Nature and Fallen Leaves

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 by

Not only do leaves make trees look beautiful, their importance in sustaining life on this planet cannot be understated. Their bright green appearance in the spring is an indication of the beginning of a new life cycle. In the summer leaves provide much needed shelter from heat and rain for wildlife and humans alike. They also serve as the vehicle through which trees produce their own food. Their dramatic beauty in the fall is simply unparalleled. In addition to all of this, properly used as mulch or compost they provide outstanding organic matter and nutrients to the soil called humus. Soils that have a high humus content, have abundant living biological activity to convert plant residues, leaf litter, animal dung and various biomass into stable humus. Humus gives the soil the ability to absorb...

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Autumn Leaves

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by

According to horticulture experts in Illinois, favorable spring and summer weather will lead to vibrant fall tree colors throughout the state. Some sugar and red maples have already started to change color at Klehm.  The fall tree colors could last longer if the first frost holds off for a while, and if leaves aren’t knocked off of trees due to strong storms.  University of Illinois Extension Office horticulture educator Kelly Allsup also says that cooler temperatures produce better colors. Some trees are still stressed from last year’s drought, which can trigger early color changes.  Murphy also adds that a major weather change that happened last November caused many leaves to change prior to the final color stage. The autumnal equinox occurred on September 22nd, marking the official start of fall.  The dominant colors in...

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Why Leaves Change Color

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by

Every autumn we revel in the beauty of the fall colors. The mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow is the result of chemical processes that take place in the tree as the seasons change from summer to winter. During the spring and summer the leaves have served as factories where most of the foods necessary for the tree’s growth are manufactured. This food-making process takes place in the leaf in numerous cells containing chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color. This extraordinary chemical absorbs from sunlight the energy that is used in transforming carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch. Along with the green pigment are yellow to orange pigments, carotenes and xanthophyll pigments which, for example, give the orange color to a carrot. Most of the year...

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How To Make Seed Balls

Friday, August 8, 2014 by

Seed balls make sowing a lot easier!  Seed balls are seeds wrapped in soil materials , then dried and planted later.  Seed balls can be dropped anywhere suitable for the species during the germination period.  First, sift clay to remove lumps and then measure out 5 parts clay,  3 parts compost and 1 part seeds.  Combine the seeds with the compost first, then add enough clay and water to hold the mixture together.  Roll out small amounts of the seed mixture to about the size of a penny.  Store seeds balls in a cool, dark area where insects will not disturb them.  Refrigeration works best if you have room available in your fridge.  In spring, toss the seed balls in a cleared area to germinate.  This method works great for wildflower gardens and is...

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6 Fall Gardening Tips

Monday, November 11, 2013 by

Year-end garden tips 1) Leaving perennials standing and not cutting them back may help to protect the crown. If you mulch, go ahead and cut them back. 2) Rake fallen leaves from grass. Leaves left on lawn over winter will smother and kill grass. 3) Plant spring – flowering bulbs as long as the ground is not frozen. 4) Protect evergreen trees and shrubs with an additional watering sometime this month. Consider whether to protect the plants with a burlap screen to ward off salt-laden street plowings or to shield the plant from a south face where sunny days may warm the plant enough to begin breaking dormancy too early. 5) Continue mowing the lawn until growth stops, typically when temperatures are below 40 degrees consistently. Do not lower mower height, keep settings at...

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Special Fall Evening Tours of Klehm...

Monday, October 15, 2012 by

Monday, Oct. 15 – Friday, Oct. 19 Tours run from 4pm – 6pm daily Take in the beautiful colors of autumn at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden. We do the driving as you relax in riding comfort aboard the Klehm Express, our quiet electric shuttle. Enjoy the music of nature on this 20 minute tour of the grounds and gardens of Klehm. This week only, evening tours are FREE with daily admission. Stay warm while you wait. Free hot drinks will be served in the Visitors Center. We welcome the opportunity to serve people of all abilities. For special accommodations please contact our office at 815-965-8146. Admission: $6 for adults | $3 for seniors (62+), students (18+ with student ID) & children 3-17 Free to Klehm members, reciprocal garden members & children under...

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