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The Joy of Gardening - ARCHIVES

Whether prairie plant or pansy, native or ornamental, gain insight into all aspects of gardening & wildlife.

Browning on Colorado Blue Spruce 'Fat Albert'

I have a Colorado Blue Spruce 'Fat Albert'. I noticed last year that it wasn't looking good. I was out today looking at it, only to find that the needles in the whole heart of the tree seem to be turning black and falling off. Is there anything I can do to save it? Your description leads me to believe that it is Rhizosphaera needle cast, which is a fungal disea...

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How Can I Support Pollinators?

Posted by Kim Ellson - Gardening

What is the current buzz about pollinators? From the plight of the honeybee to the predicament of the Monarch butterfly, pollinators are increasingly in the news due to their drastic decline. The iconic honeybee and Monarch butterfly are however indicators of a far more widespread decline. There are over 4000 species of native bees and 700 species of butterflies in the...

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Grafted Tomatoes

Should I be buying grafted tomatoes? What are their advantages to warrant the higher price? Will the wild growth from the base of the plant ultimately take over? Answer There is no straightforward answer to that question! Grafted tomatoes, or any other vegetables, do certainly have advantages over their non-grafted counterparts. Grafted tomatoes have soil-borne...

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Brown Patches on Draceana

My corn plant has developed brown blotches all over, both old and new growth. The green parts of the leaves look healthy. I do not think I am doing anything differently than I have been doing for a number of years. Is it a disease, or am I doing something wrong? Answer Corn plants, or Draceana fragrans, are wonderful houseplants, as they are relatively...

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Leaves Smothering My Lawn

For some reason the leaves on several of my trees did not fall this year. After the fall cleanup, the two snows in mid-December knocked them all down, and now they are buried under the snow. I've heard that accumulated and packed down leaves will smother and kill off the grass. Also, it makes the grass more susceptible to diseases. Is there anything that can be done? Or is there anything that I...

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Top Ten Tips for Poinsettias

Posted by Kim Ellson - Gardening

"It is hard to think of the Holidays and not conjure up images of red Poinsettias and a snowy landscape", said Kim Ellson, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. Poinsettias truly have become a symbol of Christmas and it would be very difficult to think them away. "Although reds are certainly the most iconic" said Ellson, "variations of pinks, whites, burgundies and s...

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Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons

For years I have tried to grow Azaleas and Rhododendrons with limited success. Often in the winter the leaves will turn brown, roll up and next spring after they bloom, they seem to have fewer leaves. So it becomes a slow, steady decline unto death. I've been told that I probably need to add fertilizer and lime in the fall. But I was also told by others not to fertiliz...

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