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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
Hornworm
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Hummingbird Moths

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Small mysterious pollinators have been visiting late summer and fall blooming plants in our gardens in order to sip nectar. They beat their wings as fast as a humming bird but are smaller and stick their very long tongue out to gather nectar like a butterfly but remain hovering over the flower. In the fall months in Illinois, hummingbird moths a member of the sphinx moth species are numerous an...

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bats

Bats Demystified

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Bats Demystified The mere mention of the word, bats, causes most people to cringe or flee covering up their heads. Their reaction a side effect of the fear instilled in us through movies, books and countless stories portraying the bat as the nemesis hungry for blood. The bat does make a great bad guy because he is comes out at night to feed, can live in great numbers and perhaps drink y...

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Weeds Good Indicator of Soil Type

We tend to see weeds as unwelcome intruders that threaten our efforts to create the perfect outdoor sanctuary. But the new gardening philosophy is to be more accepting of them because they are a food source for insects and habitat for wildlife. For instance, the wild Queen Anne's lace is a great larval food for swallowtail butterflies, and dandelions are and excellent source of nectar a...

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Tree wounding by Candice Miller

URBANA, Ill. - Many gardeners have experienced that awful moment when the lawn mower or weed whacker accidentally comes in contact with the bark of a valued tree in the landscape and a wound is created, said a University of Illinois Extension educator. "No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, and then you're left wondering what you can do to help the tree repair this wound," sa...

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Blue Jay bathing
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Attracting Wildlife by adding water to the landscape

Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup suggests incorporate water features to encourage wildlife to your garden. During last year's drought of 2012, we learned water's most important role in our gardens and landscapes. Vegetable gardens required daily irrigation to get maximum amount of produce. Existing landscape trees and shrubs suffered from lack of soil moisture and high transpiration r...

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Fall Foliage on the Web by Ron Wolford

URBANA, Ill. – Over the years, one question that gets asked every fall is when the fall colors will peak in a particular area, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "Predicting peak fall color is very difficult," said Ron Wolford. "Normally colors peak in northern Illinois around mid-October, but a few years ago we didn't get peak color until late October....

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Picking the Perfect pumpkin by Ron Wolford

Picking the perfect pumpkin URBANA, Ill. – When you think of Halloween, what pops into your head? Trick or treating, candy, fall, and maybe pumpkins! Pumpkins and Halloween go together, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "Illinois is the number one pumpkin-producing state in the United States," said Ron Wolford. "In 2012, Illinois pumpkin farmer...

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Whooly Bear Caterpillars by Rhonda Feree

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Woolly bear caterpillars and weather URBANA, Ill. - Have you noticed all the woolly bear caterpillars lately? Rhonda Ferree, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, said that these caterpillars are often seen crossing roads and paths this time of year. Woolly bear caterpillars are the larval stage of the isabella moth. They are about 2 inches long, cove...

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Fall Festival by Rhonda Feree

Fall festival and scenic drive scavenger hunt URBANA, Ill. - Fall weather is perfect for festivals and country drives. It is also a time to focus on fall colors and nature's beauty, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "During these drives, take the opportunity to embrace what we too often take for granted," said Rhonda Ferree. "To help you do this, tak...

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