Flowers, Fruits, and Frass Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers. Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/rss.xml McLean County Master Gardeners Receive State Awards by Brittnay Haag https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13639/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:21:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13639/  

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate the following McLean County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Springfield this September.

Barb Wells and Kathie Otto were recognized as 2018 Outstanding Master Gardeners in Illinois. The Outstanding Master Gardener State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners win this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program. Barb has been instrumental in maintenance and programming at Sarah's Garden at David Davis Mansion, Unity Community Center Jr. Master Gardener program, and chairing Home, Lawn and Garden Day in 2017. Kathie has been a key leader at the Illinois State University Horticulture Center Herb Garden, Home, Lawn and Garden Day, Community Cancer Center Healing Gardens and the Therapeutic Horticulture Conference. Barb and Kathie are both always willing to help out where needed and do so with a positive attitude and smiling face.

Mary Dellorto received the Sustained Excellence Award, which was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program. Mary, a Master Gardener since 2007, has been involved in multiple committees and projects, including serving as president and treasurer of the group. Mary's can-do attitude and great leadership skills are admired by all in the group.

The Holton Homes Jr. Master Gardeners/Nature Workers 4-H SPIN Club received the Master Gardener Teamwork award, which was established to honor projects which have made a difference in the community or Extension unit. The group of Master Gardeners had to show a focused team approach to a project, innovation and improving an existing project to serve their community better. McLean County Master Gardeners part of this team were Carol Csanda, Tom Creswell, Elaine Yoder, and Jo Devore.

This project allows youth in the neighborhood to join a 4-H Special Interest (SPIN) club members who participate in gardening to exhibit vegetables and flowers at the McLean County 4-H Show every year. In the process of preparing vegetables and flowers to exhibit at the 4-H Show, the young gardeners learn the necessary guidelines for producing and preparing fair exhibits. Being part of the 4-H program allows our club members additional educational opportunities and encourages leadership and citizenship development.

Congratulations and again great job to all of the recipients. Remember if you see the McLean County Master Gardeners working or teaching in your community, make sure to thank them for their outstanding efforts in improving the community and helping others learn to grow.

For more information about the McLean County Master Gardener program, visit us at go.illinois.edu/LMW_MG or contact the McLean County Extension Office at (309) 663- 8306.

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Livingston County Master Gardeners Receive State Awards by Brittnay Haag https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13638/ Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:20:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13638/ Livingston County Master Gardeners Receive State Awards

PONTIAC, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate the Livingston County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Springfield this fall.

Diana McGuckin was recognized as a 2018 Outstanding Master Gardener in Illinois. The Outstanding Master Gardener State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners win this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program. Since becoming a Master Gardener in 2014, Diana has been very active in the program and always willing to lend a hand when needed. She helped establish Polli Nator's Garden at the Flanagan Library in 2017. From writing grants to planting, and maintaining and garden, and now teaching programs to the community, she has turned this garden into a quintessential Master Gardener project. She has also been a key leader in youth horticulture initiatives of the group.

Connie Kostelc received the Sustained Excellence Award, which was established to honor Illinois Master Gardeners who have previously received the Outstanding Award and have continued to demonstrate distinction in the program. Connie, a Master Gardener since 1998, is a leader and educator who is always willing to go the extra mile to share her extensive horticulture knowledge and passion. She has been involved in every Master Gardener project and committee throughout her tenure, including Jones House and the Extension Office Pollinator Garden.

The Livingston County Master Gardener Youth Enrichment Lesson Committee received the Master Gardener Teamwork award, which was established to honor projects which have made a difference in the community or Extension unit. The group of Master Gardeners had to show a focused team approach to a project, innovation and improving an existing project to serve their community better. Livingston County Master Gardeners part of this team were Dawn Baker, Phil Baker, Linda Corban, Betty Dray, Jean Dunning, Carol Gardner, Cindy Kinate, Sandy Knight, Connie Kostelc, RaeJean Kuntz, Diana McGuckin, Cathy Montgomery, Jan Nussbaum, Jane Roeschley, Paula Trainor-Rosenbaum, Mary Schneider, Joan Smeltzer, and Vic Weichmann.

