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Green Speak

Horticulture topics from gardens to lawns and then some.
Turf

Good Lawns with Bad Grass

Posted by Christopher Enroth - Turf

When confronted with lawn weeds, typically we think of dandelion, creeping Charlie, and violet. These aforementioned plants and many others are classified as broadleaved weeds (dicots), and are easily distinguished from grasses (monocots). Scientists are able to engineer herbicides that target broadleaved plants, while the chemical remains benign to desirable turfgrass. But what happens...

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Too Many Earthworms

It sounds improbable. How can one have too many earthworms? Such is the case for a property owner in Henderson County. A recent phone call led me on my first investigation to discourage earthworms, or in this case night crawlers (or 'dew worms' from a fisherman's vernacular). The yard in question was rife with small mounds comprised of tiny lumps of castings (worm poop). This made the terrain...

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Lawn rust
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Lawn Rust and Why Your Shoes are Turning Orange

Posted by Christopher Enroth - Turf

You're walking through your lawn. You notice some discoloration in patches, but it doesn't seem too alarming. After walking in your front door you begin to slip off your shoes and notice they've been turned an orange-red color. You'd swear it looked like your shoes were rusted-over. This above scenario is where it typically starts. Homeowners call the Extension office with a strange substance...

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Garden Update – Mid August 2015

What's going on in the garden this week? Here is a snapshot of observations and questions coming into the Extension office. Out in the Garden Here in Illinois the rains stopped early July and have been sparse ever since. Gardens have needed supplemental water. With the abundance and then lack of rain we've lots of soil cracking. With all that rain how could our...

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Plug from core aerator. Note the layer of thatch. Greater than half-inch can lead to problems. Core aerating helps to alleviate compaction and thatch.
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Fall is Prime Time for Lawn Renovation

Posted by Christopher Enroth - Turf

Fall is the time to renovate our cool-season lawns following are recommendations (aka lawn chores) for this late-summer to early fall growing season. First analyze your soil. If your soil has become compacted or is very heavy clay, it is best to aerate prior to seeding. Hollow tine aerators work the best. Soil must be slightly moist for successful aeration. If soils are dry the aerator...

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Flooded high tunnel.
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Garden Update – Mid July 2015

What's going on in the garden this week? Here is a snapshot of observations and questions coming into the Extension office. Out in the Garden The rains have ceased and the lawn and garden beds are drying out. It is almost the end of July and I have yet to water a single plant this season, even containers! Lawns can tolerate a significant amount of standing water...

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Beebalm with prolonged standing water issues.
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Garden Update - Start of July 2015

What's going on in the garden this week? Here is a snapshot of observations and questions coming into the Extension office. Out in the Garden Rot, rot, rot. With all this rain landscapes and gardens have been suffering from saturated root zones. Here's a comparison of beebalm in the same planting area, only one is located where we've seen several days of...

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The main culprit to our dog-damaged lawn.
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Dog Gone Lawn

It never fails. Every time I present a topic on lawns this question arises, “How do you prevent lawn damage if you have dogs?” Turns out, I really enjoy this question! Being a dog owner to two yellow labs for almost nine years, I have had my fair share of ragged lawns and muddy paw prints. Let’s start by examining the why and how in which our lovable pooches are so efficient at destroying our t...

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Using Landscape Chemicals Responsibly

This past summer, a homeowner called the local Extension office concerned about cicada killers. I immediately set about my normal talk describing the benefits of cicada killers and how they are not prone to sting humans. The homeowner graciously listened to my pitch and then said they understand, but they do not appreciate how the cicada killer makes their lawn surface so bumpy. I conceded thei...

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The Resilient Landscape, Preparing Your Plants for Weather-Related Disasters Part 2: Drought

Following is a continuation of my exploration on the aftermath and preparation of weather-related disasters on our landscape plants. You can find the first article on winds HERE. Drought In the book Weatherproofing Your Landscape, authors Sandra Dark and Dean Hill classify weather-related disasters as the 'Big Four' – wind, drought...

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Another sweetgum tree hit by cold temperatures. This tree has nearly leafed out by the first week of June.
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Only the Hardiest Shall Survive!

What made it through this winter? I know many of us barely did, but now that spring has seemingly sprung into summer my concern turns to the landscape. Here in west central Illinois we live in USDA cold hardiness zone 5b, with an average annual extreme minimum temperature of -10 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this winter we saw temperatures dip below the -20 degree mark, granting us a zone...

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The Dilemma with Weed-and-Feed Lawn Products

As a long winter's chill lingers into spring, the itch to get out in our yards has never seemed more compelling. One of the ritual tasks performed by many homeowners in the spring is applying weed-and-feed products to their lawn. Contained within these products is a pre-emergent herbicide to combat germinating weed seeds and then a helpful boost of nitrogen fertilizer to give our lawns that lus...

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Gardening Apps Part II

Gardening Apps Part II Disclaimer: University of Illinois Extension does not promote the use or purchase of a particular product. Reference to specific companies does not imply endorsement by University of Illinois Extension, nor is discrimination intended against any that are not listed. As promised, I have the results from my gardening app evaluation. For all those who sent in...

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Lawn Renovation

Posted by Christopher Enroth - Turf

This past summer of 2012 was one for the record books with our extreme drought and heat. Now, post-Labor Day, is the time of year when we must go into landscape rehab mode. Mother Nature has shown her friendly side with the lower temperatures and a handful of good rain events. With the soil moisture up and the temperatures down, it is time to think about overseeding your lawn. After the first g...

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