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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Emerald Ash Borer update from Phil Nixon

Home, Yard, & Garden Newsletter  Issue 3 , May 15, 2017 Emerald ash borer adults are emerging in southern and central Illinois and will probably do so in northern Illinois in about two weeks. They will continue to emerge over several weeks. Now is the time to apply systemic insecticides to control this pest if emerald ash...

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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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Tomato on right and tomatillo on left on 7-13-12. Notice leaves go all the way to the ground on this tomato. I rotated it to a new location this year. Last year's tomatoes had lots of foliar leaf blight.

Do I Need to Prune My Tomatoes?

I recently overheard a conversation while shopping for plants. The shoppers were discussing whether or not to prune their tomatoes. Pruning tomatoes can help some types produce more fruit. University of Illinois Extension educator Maurice Ogutu explains why below. "Tomatoes are divided into two different types namely determinate and indeterminate varieties based on their growth habits."...

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lead in soils fs

Food Garden Safety Begins with a Lead Test Soil

The garden season is in full force, and I'm excited to hear about all the food and community gardens happening in our area. As we begin growing food and other plants this summer, please consider some potential health hazards. A growing concern in urban soils is lead contamination, though suburban and rural soils may also be contaminated. I recently partnered with the Peoria City/County...

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floral arrangment Ferree

The Meaning of Flowers

Flowers are a great way to communicate your love and affection. Over the years, flowers have developed meaning and are known as a way to convey a special message. Flowers can represent everything from friendship to true love. Chrysanthemums show friendship. Gardenias represent secret love. Lilies are a traditional wedding flower and mean chastity, innocence, and purity. Give a primrose...

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tomato grown in a container

Dwarf Tomatoes Save Space

This year I am planting a dwarf, determinate tomato in my herb garden. It will take less space and produce as much fruit as I need. And, this makes more room for herbs! Tomatoes are divided into two different types based on their growth habits: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate varieties set fruit at the ends of their branches on terminal buds. Once buds are set they stop growi...

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Rabbit damage on hosta
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Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

Elmer Fudd from The Looney Tunes said it right, "Bugs Bunny?! You're a pesky rabbit!" I have replanted my tomato plants three times this spring. The first two times the plants were gone the next morning and I think the "cute" little rabbit I saw hop down my stairs is the culprit! My first line of defense was to learn more about rabbits from our University of Illinois Extension "Living w...

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