Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2007
Regional Report

Watch for Sunscald

Check newly planted trees for frost cracks or sunscald injury. This occurs when temperatures fluctuate dramatically such as when a warm, sunny day is followed by a below-freezing night. You can avoid the injury by wrapping vulnerable tree trunks with protective wrap in the fall and removing it in early spring. Maples and lindens are especially susceptible.

Don't Fret About Bulbs Popping Up Early

Bulbs sometimes send up premature leaves during unseasonably warm periods, especially when planted with a southern exposure or close to a house or garage. Even if subsequent cold weather damages the foliage, the flower bud is usually not harmed because it is still deep in the ground.

Fix Drooping Rose Heads

A healthy cut rose may develop a drooping head because of air bubbles in the stem. Float the stem in a sink of warm water. Trim the stem on an angle below the water surface and gently straighten the flower head. Leave the flower and stem floating in water for half an hour and then move it back into its vase.

Fertilize Seedlings

When seeds germinate, gradually increase light levels and begin fertilizing. Use standard houseplant fertilizer diluted at 1/4 strength until the seedlings have at least two sets of true leaves. Once they get to this point, increase the solution to 1/2 strength once a week.

Does Your Houseplant Need Water?

Learn to read signs that your houseplants need water. Foliage turns a slightly duller, less lively green. Succulent leaves become a little rubbery. The container feels lighter as moisture evaporates from the soil. And soil feels dry to the touch, first at the surface, then below it. Water thoroughly until water runs out of the drain holes.


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