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Rhonda J. Ferree

Rhonda J. Ferree
Former Extension Educator, Horticulture

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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Queen Annes Lace and Chicory along a roadside

Roadside Flowers

Last week I drove my son Tyler back to college for his fall semester at University of Illinois in Champaign. Along the way, he asked me what the blue flowers were along the roadside. Have you noticed the beautiful flowers blooming along our roadsides right now? Illinois roadsides are quite beautiful in late summer. Tyler was referring to chicory that frequently grows along the compacted...

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seeding lawn with push spreader
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Fall Seeding a New Lawn

The best time to seed a new lawn or overseed an existing lawn is in late summer. In Central Illinois, seeding in late summer (August to September) has a much higher success rate than seeding in spring. "Warm days and cool nights combined with more regular rainfall are ideal conditions for seedling growth," explains Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension. "Also,...

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Paper wasp nest

Paper Wasps

Our family has been battling paper wasps near our gazebo and pool area all summer. Unfortunately my son Derek and my husband Mark have both been stung. It seems a bit ironic that I am battling a pollinator during a year when pollinator protection is such a hot topic. Yes, wasps are considered pollinators because they feed on pollen and nectar from a variety of flowers. They are also ben...

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Black-eyed Susan along the Locke's driveway.
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Frac'd Up Garden Trend

A 2014 garden trend as stated by the 2014 Garden Media Group report was called Frac'd Up: A rejection of the neat and tidy. In other words, a messed up garden is okay and maybe even preferable in some cases. I like this trend because I've always liked a really natural and loose landscape style. The Garden Trend report discusses creating gardens in sliced up spaces using explosions of...

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Planting iris

My iris were especially pretty this year, and I think I need more! My colleague Elizabeth Wahle, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, explains below why late summer through early fall is the best time to divide and plant bearded iris. "Growers need to allow four to six weeks following flowering for rhizomes to fully develop before digging and dividing," Wahle said. "T...

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Emerald Ash Borer News Coverage

Below is news from yesterday's Emerald Ash Borer Open House event in Peoria. Peoria Journal Star Channel 31 news http://www.centralillinoisproud...

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Important Points and Resources on Emerald Ash Borer

Important Points! EAB was detected in Peoria and Tazewell counties in 2014. Once a county is added to the quarantine list additional sightings don't need to be reported. IL Dept of Ag would be flooded with these calls. The important find is the first one - after that assume all ash trees within that county need some type of attention. Due to...

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Native Habitat Resources

I attended a Pollinator Conference recently in Rock Island, IL and learned of several resources that are available for those wanting to develop native habitats and attract more pollinators. First, here are a few questions to consider before getting started... What other plants are already there? Are there invasive or other undesirable plants there that need removed? In par...

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Hornets are one of those insects that many people are afraid of, but they are also very important in our natural world. Extension Entomologist Dr. Philip Nixon summed this up well in answering a recent question about how to kill hornets. "It is frequently a better option to live with the nest than to get rid of it. The hornets are unlikely to attack as long as people...

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Emerald Ash Borer
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Does my tree have Emerald Ash Borer?

The dreaded Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) continues to cause havoc across Central Illinois. All four of the counties that I cover as a Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension are included in the quarantine area, which includes Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. Quarantine guidelines state that we cannot transport any ash tree firewood or untreated ash wood products outside...

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