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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
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Removing Tree Stumps

Last summer's drought coupled with various other environmental and pest problems has killed many trees in our area. Usually when a tree is removed a stump is left behind. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, provides the following tips offered by Bob Frazee, retired University of Illinois Natural Resources Educator. "Frazee offers several suggestions to ho...

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Master Naturalists learn about water quality at Emiquon.
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Want to be a Master Naturalist?

I am so excited about our University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist program. We held our first training last fall and are now taking applications for the fall 2013 class. Why do I like this program so much? If you read this column very often, you know I love plants and the great outdoors. I love to hike, kayak, camp, fish, and journaling in various natural sett...

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Rain barrels reduce tap water use during summer

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, lawn and garden watering makes up nearly 40 percent of total household water use during the summer. Is there a way this season to cut back on using the tap? "One way to reduce outdoor water usage and conserve water is to collect rainwater," said Jennifer Fishburn, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "A...

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Purple Flash ornamental pepper
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Ornamental Peppers Add Color to Garden

I have been using ornamental peppers in my herb garden for several years. They add color to my mostly green salad corner. Last year I planted the variety 'Shu' and was so overwhelmed by their beauty that I planted five different ones this year. My dad started the 'Shu' pepper from seed. It is a dwarf plant with white splashed foliage, which is pretty all by itself. Add...

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Tree Diseases Abundant This Year

This seems to be the year of tree diseases, but don't be alarmed. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, says "I've seen a lot of diseases on trees this year, but happily most of them are not devastating." The reason for the increase in tree disease this year is weather. Spring weather conditions this year were perfect for many tree diseases to...

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Do Homemade Herbicides Work?

Recipes for homemade weed killers abound on the Internet. University of Illinois Extension Specialist Michelle Wiesbrook explains why homemade is not always better. It's important to keep in mind that anyone can post anything and make it look believable. All that is needed is a recipe using any of the below listed ingredients, an adjective like AMAZING or BEST, and a pretty picture...

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Earthworms ...Not just good fish bait

One of my fondest childhood memories is dew-worming with my Dad (Ron Simmons). We'd go out at dusk with a red lighted flashlight, sometimes after Dad had watered an area earlier in the day. I don't remember ever buying worms; we just "harvested" them ourselves. Even as a child I learned the best way to grab a worm without breaking it before it escaped back into its earthly home. Most pe...

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