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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
Plant Clinic Diagnosis

Suspect herbicide drift? U of I Extension has answers

Suspect herbicide drift? U of I Extension has answers URBANA, Ill. – Every year the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) receives approximately 72 complaints of crop damage due to pesticide drift. When drift occurs, it is important to know the basics of the complaint process as well as the available resources. "Neighborly discussions before pesticides are applied are a good...

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University of Illinois Plant Clinic

University of Illinois Plant Clinic Given the current weather patterns affecting Illinois and the Midwest, it seemed timely to include a reminder about the services offered through the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. Excessive rain and unseasonably cool temperatures will undoubtedly create an increase in disease and nutrient issues for growers to mitigate. Half of the battle...

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boxwood psyllid damage 5
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Boxwood Blight Look-Alikes by Phil Nixon, Diane Plewa and Travis Cleveland

With the recent detections of boxwood blight in Illinois, the importance of scouting landscapes and new plants for the disease is greater than ever. Boxwood blight can be a challenging disease to identify outside a plant diagnostic laboratory. Many of the symptoms associated with the disease are similar to other common boxwood disorders. One major difference between boxwood blight and its...

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severe defoliation of boxwood plant infected boxwood blight
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Boxwood Blight by University of Illinois Plant Clinic Diagnostician Diane Plewa

Boxwood blight has been confirmed in three locations in Illinois as of April 2017. This is a serious fungal disease, and the pathogen is regulated by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. In late 2016, two boxwood samples were submitted to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. Both samples came from northeastern Illinois (Lake and Cook counties) and both were from recent landsc...

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Tomato horn
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Woodford Master Gardener Help Desk offers assistance in solving garden issues

EUREKA, Ill. – Please join University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardeners at the Eureka Public Library on September 12 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Whether you want to sit and talk about gardening or ask about a specific issue that you would like them to research, please visit the Woodford County Master Gardeners at their monthly help desk. In August they identified trees and weeds...

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sweet woodruff

Should you grow grass under Trees?

One thing I constantly get asked when assisting with the Master Gardener help desks, is "How do I grow grass under a tree?" The answer usually is, "You don't grow grass under trees." It can be very difficult to create a nice-looking stand because most grasses need sun to grow and the roots of trees (especially if they are shallow) will steal the water and nutrients. The solution...

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Bur Oak 1 purple brown necrotic veins bur oak blight
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The word about Bur Oak Blight by Travis Cleveland

Bur Oak Blight (BOB) is a fungal leaf disease caused by the pathogen Tubakia iownesis . The U of I Plant Clinic has received several BOB samples over that past month. This is a relatively newly described pathogen, identified by Dr. Tom Harrington of Iowa State University. Several species of Tubakia are known to infect oak and cause minor leaf spots. Tubakia iowensis is the...

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bacterial leaf spot on oakleaf hydrangea t cleveland

If you have a hydrangea, this is a must read by Travis Cleveland

Hydrangeas are known hosts to several leaf spots, both fungal and bacterial. Oakleaf Hydrangeas, in particular, are known to develop leaf spots caused by the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas campestris . Bacterial leaf spot on hydrangea overwinters in diseased plant debris. The pathogen moves to developing plant tissues by splashing water from rain or irrigation. Once in contact wi...

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zimmerman pine moth damage Phil Nixon

Zimmerman Pine Moth by Phil Nixon

Zimmerman pine moth is a common trunk and scaffold branch borer in Scotch, Austrian, and red pine in Illinois. It is a shoot tip borer in Eastern white pine. Although it is difficult to control once inside the tree, its life cycle makes it relatively easy to control while on the outside of the tree. Trunk damage appears as white, crusted areas of pitch an inch or two wide at branch whor...

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smoke tree displaying symptoms of verticillium wilt
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Could your favorite tree have Verticillium Wilt? by Diane Plewa

So far this year we've had 5 confirmed cases of Verticillium wilt in woody ornamentals at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. Four were Japanese maple trees, and the fifth was a redbud. Verticillium wilt is fairly common in Illinois. This fungal disease is usually lethal to the host, and it unfortunately boasts a huge host range. The fungus can survive in the soil for several years,...

