April 16, 2021

Calendar: Spring storms are coming

Spring brings severe weather back to Illinois and the Midwest. Thunderstorms pack high winds, heavy rain, lightning, and potentially tornadoes. To learn more about these phenomena, join the webinar Thunderstorms, Lightning and Tornadoes. University of Illinois Extension Educator Duane Friend will discuss types of thunderstorms and how they form, forms of lightning and what research is learning about lightning, and other current research.

The free webinar will be from 1 to 2 p.m. March 11. Register at go.illinois.edu/storms.

Virtual Weekend Gardener Program

The Virtual Weekend Gardener Program will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 6. Register at web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=22973.

Sessions will include:

  • 9 a.m., Beginning Vegetable Gardening with Grace Margherio, U of I Extension educator: Growing your own vegetables is rewarding. Improve your success by learning about selecting the right site, testing your soil, and maintaining healthy plants.
  • 10 a.m., Growing and Designing with Cut Flowers, Candice Hart, state master gardener specialist: Learn how to grow a variety of cut flowers here in Illinois, the benefits of having cut flowers in the garden, and how to condition them to be long-lasting. Hart will discuss her all-time favorite flowers to grow and demonstrate a quick and easy flower arrangement.
  • 11 a.m., Native Plants Throughout the Seasons, Elizabeth Wahle, U of I Extension educator: Incorporating native plants is a great way to add color and texture to your garden, as well as support beneficial insects. Join Wahle as she discusses many of our native plants by order of bloom, beginning early season and running up to the first frost, for a full season of bloom.
  • 12 p.m., Crevice Gardens, Elizabeth Wahle: Crevice gardens are a form of rock gardening where closely spaced flat stones are pushed down into the soil vertically to create narrow, deep, and well-drained pockets for planting. If you have ever struggled to successfully grow xeric plants whose roots are sensitive to wet soil conditions, join Wahle as she discusses not only how to get started building your own crevice garden but also learn about some plants suited to this soil environment.

Benefits of adaptive gardening

Adaptive Gardening, a part of the Four Seasons Gardening Webinar Series, will be from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. March 9. Register at web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=22927.

The therapeutic benefits of gardening have been documented since ancient times but there has been a recent upswing in the interest for therapeutic gardening and horticulture. But how can people of different abilities adapt their garden space to suit their needs? Join Extension Horticulture Educator Chris Enroth as he discusses best practices for adapting your garden to accommodate age, mobility, or other means. Enroth also will share how you can be successful in helping yourself, as well as others, to enjoy the art of gardening at home or in institutions like schools and assisted living facilities.

McLean County 4-H New Family Orientation

New to 4-H or interested in getting started? McLean County 4-H New Family Orientation will provide information learn about the many opportunities 4-H offers youth, families and volunteers. This is the perfect time to get answers to any questions regarding our program, projects, Record Books, clubs, the summer 4-H Show, and much more.

The Zoom call will be at 5:30 p.m. March 10. Email woodburn@illinois.edu for meeting link.

Gateway Green Industry Conference classes

The Virtual Gateway Green Industry Conference will offer seven classes with CEUs available from four professional agencies. The conference will open on March 10 and remain open in the Moodle Platform until April 1. You can visit each session as many times as you wish during that time.

Cost is $35. There is a discounted price for full-time students, master gardeners and master naturalists. Register at web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=23027.

Session choices:

  • Control Options for Severe Infestations of Woody Plants, Chris Evans, University of Illinois Extension educator: Invasive plant control of severe infestations of woody invasive plants can be a difficult and complex endeavor. This presentation will outline different management options available and discuss the costs, effectiveness, difficulty and safety involved.
  • Planting and Care of Native Trees, Rich Crain, Crain Tree Farm: Crain will address environmental concerns towards planted tree health. Topics will include: PH soil analysis, proximity to other plant materials, and lawn chemical exposure.
  • Climate Change and Its Impact on Flora in Illinois, Trent Ford, Illinois State Water Survey state climatologist: Climate change has had and will continue to have a significant impact on plants and ecosystems across the Midwest. Ford will discuss how the climate has changed over the past several decades, how it has impacted plants and trees in Illinois, and how we expect these impacts to continue and/or change in the future.
  • Pruning 101, Kevin Rohling, University of Illinois Extension educator: This presentation will highlight portions of the ANSI A300 standards for pruning, including video clips and descriptions of pruning standards and best management practices, as well as some common pruning mistakes and how to avoid or correct them. Pruning practices covered will include tree inspections, tools and equipment, types of cuts, safety procedures, objectives, timing, and extent of pruning.
  • Top Urban Tree and Shrub Picks, Ryan Pankau, University of Illinois Extension educator: It’s tough surviving as an urban tree! The stresses of urban life are vastly different than those in the natural world making tree and shrub selection a critical decision. This presentation will focus on some of the most resilient trees and shrubs for the urban landscape by reviewing site requirements, ornamental traits, structural integrity, wildlife value and many other aspects of these amazing plants.
  • Insect Invaders Threatening Illinois, Kelly Estes, University of Illinois Extension educator: Several invasive insects are on our radar as potential threats to trees in Illinois. Spotted lanternfly and Asian long-horned beetle top the most unwanted list. Learn more about these and a few other species during this session.
  • Common Abiotic Tree Stressors and their Treatment Options, Mark Grueber and Dan Moncheski, Missouri Department of Conservation: Many insect and disease problems that affect trees are opportunists, successfully attacking trees that are stressed from other causes. These causal agents are often the result of the wrong tree in the wrong place or weather and site related events. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of these stressors and what can be done to alleviate them.

