May 20, 2013
If the bulbs are 5 years old, they may be ready to be removed and then replanted with new ones that are solid/clean.
Client came in with deformed tulips that were 5 years old
Dave Robson diagnosis:
While there isn't much info, I suspect it might be cold injury coupled with possibly a basal rot.
May 20, 2013
Master Gardeners submitted picture to be identified.
>Michelle Wiesbrook DDDI Diagnosis: This is definitely some type of Veronica species. It looks like corn speedwell to me.
>Michelle's Recommendation: Corn speedwell is a winter annual. Hand pull or remove with a hoe before it develops seed. Premergent herbicides can be used in the fall to prevent this weed. Or, leave the plant alone. It will die when the weather turns hot. It's low growing and kind of cute.
May 20, 2013
Client sent in a picture of a volunteer plant in poppy seed to be identified.
Dave Robson recommmendations:
My best guess based on the picture is pennycress. Can't really tell if the seed pods are flat or rounded...but if the are flat, it may be pennycress.Most people consider it a weed, but dried flower arrangers like the stems.
Best bet is pull it out.
May 20, 2013
Master Gardenerbrought in Crossandra leaves last week with neucrotic (dead) blotches and purpling leaf and inquired on pesticide damage.
Dave Robson Recommnedations were as follows:
It looks more like cold injury, Kelly, than chemical injury. Plant is more tropical in nature and since it's young tissue, probably got some frost injury on it. Chemical injury would probably be more distorted. Warm weather should stimulate new growth. These leaves may become holey where the tissue has died, but should be hidden by newer growth.
Remove some of the ugliest leaves and give a fertilizer treatment.
May 15, 2013
Integrated Pest Management Program
University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup, urges early scouting to ensure an effective integrated pest management program. Integrated pest management is a gardener's approach to treating garden pests and diseases by using multiple methods of control including cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical. The cultural method concept is a healthy plant is more likely to fend off an insect infestation or disease pressures than a plant that is not getting enough sun or has poor fertility. Mechanical is using a hoe to remove weeds or a bin of soapy water to drown Japanese beetles in the early morning. Biological control is attracting beneficial insects like lady bugs or green lace wing using nectar or pollen producing plants like sunflowers. The chemical method is used as the last resort to treating pests and diseases because of the greater expense and environmental and applicator safety.
Allsup states "Early scouting allows recognition of the pest or disease before it reaches a population that can only be controlled through chemical methods." Master gardeners are inspecting their bare trees, cleaning up the plant debris and looking for signs of overwintering pests to get a head start on the growing season.
While inspecting the tree, look for holes in the trunk or branches or abnormal growth on the branches. If you suspect the emerald ash borer on your ash tree, the hole will be D shaped and the size of a pinky finger tip. Inspect again once the tree leafs out and look for dead branches and branch tips. This is an indication xylem is being blocked and water cannot reach the top of the tree. Fungal infections can also be evident in early spring when the leaves are not covering up the signs.
Cleaning up plant debris and getting rid of weeds early can be a benefit to any backyard gardener. Most, but not all pests overwinter in your garden debris on weeds or in the soil. If you had squash bugs last year this step is incredibly important to prevent damaging populations. Allsup also suggests cutting back dead growth of overwintering perennials before Mother's Day.
As the temperatures rise, as with plants, insects come out of dormancy and one must be on the lookout to properly treat a pest infestation. Look for webbing of the eastern tent caterpillar, the woody cone-shaped pupating stage of a bag worm and look for the larvae of cutworms and flea beetles as you cultivate your garden soil. These early signs can help a gardener better manage any pest or disease issues that may arise.
When in doubt, please bring questions or samples to the Livingston, McLean and Woodford Master Gardener Plant clinics to diagnose your problems and give recommendations and gardening advice. Master Gardeners answer questions on insect identification, disease identification, weed identification, growing vegetables, and fruits and general ornamental landscaping.
March 25, 2013
March 25, 2013
A University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator said that spring walks are very enjoyable.
"Many of us look for morel mushrooms, but there is much more to see at the same time," said Rhonda Ferree. "Woodland wildflowers are beautiful and a welcome sign of spring."
A common woodland wildflower is the spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). This is a low plant with loose clusters of pink or whitish flowers striped with dark pink. The flowers are one-half to three-fourths of an inch wide with five petals. Leaves are long, linear, and grass-like. These flowers bloom from March to May in moist woods and clearings. This spring perennial is spectacular in large patches and grows from a potato-like underground tuber.
"At my former residence near Champaign, I had beautiful large patches of these across the lawn," she said.