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rust gall with telial growth
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What is that Orange Rust on my Junipers? by Travis Cleveland

Telial growth has started to emerge from overwintering Gymnosporangium rust galls. Early stages of the telial emergence are pictured above.  Three Gymnosporangium rusts commonly affect trees in Illinois landscapes: Cedar-apple rust, Hawthorn rust, and Quince rust. These pathogens require two hosts to complete their life cycles. The most damaging stage occurs on deciduous hosts withi...

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Branches in the Buff by Diane Pewa

URBANA, Ill. – It's winter, and the deciduous trees outside are bare. It's a perfect time to examine your trees "au naturel", said Diane Plewa, a University of Illinois Extension diagnostic specialist. "Because the trees are 'in the buff," it's a great time to look for damage to limbs and branches that become hidden once leaves cover the tree," she said One common problem often see...

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Preventing Winter Burn on Evergreens by Candice Miller

Last winter was a tough one on many of our evergreens. Most gardeners had severe browning on many of their evergreen trees and shrubs, and some were even killed by the cold winter winds of winter. This year, take some steps to prevent some of that damage. The problem comes when water isn't available for the evergreens to take up and cold winter winds draw too much moisture out of the pl...

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hosta foliar nematodes
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Hosta Problems by Travis Cleveland and Diane Plewa

The hosta is a popular landscaping plant, loved for its beautiful variety of foliage, and ease of cultivation. Around this time, delicate purple or white flowers develop before frost. Below are some of the most prevalent pathogens on hosta in Illinois. Foliar nematodes The plant clinic has received several hosta samples damaged by foliar nematodes ( Aphelenchoides...

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black knot infection by Jim Shuester

Black Knot on Cherry by Travis Cleveland-Diagnosed in McLean County

Black knot is a common fungal disease that affects at least 25 Prunus species, both edible and ornamental. The disease is caused by the pathogen, Dibotryon morbosum , which infects the new twigs, branches, and fruit spurs during the spring. Trunks also can become diseased. Most infections occur between bud break and 2 weeks after bloom when wet conditions are accompanied by...

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Tips for Growing Tomaotes

Fresh sun-ripened tomatoes are an essential ingredient in many garden-inspired recipes: pico de gallo, caprese salad and salsa. In these dishes, a store-purchased tomato simply will not do. These tomatoes have been chilled, thawed, stored, handled and potentially sprayed with chemicals. For this reason, most of you have not only opted to grow tomatoes but make them the star of the garden....

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oak leaves oak leaf blister

Oak Leaf Blister By Travis Cleveland

Oak leaf blister has started to appear on oak trees on the Illinois. This disease is caused by the fungal pathogen, Taphrina caerulescens . Members or the red oak group are more commonly affected by the disease. Symptoms are distinctive, and appear as scattered blister-like, puckered, or raised areas on the leaves. Affected areas appear concave or sunken in on the opposite side of...

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fire blight callery pear

Fire Blight by Travis Cleveland

Fire blight symptoms were observed on several Callery pears this past week,” says Travis Cleveland, University of Illinois extension specialist. “The symptoms were more severe than those observed during the 2013 growing season.” Fire blight is a bacterial disease that affects rosaceous plants. Apples, pears, crabapples, and ornamental pears are the most seriously affecte...

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Wooford County Master Gardeners Partner with Eureka Public Library

Woodford County Master Gardeners Partner with Eureka Public Library Did you know Woodford County Master Gardeners won a state award for the horticulture programming they do through the Eureka Public Library? This great partnership was encouraged by former Woodford Master Gardener president Pam Terry, and has proven to be an excellent way to bring horticulture educ...

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Problems with Oaks

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fire blight

Fire Blight

Fire Blight The Master Gardener plant clinics in Livingston, McLean and Woodford counties have seen high numbers of fire blight questions. Fire blight is a bacterial infection that afflicts ornamental pears, crabapples, plum, serviceberry and apples. This disease is more evident in warm and wet seasons and looks like the tips of the branches have caught fire and retreated into a...

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Cold Damage on Tulip bulbs

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. If the bulbs are 5 years old, they may be ready to be removed and then replanted with new ones that are solid/clean....

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Sandra Bidner Plant Diagnoisis-Corn Speedwell

Weed Identification ( Corn Speedwell)

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 we...

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Lyn Dolan

Penny cress (Weed Identification)

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. ...

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Crossandra leaf Annette Hancock

Frost Damage on Tropical Annuals

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...

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