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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
Bull thistle
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Facebook Plant Questions

As many of you know I use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to spread my horticultural messages. For several months I've been posting a plant-of-the-day on my personal and ILRiverHort Facebook Pages during the 6 pm hour. Many of these posts have generated plant questions. Here are a few recent examples. Picture of a sweet potato vine tuber. Quest...

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This beautiful display of fall blooming chrysanthemums at the home of Ron and Joan Bankes, 826 Taylor Ct. in Canton is the October 2010 recipient of the
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Fall Garden Tips

Fall is a fun, exciting, and busy time for gardeners. Many gardening activities are done in fall and some can only be done now. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, says, "Think of fall as the start of next year's growing season, not the end of this gardening year." Mums (chrysanthemums to some) are a very popular fall flowering plant. They have be...

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Fireblight on cherry shows blackened leaves and a shepardshook shaped stem.
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Tree Diseases Abundant This Year

This seems to be the year of tree diseases, but don't be alarmed. 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 develop. Many plant diseases prefer wet spring conditions, which we had. In addition, th...

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Bedbug sitting inside a paperclip to show the size.


We've had an increase in bedbug calls to our Extension offices and Master Plant Helplines in recent weeks. The bed bug feeds at night on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals including chickens, cage birds, and other birds as well as dogs, cats, and other mammals. Infestations can come from bird nests on buildings as well as in clothes, luggage, and other materials transported fro...

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Rhonda's Program Offerings

Need a speaker for your organization? Below are the topics that I'm currently offering. Weedy Vines . Poison ivy, oriental bittersweet, and trumpet creeper are just a few of the many vine weeds can be quite aggressive and especially difficult to manage. This session provides tips for identifying and managing common weedy vines in your home garden...

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White pine on Western Illinois University campus, March 2011
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White Pine Needle Drop…Good or Bad?

Autumn is the time of year when mature white pines annually drop older needles. Unfortunately, this year's wet spring and dry summer have caused problems with many evergreen trees, including white pine. It is important to recognize whether pine needle drop is normal or due to a deeper problem. All trees and shrubs renew their foliage annually, producing new leaves in the spring of the y...

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ameren bees

Don't Panic over Honey Bee Swarms

Ameren Illinois workers found a hive a nearly 1,000 honeybees during a recent substation inspection in Pekin. Thanks to the work of their employee, also an avid beekeeper, the hive and bees were safely removed and relocated. A picture is shown on their Facebook page at . Bee swarm and hive discoveries...

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Bur oak leaves
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Spoon River Drive in OAKtober

Every year I do a Spoon River Drive article highlighting natural items for you to look for while on the drive. In honor of OAKtober, this year's spotlight is oaks. The Morton Arboretum news says oak ecosystems have been a significant part of the Illinois landscape for more than 5,000 years and are now in a state of threat and decline across the entire State of Illinois. Oaks rep...

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