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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Prepare For Winter

Posted by John Fulton -

Winter mulches should be put on after the ground actually begins to freeze. Thanksgiving time is a good average guess for timing. Winter mulches put on too early might delay the natural dormancy process. Mulches should be two to four inches deep, and the ground should be moist before applying them. Tender bulbs, roots, or corms should be dug, if you already haven't done so. These would...

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Master Gardener Training

Posted by John Fulton -

If you have a desire to learn more about gardening and then share your knowledge with others than the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer program may be for you. Under the new training format, training will be done on a multi-county basis. Master Gardeners are adult members of the community who are interested in learning more about lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, v...

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Taking Care of Perennials

Posted by John Fulton -

With the change of the seasons upon us, outdoor time is a valuable commodity. We just don't know when the chance to do things will end. Every evening reminds me of this fact, since we don't have daylight until 8:30 every evening any more. One the later fall chores is taking care of perennials, but the push may be there to do it as we are finishing up mowing. Many perennials are better l...

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Fall Leaf Management and Winter Predictors

Posted by John Fulton -

We've all heard about the woolybear caterpillar as a winter severity predictor, and with as many different interpretations of the woolybear as there are – somebody is always right. The larger the middle (orange segment), the milder the winter. Of course, you have to have a banded woolybear to have the different colors. Another one says if they are white, this means a lot of snow. All blac...

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Fall Care of Peonies

Posted by John Fulton -

Peonies are one of those "plant it and forget it" flowers. Many haven't been bothered for over 50 years, and still going strong. As with most plants, crowding can occur, and the time to dig and divide is late September through October. Peonies do best in soils with a slightly acid to neutral pH. The best time to add lime, if needed, is when you dig the plants. When dividing, make sure y...

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Pruning Raspberries

Posted by John Fulton -

To start with, remove all the dead, short, and weak canes. The large remaining canes are thinned to 4 to 8 inches apart. The canes are cut back to 5-6 feet tall, or if no support is provided 3 to 4 feet tall. The canes that produced last year should be removed any time after harvest, or removed in the late fall. Canes are productive only one year, and the new growth will produce the next year's...

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Fall Frost

Posted by John Fulton -

For the most part, we dodged the proverbial bullet last week for a killing frost. It seems only the very tender plants were affected, and usually not the complete plant. With impending heavier frost, it is important to take care of a few items. For protection, you could always try the covers over the plants you want to protect. You will need to use something with a little bit of insulation valu...

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