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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Broadleaf Weed Control

Posted by John Fulton -

Everyone seems to have been waiting for warmer temperatures and the appointed date to begin broadleaf weed control programs. Well that time will come, believe it or not. For most of the broadleaf products to work, the temperature has to be over 55 degrees. The cool temperatures, and high winds, are playing havoc with applications; however, the weeds are still growing. These chemicals do work be...

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Effects of Frost on Rhubarb and Other Fruits

Posted by John Fulton -

With a significant frost last week, many are questioning the effects on plants such as rhubarb. Yes, frosted rhubarb does release a poisonous acid from the leaves into the stems, but it usually takes a temperature of about 28 degrees to cause leaf damage. With most area temperatures reaching a low of 31 or 32, we would not expect the leaf damage. Check for yourself. Rhubarb leaves d...

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Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Posted by John Fulton -

According to Kelly Estes, University of Illinois Entomologist, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has been making headlines in Illinois the past couple of weeks. After the first confirmation of this invasive insect was reported in the fall of 2010 in Cook County, additional reports have been received from Kane County, McLean County, and Champaign Counties in 2011. Like many invasive...

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gall on oak twig

Galls

Posted by John Fulton -

One group of problems showing up is galls. Galls are swelling of leaves, twigs, or other plant parts. Most are caused by mites or wasps. They damage the plant parts and the plant responds with a gall. In the case of leaves, the swelling is actually leaf tissue. This is something I like to refer to as similar to you getting a mosquito bite. The damage comes in and a swelling occurs. There is no...

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Gardening Reminders

Posted by John Fulton -

We are on the early end of the time period (April 25 to May 10) for planting tender vegetables such as snap beans, sweet corn, New Zealand Spinach, and tomato plants May 10 begins the time for planting warm-loving vegetables such as squash, melons, cucumbers, and sweet potato slips. This is also a "more assured" date for planting annual flowers....

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Dividing Perennials

Posted by John Fulton -

What a difference a few 80 degree days made! One common maintenance chore evident this past weekend was that of dividing perennials. There is no set rule as to when to divide perennials. Some may need division every 3-5 years, some 8-10 years and some would rather you not bother them at all. Perennials will send signals to let you know that they would like to be divided. The...

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Master Gardener Plant Sale

Posted by John Fulton -

Many people have been asking about the Master Gardener Plant Sale for this year. It is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. until 12 noon in the Logan County Fair Special Events Building on the south end of the fairgrounds. They will once again have a good selection of annuals, perennials, houseplants, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and a few other assorted items....

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Tips for the Week

Posted by John Fulton -

Mow the grass as it is needed. Try to remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade to do away with catching or raking grass. That first trip out with the mower usually shocks us how long some of the grass is. Broadleaf weed control is just around the corner for many weeds. Look at early May for the best control. Grub control is largely unsuccessful in the spring because...

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Sweet Gum Ball and Other Nuisance Fruit Prevention

Posted by John Fulton -

One of the main things to discuss today is the removal of nuisance fruit. You may be thinking about those apples or peaches, but really the nuisance fruit category includes things that are much more a nuisance like sweet gum balls, maple seeds, and crabapples. There are several products available to eliminate nuisance fruit. The most common is ethephon, and it is used as...

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Spring Lawn Updates

Posted by John Fulton -

Crabgrass seed has already germinated, and will continue to do so throughout the spring and summer months. Preventative treatments will still do some good for seed that will germinate over the next six to eight weeks, but won't get seeds already germinated. The organic arsenicals, such as DSMA and MSMA, will control newly germinated grass. Remember, you should have a second preventative applica...

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