Gardening in Illinois

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Brought to you by the
Illinois Green Industry Association--the resource for industry professionals in Illinois--to provide garden tips to our valued gardening consumers in and surrounding Illinois.


Why trees?

Well, we know the answer to that, but do you? If not, check out this cool video we found...

In fact, if you haven't checked it out previously, you definitely should be a frequent visitor to Dr. Charlie Hall's blog Making Cents of the Green Industry. His latest post is a great video titled "Why Trees?" It was produced by Alabama A&M & Auburn Universities and it is an intriguing "doodle video" making the case for more trees.

One of our members called our attention both to the video and to this awesome quote at the beginning of it: "A community should see itself in the same way as its trees. If trees are dying, the town is dying. Planting trees symbolizes a community that is alive, prosperous, and growing." - Arnold Leak, Valley, Alabama

It's a must watch for all tree lovers! If the video inspires you to plant more trees, our members have them! Make sure to visit an IGIA member nursery or garden center in your area. You can locate one or more in your area of Illinois with our searchable membership database available here on gardenillinois.com.

Native Plants are Naturally Nifty!

Have you heard the buzz about native plants? Native plants are the topic of many magazine & newspaper articles, garden shows, seminars... etc. So why is everyone talking about natives?

Natives make sense! Native plants "grew up" in Illinois. From our soils to our weather, plants that are native to Illinois do more than tolerate our conditions.... they seem to enjoy it!

Since they enjoy our climate and soils they can grow vigorously and fight off most disease organisms and fungal pathogens. This means that you, the gardeners, don't have to spray them with fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides.

Another benefit to their Illinois heritage is that our native critters, butterflies, birds, bees, etc recognize them as a food source! You might say... ahhh....I don't want critters eating my new plants.... well, yes you do! Allow me to explain.. once a native plant is established, it can tolerate feeding from our native critters with no problem. For example: a Swamp Milkweek (Asclepias incarnata) can be nearly defoliated by monarch caterpillars- and it's ok! The plant is no worse for the wear! 

Healthy insect populations = healthier food chain. Insects are kind of like the bottom of the natural food pyramid. Many animals, birds and reptiles depend on insect protein for food. When insect populations are not healthy, neither are the populations of certain birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. 

Healthy plant and animal populations = healthy food chain = cleaner water = cleaner air= healthier humans.

You might be thinking... what does any of this have to do with me and my yard....well- you're yard is or should be an ecosystem! We have modified 95-97% of the land in the lower 48 states... 42% (approximately) of that land in in agriculture, and approximately 54% of that land is in suburbia. This is where we come in... the gardener. Our backyard gardens have never been more powerful than, more needed, than they are today. 

Our "natural" areas are over-run with invasive plant materials like Russian Olive, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Tree of Heaven, multiflora rose, crown vetch, tall fescue, and the list goes on. If you would like to see a complete listing of INVASIVE PLANTS check out the Missouri Botanic Garden website.

Your backyard, with proper planning and proper plant choices can be a functioning ecosystem! 

Stop in to your local garden center and check out our selection of Illinois Native Plants and ask us how you can make your yard a healthier place to be!

What is an ICN Pro? An ICN Pro is a person who is dedicated to the Green Industry. He/she has committed themselves to maintaining a level of professionalism that is unsurpassed in the industry. An ICN Pro has completed a rigorous series of tests that include sections on General Standards, Design, Perennial Plant Material, Woody Plant Material and Plant Diseases. There are over 300 ICN Pros statewide. Find an ICN Pro in your area.

More tips...

by Carey Boehm-Corrie, ICN Pro of the Year (2003), Boehm's Garden Center, Rushville, IL

Find IGIA member businesses to assist with your nursery, gardening and landscaping needs. Search our Membership Database to locate members in your area.

Grow a Career!
Nursery, landscape and garden industries offer opportunities for those passionate for this field. Visit thelandlovers.org to learn more about this growing profession!

Gardening and Landscape Tips
Download these helpful articles!

Get a free e-book on the Perennial Plants of the Year at gardening-tips-perennials.com.

Proper disposal of downed trees can help prevent spread of Emerald Ash Borer. See Illinois Dept. of Agriculture reminder.

Top 10 Gardening Tips
From Your ICN Pros

1. KEEP THE MOWER BLADES UP HIGH! Raising your mowing height increases the vigor of the turf. A more vigorous turf is more tolerant of dry conditions, and more able to compete with weeds. Never apply weed sprays or fertilizers to your lawn in the summer months.

2. WEEDS CAN BECOME A MAJOR PROBLEM. There are many tricks to maintaining a weed free bed—besides spending hours a day pulling weeds! Read more


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copyright Illinois Green Industry Association
2900 Greenbriar Drive
Springfield, IL  62704
217-546-GREEN (4733)

fax: 217-546-4703
Toll free: 888-525-3900