Master Gardeners have developed horticulture lessons that are offered to 2nd and 5th-grade classes in Livingston County. Lessons include insects, pollination, web of life, and seeds/germination. In the 5 years that the program has been offered, Master Gardeners have taught lessons at every elementary school in Livingston County. Over 1,900, 2nd and 5th-grade students in Livingston County have been impacted by this program.

Congratulations and great job to all of the recipients! And remember, if you see the Livingston County Master Gardeners working in the gardens or teaching in the schools, make sure to thank them for their outstanding efforts in improving the community and helping others learn to grow.

For more information about the Livingston County Master Gardener program, visit us at go.illinois.edu/LMW_MG or contact the Livingston County Extension Office at (815) 842-1776.

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Woodford County Master Gardener Receives State Award Honors by Brittnay Haag https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13637/ Mon, 15 Oct 2018 13:18:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13637/  

EUREKA, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate Woodford County Master Gardener, Tina Deetz for being recognized as a 2018 Outstanding Illinois Master Gardener.

In her two years as a Master Gardener, Tina's volunteer services and contributions to the Master Gardener program have more than exceeded expectations for this award. The Outstanding Master Gardener Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners receive this award annually. They must exceed in leadership, determination, positivity, initiative and be highly involved in the program.

"Becoming a Master Gardener" was always near the top of Tina's bucket list. When she retired, she made that goal a reality when she took the first ever Master Gardener training in Eureka in 2016. After graduation, Tina became heavily involved in the Master Gardener program. She has been involved in the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale coordination, Heart House project, Gardener's Gathering coordination committee, activity stations at community events, Garden of Giving at the Great Oaks Community Church, and served as the group secretary. Tina's greatest volunteer efforts have been at the Germantown Hills Middle School Garden. Tina joins the group weekly throughout the growing season to help maintain the garden, as well as works with the youth in the garden during the school year.

Tina is always of the first ones to volunteer in need, and she goes out of her way to offer support to others. There is no sitting and watching others do the work with Tina!

Tina sees being a Master Gardener as an opportunity to meet great people who share her love of gardening, as well as a way to encourage others to find the gratification and pleasure that gardening can bring to life. Great job, Tina! And remember, if you see her working in the gardens or teaching in the community, make sure to thank her for her outstanding efforts in improving the community and helping others learn to grow.

For more information about the Woodford County Master Gardener program, visit us at go.illinois.edu/LMW_MG or contact the Woodford County Extension Office at (309) 467-3789.

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Spruce Spider Mite by Sarah Hughson https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13614/ Fri, 12 Oct 2018 13:36:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13614/  

Now that temperatures are beginning to fall in Illinois, conditions are becoming favorable for spruce spider mite

Spruce spider mites are typically active in spring and fall when temperatures are cool and become inactive during the hot summer months. Active mites will feed on various needled evergreens including spruces, pines and junipers. In the fall, mites will feed on first-year needles and needles from previous years.

Spruce spider mites are too small to be seen clearly without a hand magnifying lens but their feeding damage can be more easily identified. Mites suck fluids from small clusters of plant cells causing discoloration that will eventually give needles a brown speckled appearance called stippling. From a distance, this discoloration can make the needles appear bronze. Spruce spider mites can also be identified by the presence of fine silk among the needles.

When scouting for spruce spider mites, it is important to confirm that mites are present in injured areas and determine what type of mites are present. One way to do this is the paper test. For this test, hold a sheet of blank paper below an affected branch and firmly strike the branch. The impact should cause the mites to fall onto the paper where they can be more easily inspected. Using a hand lens, identify whether the mites on the paper are green or red. If a hand lens is not available, it may be necessary to smash the mites to discern the color. Green coloration indicates that the mites are herbivores while red indicates that the mites are predatory, feeding on other mites. If the population is composed of herbivorous mites and you are experiencing aesthetic damage, you can treat for the mites. If red mites are present, they may be feeding on the spruce spider mites. Consider the relative abundance of red and green mites. Over time, the predatory mites may control the spruce spider mites well enough that no chemical treatments are needed.