Pheasant and Quail Workshop

PONTIAC, Ill. — Ready to make some new feathered friends? Attend the Pheasant and Quail Workshop from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 11 at the Livingston County Extension office, 1412 S. Locust St., Pontiac. You’ll learn about the birds, how to care for them, and practice creating a brooder box. Learn how to order birds for the upcoming fair season.

Register at web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=23127.

Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Learn why, when, and how to prune common landscape trees and shrubs during a free an online program at 2 p.m. March 11.

University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Andrew Holsinger will discuss proper pruning concepts. Find out the science behind the effects of pruning, as well as proper care for pruning tools, pruning tool safety, and methods of keeping your tools clean.

Register at web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=23042.

Cottage Food Law: Selling Homemade Foods at Farmers Markets

If you are considering selling homemade foods at a farmers market, make sure to know the basic guidelines that growers and vendors must observe in preparation for farmers market sales.

The online program Cottage Food Law: Selling Homemade Foods at Farmers Markets will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 11.

Join University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for a timely class around selling your goods at the farmers market. Learn about the latest legislation concerning Illinois Cottage Food law and how to comply with safety standards to ensure that cottage food products are safe, healthy, and enjoyable for all. Participants are encouraged to stay on afterward for a Q&A session.

Registration is required for the free webinar at go.illinois.edu/cottagefood.

Weathering the Storm in Agriculture: How to Cultivate a Productive Mindset

Stress is a fact of life for farmers. Financial problems, uncertain market prices, farm transfer issues, production challenges, isolation and more are common sources of worry for those in the agriculture business and their families who are also more at risk since agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries.

Chronic stress can take a huge toll on your health. Learn to identify common stressors, recognize symptoms, and access practical management tools and techniques to reduce the effects of unwanted stress with the Weathering the Storm in Agriculture: How to Cultivate a Productive Mindset webinar from 9 to 10 a.m. March 10.

Offered in partnership by University of Illinois Extension and Moultrie and Douglas County Farm Bureaus, this free program will be presented virtually using the videoconferencing platform Zoom. This program will be presented virtually using the videoconferencing platform Zoom. Meeting access information will be provided to registered participants before the webinar.

Register online at go.illinois.edu/WeatherTheStorm.

Successful Vegetable Gardening

The online program Successful Vegetable Gardening will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 10. Build your success with research-based methods that promote healthy, productive plants. To get the most out of your garden, University of Illinois Extension master gardeners will give you steps to plan and tend your garden. This will include tips on garden location, layout and preparation, recommended vegetable varieties, proper planting, pest control, proper watering, and harvesting tips.

The program is part of the 2021 Garden Learning Series presented by the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County and the University of Illinois Extension, Lake County. Register at web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=23149.

Garden Day Workshop

For more than 20 years, the University of Illinois Extension Vermilion County Master Gardeners have provided a spring garden workshop, which is a great way to learn new garden trends and get inspiration. This popular event returns in 2021 with five speakers, a virtual silent auction, and a garden goodie bag with curbside pickup.

This year’s lineup includes Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Chris Enroth on How to Not Kill Your Tree, Master Gardener and radio personality John Bodensteiner on Creating a Garden for Hummingbirds, Illinois Extension Educator Eliana Brown on Rain Gardens and other Sustainable Water Practices in the Garden, Illinois Extension Educator Erin Harper on Seed Starting and Vegetable Garden Design, and Master Gardener Pat Sollars on Fill Your Garden with Four Seasons of Color.

A limited number of the traditional Garden Day tote bags filled with coupons from local garden centers, speaker handouts, garden gloves, and assorted treats for gardeners will still be offered for a small fee. Contactless curbside pick-up is available the week of the event at the Vermilion County Extension office, 3164 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

The free workshop will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 13. Registration is open at go.illinois.edu/VirtualGardenDay2021. The event is free; Master gardeners will be accepting donations by check or credit card. For more information, call the Extension office at 217-442-8615.