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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
White pine on Western Illinois University campus, March 2011

Pine Trees Picturesque with Age

Have you ever noticed how a pine tree changes shape as it ages? On my way to Springfield recently, several old pine trees caught my attention. Pine trees have distinctively different needle structure than other evergreens. Pine needles are in clusters of 2, 3, or 5 and range from one to several inches long. Pine trees also have distinctive habits. Most pine trees start out pyramidal in youth (...

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Central Illinois Garden Clubs

Here is a listing of Central Illinois Garden club websites or Facebook Pages. Check out their upcoming events.  Central Illinois Hosta Society - Heart of Illinois Beekeepers Association Irene Cull Chapter, Illinois Native Plant...

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Plastic pot recyclying display GBD 2009
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Master Gardeners Provide Gardening Tips at Various Events

In 2015, 163 Master Gardener volunteers contributed 12,863 hours in the Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell Counties. Their volunteer service is valued at $296,749 (using an estimated dollar value of volunteer time of $23.07 per hour as calculated by Independent Sector). Master Gardeners have several large events scheduled in our four county Extension Unit. Stop by their informa...

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Topping trees causes weak, wind-damage prone growth.
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Do Not Top Trees

I cringe when I see topped trees. Not only is it unsightly to see a tree in such an unnatural state, it is also harmful to trees. Correct pruning is an essential maintenance practice for ornamental trees and shrubs. However, most homeowners regard pruning with considerable apprehension. Pruning is not difficult if you understand the basics and learn why, when, and how to prune....

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PrairieFire crabapple on 4-3-12
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Edible Landscapes

We can grow edible plants in many ways beyond the traditional row-type vegetable garden. Many food plants are beautiful and work well integrated into the landscape. By combining fruit and nut trees, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers or berry bushes in aesthetically pleasing ways, edible landscapes can be just as attractive as ornamental ones. In addition to providing flavorful and nutri...

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