When controlling for spruce spider mite, it is best to choose a miticide. Some chemical miticides include acequinocyl (Shuttle), bifenthrin (Onyx, Talstar), fenazaquin (Magus) or spiromesifen (Forbid). Mites can also be controlled with insecticidal soap or summer oil. It is important to remember that miticides will be effective in killing both herbivorous and predatory mites so they should not be used if you would prefer to encourage an existing population of predatory mites.

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Overwintering Tender Plants by Brittnay Haag https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13626/ Mon, 08 Oct 2018 14:26:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13626/ Overwintering Tender Plants Indoors

Looking to save a little money on plants next spring? Have a plant that is special to you? Finally found the perfect shade of pink annual plant and want to keep it for next year? Now is the time to take action- bring your plants indoors before the cold weather returns by following a few easy tips!

"Tender perennials, which are usually plants that gardeners in the colder regions consider annuals, are easily overwintered indoors, caring for them as you would any houseplant," said Brittnay Haag, University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator. Examples of these tender perennial plants are: geranium, coleus, lantana, begonia, Persian shield, and Joseph's coat.

Plants can either be overwintered by digging up the entire plant or propagating the original plant. Whichever method, it must be done before the threat of the first frost.

If the plant is small enough, or you have ample room, the entire plant can be dug up and planted in a container of fresh potting soil. Make sure to get as much of the root system as possible to cause less stress to the plant. Cut back the plant so a half of the original plant is remaining.

Some plants can be easily propagated to start multiple new plants. Tips cuttings are taken by selecting a healthy, 3 to 5-inch shoot with four to six leaf nodes, and cutting below a leaf node. Remove any flowers or buds, and the bottom two to four leaves. Insert the lower portion of the cutting into a container of moist potting soil and water well. Cover the entire container with a clear plastic bag to keep the moisture level high around the plant. Place the container in bright, indirect light. Roots should form in three to four weeks, when you can remove the plastic cover.

Steps for overwintering plants indoors:

  1. Look over each plant carefully for signs of pests and diseases. Rise off leaves with water to be sure no tiny bugs are hiding. Only bring healthy plants inside.
  2. Either dig up the entire plant and replant in fresh potting soil, or take cuttings as described above.
  3. Place plants in a sunny location. Supplemental lights can be used if there is not adequate natural light.
  4. Water the plants when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Water each container until it flows out of the bottom drainage holes.
  5. To increase the humidity around the plants, place a shallow pan of gravel and water under the pots.
  6. Plants will not need to be fertilized during the winter because they are not actively growing.
  7. Gradually acclimate plants to outside weather again (harden off), by setting them outside during the day once day temperatures are over 60°F. Plants can be placed outside full time once the threat of frost has passed.

Tropical plants such as, cordyline, gardenia, and croton, as well as some herbs, like sage, rosemary and bay can also be overwintered by bringing them indoors before the first frost.

As with all gardening, the process of overwintering tender perennials is trial and error. You may find that some plants are easier than others to overwinter in your home. Keep your thumb green all winter by caring for your garden plants and possibly saving a few bucks in the spring.

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Tree planting this fall by Kari Houle https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13615/ Tue, 02 Oct 2018 13:41:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13615/ Fall is coming, and that means it's a great time to bring home a new tree. But before they do,homeowners should repeat the mantra"right plant, right place," according to Kari Houle, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

"If you have space for a tree that can only be 30 feet tall, don't chose a tree that is 50 feet tall and hope that you can keep it pruned 20 feet smaller," Houle says. "Determine how much space you have available andwhat yoursoil conditionsare,then find a tree that is suitable to that planting space."

Even though fall is a great time of year to plant trees, there are some trees that are best planted in spring. According to Houle, the following treesare bestplanted in spring,as they are slower to root out.

  • Red maple
  • Birches
  • Dogwoods
  • Tulip tree
  • Various oaks
  • Japanesezelkova
  • Willows
  • Any stone fruits, such as cherries and peaches
  • Magnolias
  • Bald cypress

Before digging, Houle recommends making a utility line-marking request with 811 Chicago if you live in the city or JULIE everywhere else in Illinois.It's a free service, but requires a 48-hour minimum notice between submitting a request and beginning to dig. "Not only is it Illinois law to call before you begin digging, it is also for your safety and prevents disruption of utility services," she says.

