor looking landscape plants is cause for concern. Here are some resources with more information about how to manage plants during this drought...

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Part of yard without irrigation on 7-13-12
NOTE: We are watering the spruce tree!
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Drought...Too many sad, dry plants in my yard!

Drought! Some say that this is the worse drought they have ever seen. Garden and agricultural plants are burning up in the hot sun without any rain in sight. I garden in sand, which makes the problem even worse. The irrigated parts of my yard look great, but plants that have to endure the drought conditions are suffering. Some plants will not survive. The pictures above show a few examples. R...

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Lilac shrubs drying up from drought on 7-13-12
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Water Trees NOW

2012 is quickly becoming one of the driest summers we've ever seen in west central Illinois. The past few weeks I've written in this column about drought tolerant plants and how to water landscape plants. At this point, I am most concerned about trees and shrubs, so that is my focus this week. Most people assume that established trees and shrubs can handle drought conditions. Often this is tru...

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Gloriosa daisy on 6-11-12
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Drought Tolerant Plants

I am amazed by plants that can grow in very hot, dry conditions. In fact, certain plants seem to thrive in the hot, dry weather. Since I garden in the even drier sands of Mason county, I have tried to use drought tolerant plants, whenever possible. Here are some plants that have worked well for me over the years. The old standard annuals seem to do best for me in drought years. The...

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2012 Drought Warning! WATER your Landscape and Garden Plants

This year is quickly becoming one of the driest in history. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, says that if your yard is like hers, your landscape plants are suffering from the dry conditions. The rapid onset of poor looking landscape plants is cause for concern. Here are some resources with more information about how to manage plants during this dr...

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