Archive for the ‘Going green’ Category


Before frost, carefully lift and pot small herb plants or large perennials you want to bring inside.

Fall is a great time to plant and transplant trees and shrubs. Fall conditions, which include warm soil, moderate air temperatures and rain, help plants re-establish their root systems.

In general, trees and shrubs do not need to be pruned when transplanted to compensate for loss of roots during transplanting.

Evergreens benefit from planting early in the fall to minimize the chance of winter burn. Try to get them planted before the middle of October and continue watering them weekly or as needed until the ground is frozen.

They should not go into winter under stress from being too dry.

  •  Good soil preparation is important for a successful planting. It is best to amend the entire planting area or bed instead of individual holes. Evenly incorporate 2 to 3 inches of compost into existing garden soil.
  •  Mulch is also important to install for fall plantings. Use 2 to 3 inches of mulch for trees and shrubs and 1 to 2 inches for perennials and ground overs. It is best to keep mulch away from the crown (base) of the plants.
  •  Peonies are dependable, long-living, hardy perennials. Their neat foliage stays green from spring until frost, and follows large, showy blooms. They do best in full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade. Flowering is reduced if they are placed in the shade.

Autumn is a good time to plant peonies as well as divide and transplant existing ones. Lift roots carefully and use a sharp tool to cut the large, fleshy roots into smaller pieces. Be careful not to make these pieces too small; each section should have at least three eyes.

The eyes are reddish growing buds that emerge from the top of the roots. You will find them in spring and fall. Set these divisions an inch or 2 below ground.

  •  It is time to start thinking about the indoor herb garden. Before frost, carefully lift and pot small herb plants or large perennials such as rosemary or lemon verbena to bring inside.

After lifting them from the ground, you may want to keep them outside for a few days in a partially shaded spot with even moisture. This will help them adjust to a move indoors. The shock from moving plants from outside to inside can cause some yellowing of leaves. Once the plants are inside, keep the herbs in a sunny window.

Author Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at Chicago Botanic Garden, chicagobotanic.org.

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Rec Event

Two recycling events take place tomorrow, October 2nd, for residents to take advantage of.

The first is an electronics recycling drop off taking place at Village Hall from 9 AM to 2 PM.  Items being accepted include:

Laptops, desktop PC/towers, servers, cell phones, tablets, VOIP phones, gaming systems, household batteries, audio/video equipment, cable boxes, LCD monitors, circuit boards, cabling and networking switches/hubs/modems/routers. Car, lawn mower and motorcycle batteries will also be accepted.

A fee of $10 will be charged for each television or printer dropped off.

The second is a prescription drug drop off from 9:00 to 11:00 AM at Rep. McLaughlin’s District office located at 28662 W. Northwest Highway, Suite A, in Lake Barrington.  McLaughlin and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department will be collecting your unwanted or expired prescription drugs and safely disposing of them for free.

The prescription drug drop off is an outdoor event that allows you to remain in your vehicle. Drivers should follow the marked lanes when entering and exiting the parking lot. For speedier service, place contents of pill bottles in a plastic bag and recycle the plastic containers.

For more information on the event, contact Rep. McLaughlin at 224-634-8300 or RepMcLaughlin.com.

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monarch migration

Monarch butterflies roosting in a cottonwood tree.

The fall monarch migration, in which millions of butterflies travel up to 3,000 miles south to California and Mexico, is already underway in Wisconsin and Canada, with reports of the intrepid insects gathering in large groups to rest in trees or refuel in nectar-rich fields. And the spectacle will likely reach Chicago next week, according to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum chief curator Doug Taron.

Expect more monarchs in gardens, parks, forests and fields. And if you’re exploring green areas along Lake Michigan, keep an eye out for “roosts” where dozens — or even hundreds — of monarchs spend the night in a single tree.

Those who prefer monarchs-on-demand can attend butterfly festivals such as Flutter Into Fall on Sept. 12 at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which will include a chance to see monarch tagging, in which tiny stickers are attached to the insects’ wings before release.

Local monarch fests include the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Migrating Monarchs Celebration in River Forest on Sept. 12, and Oak Lawn Park District’s Monarch Festival on Sept. 18.

The monarch population has been in decline for the past 20 years, spurring conservation efforts by both scientists and everyday people, who grow milkweed in gardens, fields and parkways. The butterflies, while not yet officially recognized as an endangered or threatened species, meet the criteria for inclusion, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

But millions of monarchs still make the annual trip south across the U.S. and Canada to California and Mexico, with thousands flying from Illinois to Michoacán, Mexico, a journey of abut 2,000 miles.

Read more here.

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(Note: It’s not too late to pre-order shrubs and trees from Citizens for Conservation during their Fall sale running through Tuesday. Click here for details.)


When you plant a tree, make sure the root flare — the place where the stem or trunk flares out into the root — sits at or slightly above the level of the soil. That way, you’ll bury the roots, but not the stem.

Planting or transplanting a tree, shrub or perennial is all about giving its roots a good home in the soil.

“It’s the only time we see the roots and can focus on what they need,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist in the Plant Clinic of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “The rest of the time, we tend to forget them.” But a plant can only grow the parts we enjoy — the leaves and flowers and branches — if it has a healthy root system to supply water and nutrients.

Once a tree or shrub is planted, it will be very hard to tell if something has gone wrong with the roots, and it will be difficult, often impossible, to correct root problems that can stunt or even kill a plant.

“Taking care when planting is an investment toward avoiding problems,” she said.

Early fall is an excellent time to plant or transplant trees and shrubs, Yiesla said: “If you get the plant in the ground by early October and you keep it watered, it will have several weeks or more to get its roots established before the soil freezes.”

