University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Keeping Up with Changes

September 10, 1998

Is information found in horticultural publications 15 or 20 years old still accurate?

This is a question I found myself asking while sorting and packing office files accumulated over the past 15 plus years for an office move. While basic plant care information remains accurate, changes often occur in cultivar selection, pest control, and maintenance practices.

For example, while species remain the same (although occasionally renamed), new cultivars of yard and garden plants gradually replace older ones. Improvements may include better resistance to disease, more compact growth, higher yields, improved eating quality, better and longer lasting blooms, and new flower colors, among others. Thus a publication produced 15 years ago may have cultivars that are no longer available or inferior to newer, improved ones.

Pest control information changes frequently, so pest management suggestions of 15 years ago could very well be out-of-date. Certainly newer chemicals appear on the market that can be improvements over older products. Disease or insect resistant cultivars are developed. Even management techniques may be modified as the result of research findings to potentially reduce disease and insect problems.

Cooperative Extension Service has also changed. University of Illinois Extension is now the official name, rather than CES. Structure has gone from having county-based Extension Advisers to regional, center-based Extension Educators. Information is now routinely disseminated via email, Internet, and fax, none of which was commonly used 15 years ago.

The latest change for me is transferring to the new Rockford Extension Center. Grayslake was among the Centers closed over the past year as part of the Commission on the Future of Extension in Illinois recommendations. Staff have not been reduced; but moved into fewer Centers.

My position as Extension Educator, Horticulture remains essentially the same. Keep watching this column for discussions on current yard and garden topics. University of Illinois Extension programs, publications, fact sheets, and web pages will continue to provide up-to-date information in horticulture and many other subject areas.


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