A more noticeable native wildflower is Virginia bluebell (Mertensia virginica). This 8- to 24-inch erect plant has smooth gray-green leaves and nodding clusters of light blue trumpet-shaped flowers. The individual flowers start as pink buds and open to about 1 inch long. Virginia bluebells flower from March to June in moist woods, and it is also a popular shade garden plant. Grown in masses, this flower is hard to miss.
There are several flowers from the poppy family that have spectacular spring showings: Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), Corydalis (Corydalis sp.), and bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis).
"Dutchman's breeches and Corydalis have delicate, fern-like leaves and grow to about a foot tall," she said. "Dutchman's breeches are more common. The name comes from the clusters of fragrant, white, pantaloon-shaped flowers.
Corydalis flowers are pink or yellow, tubular, and must be appreciated up close. Bloodroot has a solitary white flower, with a golden-orange center that grows beside a lobed leaf. Roots and stems have an acrid red-orange juice, thus the name bloodroot. Flowers last for a very short time and may be hard to find after March.
Two more woodland flowers you are sure to see are wild blue phlox and wild geranium. Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) has loose clusters of slightly fragrant light blue flowers above creeping oval leaves. Also called wild sweet william, it will bloom from April to June.
"I remember seeing these as a child while walking Central Illinois woods with my dad," Ferree said.
Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) is easily recognized by its typical geranium leaves and loose clusters of lavender flowers. It grows 1 to 2 feet tall and is found from April to June.
"These are just a few of the flowers to look for while exploring our woodlands this spring. Take lots of pictures, but please leave the wildflowers," she said. "Although the ones mentioned here are numerous, some of our wildflowers are becoming rare. Leaving them ensures that they'll remain for others to see in the future."
Photos of these wildflowers and more are on Ferree's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ferree.horticulture. For more information on this or other horticultural issues, contact U of I Extension at www.extension.illinois.edu
March 25, 2013
University of Illinois Extension in Waterloo and Collinsville will be hosting a series of four Spring Teleconference sessions.
Spruce Problems (Pest and Cultural Issues) will be offered on Tuesday, April 9 at 1:00 p.m. at 901 Illinois Avenue, Waterloo and at 1 Regency Plaza Drive, Suite 200, Collinsville. This session will also be repeated on Thursday, April 11th at 6:30 p.m. at the Collinsville location only. This program will cover all the cultural, disease, insect and spider mite problems that have been diagnosed at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic that affect spruce trees. Growing, cultural, and environmental conditions for spruce will also be addressed.
Pollinators and Insecticides will be the topic for the second teleconference meeting held on Tuesday, April 23 at 1:00 p.m. in Waterloo and Collinsville and Collinsville only on Thursday, April 25th at 6:30 p.m. This session will address major problems for the honey bee, our most important pollinator, as well insect pollinators and an overview of the various pollinators.
Session three will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 1:00 p.m. in Waterloo and Collinsville and in Collinsville only on Thursday, May 9th at 6:30 p.m. Tomato pests and environmental disorders will be addressed in this session All About Tomatoes: Strategies for Controlling Common Pests and Disorders.
The final session in this series will be held on Tuesday, May 21st at 1:00 p.m. in Waterloo and Collinsville and in Collinsville only on Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. Don't Doubt the Drought will look at factors from the 2012 hot, dry summer that will affect our landscapes for years to come. This program will discuss growth expectations in 2013 on lawns, newly planted trees, shrubs, and evergreens, and the best practices for helping our landscape plants recover.
Registration for each session is $5 for black/white copies of $10 for color copies. This conference is presented over the University of Illinois teleconferencing system with a power point presentation as guests across the state participate together. There will be a time for questions.
To register to attend any of these sessions in Waterloo send your payment to 901 Illinois Avenue, P. O. Box 117, Waterloo, IL 62298 or to attend in Collinsville mail to 1 Regency Plaza Drive, Suite 200, Collinsville, IL 62234. On-line registration is available via our website at www.extension.illinois.edu/mms . For more information about any of these conferences please call Sarah at 939-3434.
University of Illinois Extension offers equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend any of these sessions please call 939-3434 or 344-4230.
March 25, 2013
Home, Lawn and Garden Show
The 11th Annual 2013 Home, Lawn and Garden Show, planned by the McLean County Master Gardeners exhibited some of the popular gardening trends of 2013. This year's show left an impression on 397 program attendees and Master Gardener volunteers from all over Illinois. Horticulture educator, Kelly Allsup, says the Home Lawn and Garden Show participants were encouraged to find a purpose in their garden, use succulents, garden vertically, re-purpose junkyard finds and were given tips on dealing with the drought.