When ready to dig,Houle suggests digging a hole that is two to three times wider and not deeper than the root ball. Digging a hole deeper and then filling it back in will only cause the soil to settle and, over time, can cause tree stress,girdling roots, early fall coloration, reduced growth rate, and can eventually lead to tree decline and death.

"If by chance the tree has been grown too deeply in the pot, which can happen,you should examine your tree for that before you dig the hole," explains Houle. Remove excess soil from the tree until the basal root flare is exposed,then dig the planting hole.Inheavy clay or heavily compacted soils, Houle suggests planting the treea littlehigherby a few inchesto help with drainage and digging the hole three to four times wider than the root ball.

When planting a burlappedtree, place it in the planting hole and remove all twine and the wire basket and burlap as far down as possible. Any burlap left above ground acts as a wick, removing water from the ground. If left intact, the twine can girdle and damage the tree. "When you go to backfill the planting hole, use the soil you dug up. There is no need to amend the soil," Houle says. "Amending the planting hole with organic matter doesn't encourage outward root growth."

Once the tree is planted, water well every five to seven days, depending how fast the soil is drying out."Checking soil moisture every few days is helpful to determine whether it's time to water. Using a soaker hose can make watering easier," she adds.

To further assist in helping reduce moisture loss from the root ball, mulching a newly planted tree, or any tree for that matter, can provide huge benefits to our trees.Mulch helps to reduce moisture loss, moderate soil temperatures, add organic matter back to the soil over time, and helps to prevent lawn mower and weed whip damage to the trunk of the tree.

"Choose an organic mulch, such as cypress, hardwood shredded, arborist chips, or the like.Rock mulches don't provide the same benefits as organic based mulches do," Houle explains.

Only stake trees in high traffic or windy areas. Most trees, especially smaller-diameter trees, often don't need to be staked. If they are, make sure to remove the staking material within a year after planting. Contact your local Extension office for information on proper staking and for additional information on trees and tree care.

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Fall is the right time to divide some perennials https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13586/ Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:43:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/eb255/entry_13586/ BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – If your garden has a vigorous perennial that has been in the garden for more than a few years, or it has started to choke out other plants and no longer looks healthy (dead centers, floppy and unable to support healthy foliage and flowers), then it may be time to divide. Dividing is also a great way for a gardener to get more of their favorite plants into their beds.

Some perennials like to be divided yearly (chrysanthemum), but most can go three-to-five years without division. Some can go much longer, and some even do not require division at all, like butterfly weed or baby's breath.

While spring is the ideal time to divide most perennials, fall is the next best choice, and some plants even prefer a fall division. Dividing in September and October gives the roots enough time to establish before winter. As a rule of thumb in fall, gardeners will want to focus on dividing spring- and summer-blooming perennials, and leave the fall bloomers for spring division.

Follow these steps for successful transplants

  1. Make sure the ground is moist to make digging easier and reduce stress on the plant.
  2. Dig out the entire clump. Use a spade to dig down at least 7 inches to get most of the root ball.
  3. Discard weak or dead sections.
  4. Separate the clump into three-to-five pieces with a sharp knife or spade edge. It is best to leave three-to-five growing points in every clump. If separating peony, they need at least three eyes to ensure flowering the next season.
  5. Immediately plant one clump back into existing spot, if desired. Clumps planted elsewhere should go into holes twice as wide as the clump. Add organic matter as needed.
  6. Trim back any foliage to 6 inches from the ground to reduce transpiration and transplant shock.
  7. Mulch with two-to-four inches of organic wood mulch.

Examples of perennials that can be divided in the fall include Asiatic lily, spiderwort, veronica, amsonia, Jacob's ladder, oriental poppy, peony (leaving three-to-five eyes per division), astilbe, iris (should be divided in early September and have at least one fan of leaves when planted), yarrow, lady's mantle, European ginger, wild ginger, aster, astilbe, bee balm, daylily, hosta, coreopsis, false rock cress, basket of gold, bellflower, perennial bachelor's button, veronica, red valerian, campanula, cardinal flower, sundrops, yellow corydalis, turtlehead, and foxglove.

Ornamental grasses should only be divided in the spring.

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