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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
Maple in decline with possible verticillium wilt.
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Tree Cankers and Vascular Wilts on the Rise

As I've written in previous blogs, the droughts of 2012 and other recent weather events continue to take a toll on tree health. Trees can take three to five years to show symptoms from a severe event such as drought. Unfortunately trees under stress are less able to fight off insect and disease problems. Plant diagnosticians at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic describe the follow...

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Oak Tatters on Bur Oak

Bizarre Oak Leaf Damage

Every year I get questions about bizarre oak leaf damage that most people think is caused by a terrible insect infestation. Although some insects feed on oak trees, often the samples I see have a condition called Oak Tatters. I have an oak tree in my yard that gets oak tatters every year. Oak tatters have been happening for the past several years in Illinois, particularly those in the w...

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Oak tatters on white oak on 7-13-12
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Don't Prune Oaks Now?

Oak trees are majestic, but some are in danger of a disease. One of the best ways to protect oak trees is to prune them at the proper time. You have probably heard that it is not wise to prune oak trees during the active growing season. The actual act of pruning does not harm the tree. The problem involves what you will attract to the tree—insects that may carry the oak wilt fungus....

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Japanese beetles...Home, Yard, & Garden Newsletter article from 6-27-16

Original article found at Adult Japanese beetles have been reported in southern, central, and northern Illinois. Early control reduces damage through the six weeks that they are actively feeding as beetles are attracted to previous feeding damage. Japanese beetles feed on the upper leaf surface, eating through the epidermis and meso...

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ems oakwilt 8-06

Drought Impacts Trees for Years to Come

I continue to get calls about large, old trees that are in major decline. Many of these are just now showing symptoms from the severe drought of 2012. Major weather events have a detrimental long term effect on landscape plants. Many people feel that large trees won't be harmed by drought because they have large root system. This is not the case. Instead we often see substantial tree di...

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Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Wild Parsnips

Parsnips are not only a root vegetable, but also a common weed in Illinois. Unfortunately, wild parsnips also cause allergic reactions in some people. Knowing how to identify wild parsnips can help prevent skin problems later. Wild parsnip is found growing along roadsides and in non-crop areas. It is typically two to five feet tall and has a yellow flower. Parsnip is closely related to...

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David Robson, University of Illinois Horticulture Specialist, judges horticultural crops at the Fulton County Fair.

Horticulture at the Fair

Winning at a county fair brings great notoriety. Remember how excited Farmer Zuckerman was in the book "Charlottes Web" when Wilbur won! The county fair is meant to bring together exhibitors in many categories across the county to see who is the best. Horticulture exhibits at the fair cover everything from flowers to vegetables. Exhibitors have the opportunity to win ribbons and sometim...

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