Kaizad Irani, who is a highly respected professor and program director at Parkland Community College, an Associate professor at the University of Illinois, and a regular panelist on WILL's "Mid-American Gardener," was this year's keynote speaker. Kaizad Irani spoke of textures and curves within the landscape, not skipping a beat to take the opportunity to mock the pink flamingos and life-sized cardboard cut-outs spread across America's lawn. Irani's address entitled 'The Inner Sanctum: Creating a Place of Respite and Relaxation in your Garden," did not receive a standing ovation because of his spot on humor or his fantastic garden design pictures, but for his involvement in one very special project. The project entailed the designing of a children's garden for the St. Jude's Cancer Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee involving Kaizad Irani and his landscape design students from Parkland Community College. Irani was inspired by a former student and cancer survivor. The Parkland team raised money and designed and built this very special garden that can be viewed from the windows of the hospital.
In addition to a garden with purpose, the top 2013 Home, Lawn and Garden trends spread throughout the entire day. The gardening trends started off with building a living wall out of succulents. Allsup says "succulents are the plants to grow this year because of the interesting textures and colors and that they are very easy to take care of requiring less water than most annuals and tropicals." Another trend spotlighted during the show was vertical gardening because we no longer have vegetable gardens that take up an acre of land but we are restricted with small spaces. A small space, utilizing the vertical element, can produce vegetables, herbs, flowers, vines, succulents and tropical plants.
Marsha Clark, Home Lawn and Garden Chair and program presenter, encouraged attendees to use annual vines to build a living wall. The living wall presented was built out of an old door and followed yet another trend: salvage gardening. Salvage gardening is repurposing a door, bed frame, old farm equipment or a shoe and using it to grow plants in or as art in your garden. Shane Cultra, a nursery man from Urbana, Illinois, taught a salvage gardening program which stood out as one of the most popular programs. Cultra's presentation proved "Creativity is King."
Drought played a key role in the programs of Home Lawn and Garden Day. Master Gardeners, Extension Educators, area specialists and local industry professionals gave tips on dealing with drought and gardening. Allsup says, "after experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades, combined with one of the hottest summers recorded, it's no wonder gardeners are thinking of ways to reduce water usage and using plants tolerant to the drought without sacrificing color."
The program committee chair, Ellen Culver (2011 McLean County Master Gardener Graduate), was asked why she spent countless hours organizing the Home, Lawn and Garden Day. She replied "all the smiling faces and interaction between the attendees and Master Gardeners made all the work worth it." Culver later described Master Gardeners as a creative, enthusiastic and sharing group.
March 25, 2013
Gardeners already know the importance of testing their garden beds every few years. If soil amendments are added annually, then the soil test should be done more often to be sure that nutrient levels and, just as important, the pH level are still within an acceptable range, said University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Richard Hentschel.
"Because amendments are so important to the continued health of the soil, there has been a substantial increase in their use. For the most part, adding well-composted organic matter will not cause a growing problem in the garden beds," he said.
"Organic matter today can come from your own compost bins, the store, or other sources such as municipal composting programs," he continued. "There is something very satisfying about knowing that the spent plant parts from your own yard are being reused in your own beds in the form of composted organic matter."
As soil organisms break down organic matter during composting, the pile or bin can become more acidic. If this material is added to gardening beds and incorporated into the soil profile, over time it will change the soil pH.
"If your soil is alkaline anyway, this is a good thing, helping to keep pH levels between 6.0 and 7.0," Hentschel said. "If you have a garden soil that is normally acidic, it may be necessary to add garden lime as well as organic matter to maintain the pH level."
Only a soil test will indicate the need for lime, so do not assume it is necessary. Addressing the pH is important, as this will influence the levels of other nutrients available to the garden plants. In general, if the pH becomes too acidic or alkaline, nutrients will not be readily available for uptake by the plant. There are exceptions: Irish potatoes prefer an acidic soil, and asparagus prefers an alkaline soil.
"Besides composted organic matter from your own yard, there is a long list of amendments that can be used," he said. "These include peat moss, corn cobs, rice hulls, aged manure, wood ashes, and spent leaves.
If organic matter is used frequently, a gardener might want to invest in a soil pH meter for use in between commercial tests. There are many kinds available; the easiest are probe types where the probe is inserted into the soil profile and a reading is available immediately. Some are a single piece; others use a probe connected to the meter. The key to getting an accurate reading is to sample the garden bed in several places, inserting the sampling probe to the same depth and the same moisture content. There are other tests that the home gardener can perform but, because pH levels influence so much in the soil, this test may be the most important.
Commercial soil tests are most often done in the late summer or fall to allow enough time for the organic matter added in the spring to react with the garden soil and ensure that the test results accurately reflect pH and nutrient levels.
"Soil test results should measure soil pH and the major nutrients used by plants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They may also include calcium, sulfur, and magnesium as secondary nutrients. If organic matter levels are available, get them, too," he said. "Organic matter levels between 3 and 5 percent would be the target."
Source: Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator, Horticulture, email@example.com