Department of Crop Sciences

News Archive

Learn small farming skills from your desk this winter

Published: Friday, December 9, 2016

URBANA, Ill. - Even in the dead of winter, you can learn to raise strawberries, microgreens, and cut flowers.

“Your fields and gardens may be snowed over, but it is the perfect time to develop your skills in small farming and local food production,” says Andy Larson, a University of Illinois Extension local food systems and small farms educator.

Christmas tree trivia

Published: Friday, December 9, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – We may put up a Christmas tree every year, but few of us are aware of their history and significance. University of Illinois Extension educator Ron Wolford enlightens us.

In 1856, Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first president to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

Finding the perfect Christmas tree

Published: Thursday, December 8, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – Choosing the perfect Christmas tree this holiday season is simply a matter of following a few simple steps, according to University of Illinois Extension educator Ron Wolford.

Top 10 tips for poinsettias

Published: Wednesday, December 7, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – It is hard to think of the holidays without conjuring up images of red poinsettias and a snowy landscape. These beautiful plants are easy to care for, with a few simple tips.

Forcing paperwhites for holiday décor

Published: Monday, December 5, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – Longing for a bit of spring during the winter months? A University of Illinois Extension educator suggests “forcing” bulbs indoors to create a beautiful and long-lasting flower display for your home.

Dicamba and soybean: What to expect in 2017

Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – One barrier to weed control on soybean farms has just been lifted. In early November, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a label allowing use of the herbicide dicamba in dicamba-resistant soybean, although only one commercial product received that label.

Orchids make elegant houseplants

Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – Most of us have limited experience with orchids, and may feel intimidated by their reputation as finicky plants. However, orchids are an amazingly diverse plant family, growing in deserts, mountains, marshes, northern woods, and Illinois forests, and should be given a chance, according to a University of Illinois Extension educator.

Bioenergy grass can withstand freezing temperatures

Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2016
  • Prairie cordgrass, a native perennial grass used for biomass energy, is tolerant to salt, flooding, and freezing stress.
  • A new study demonstrates the gene expression patterns responsible for freezing tolerance in prairie cordgrass.
  • Once the genes responsible for freezing tolerance are identified in prairie cordgrass, they may be applied to other crops in

Trees and shrubs for poor drainage sites

Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – The splendor of trees and shrubs is apparent in the above-ground portions of the plants, but what lies beneath should not be ignored.

“Soil plays a vital role in the survival of trees and shrubs in the landscape,” University of Illinois Extension educator Andrew Holsinger explains.

Can houseplants improve indoor air quality?

Published: Monday, November 28, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – In an era of increasing energy prices, many Americans insulate and seal up their homes during the winter months. Although this can result in savings on the monthly power bill, sealing the home can concentrate indoor air pollutants and cause various health problems.