Most often, homeowners purchase trees and shrubs in large pots. Here are suggestions from Yiesla and the Plant Clinic for giving container-grown plants’ roots a good start.

Read more here or visit the Morton Arboretum website here.

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MC 50

The McHenry County Conservation District is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a celebration event Saturday, marking 50 years since the conservation district was formed by a countywide referendum.

The free, family-friendly event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area, 1520 Crystal Lake Road in Cary, will feature nature crafts, sidewalk chalk contest, birding, tomahawk toss, fish casting game, a fisheries “live tank” demo, prizes and giveaways, according to a news release.

Attendees are welcome to bring a picnic lunch or stop at one of the food trucks, according to the release. Live music will be performed by Junkyard Groove and a short presentation and introductions will take place at noon.

For information, go to MCCDistrict.org.

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CFC Fall 2021Plant native trees and shrubs to help create bird, pollinator, and wildlife habitat. CFC’s 24th annual Fall Native Tree & Shrub Sale is here! Online ordering is available through 8/31 at fallsale.citizensforconservation.org.

Pick up is Sept 11th 9am – 3pm at Frier Farm, 23585 N. Kelsey Rd, Lake Barrington (only 2 miles from CFC). All sales are preorder online only; no additional plants will be available on pickup day. CFC members will receive a 10% discount on all orders.

For more information, call CFC at (847) 382-7283.

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Trees and other plants may struggle to survive if they are planted during the hot months of a drought year like this one, unless they are very carefully watered all summer.

If you have been planning to plant or transplant a tree or shrub this year and haven’t gotten around to it, consider waiting until fall.

“Even in a normal year, summer is not the best time to plant or transplant,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at in the Plant Clinic of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “And this year we’re in a drought.”

Planting in summer has extra risks, because the heat makes soil and plants dry out faster. As the temperature rises, water evaporates more quickly. In this drought year — one of the driest on record — rainfall is not likely to provide enough water for plants.

“At this point, homeowners might be better off waiting until late summer or early fall to purchase or transplant trees or shrubs,” she said.

Plants are mostly water, and they need a steady, reliable water supply to survive. Between 80% and 90% of the weight of any green plant consists of the water that fills its cells. Even a mature tree, with its woody trunk and branches, is about 50% water.

In summer, plants cool themselves by allowing water to escape through tiny holes in their leaves, taking heat with it. The water that evaporates needs to be replaced in order for the plant to keep functioning.

Read more here.

For tree and plant advice, contact the Plant Clinic at The Morton Arboretum (630-719-2424, mortonarb.org/plant-clinic, or plantclinic@mortonarb.org).

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53 Greenway

First came the Illinois Prairie Path, one of the first rail-to-trail conversions in the United States. Later, The 606 trail in Chicago attracted crowds of bikers and runners and led to skyrocketing nearby property values. Now, a group of conservationists and elected officials in Lake County are pushing to turn a former proposed tollway corridor into a greenway — a trail through a long, narrow nature preserve.

Illinois lawmakers recently approved a resolution calling for a task force to study alternate uses for the proposed extension of Illinois Route 53 in the northwest suburbs. The effort picks up where Illinois tollway officials left off in 2019 when they dropped plans for the road.

Believers in the project cite it as an example of a popular trend away from highways and greenhouse gas emissions, and toward preservation of natural areas. Critics see it as a boondoggle for a relatively small number of people, rather than a project that could have served 100,000 drivers a day and spurred economic development.

While Republicans traditionally have supported road projects, the resolution passed unanimously in both chambers, suggesting growing bipartisan support for nature paths.

“These become beloved spaces where diverse residents, young and old, flock to get fresh air, walk, bike, and share a moment with each other,” said Gerald Adelmann, president and CEO of the nonprofit Openlands conservation group. “This is our moment to create that kind of legacy for our communities.”

Road builders see it differently. Mike Sturino, president of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, cited widespread past support for the expressway.

“The majority of working people suffer when you pull the plug on needed infrastructure,” Sturino said. “I like bike lanes, but we have to be realistic. It’s shocking when respectable officials are browbeaten by a radical fringe to go along with this reckless move.”

Read more here.

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SG SaleSmart Farm of Barrington will hold its annual plant sale from 9 AM to noon Friday, May 7, and 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, May 8, at Smart Farm, 490 W. Route 22, in Barrington, just west of the Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital campus.

The sale includes a large variety of vegetables and herbs, heirloom varieties. Masks and social distancing are required. Cash, check and credit cards will be accepted. For information, (847) 875-2060 or smartfarms.org.

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About 40 people turned out Thursday, including 10 members of a local Brownie troop, to plant native plants like St. John’s wort for Earth Day at Pederson Preserve in Barrington. (John Starks | Staff Photographer)

Volunteers celebrated Earth Day on Thursday by installing native plants in a Barrington nature preserve and cleaning up a park in Warrenville

About 40 people, including 10 members of Brownie Troop 2370, gathered Thursday to plant St. John’s wort and other native plants in the Pederson Nature Preserve.

The 5.6-acre parcel across from Barrington High School was purchased by the Barrington Area Conservation Trust with funds donated by Frederica Smith Pederson, whose late husband, Keith Pederson, was a distinguished Barrington resident. The property is named after him.

Since the conservation trust formed in 2001, its mission has been to conserve open spaces and the rural character of Barrington communities. In 20 years, the trust has saved 520 acres of land, formed five nature preserves, installed 52 monarch butterfly pollinator gardens and planted 110 oak trees, its members say.

For more information, visit bactrust.org.

Read more here.

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