Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2011
Regional Report

Check for Tent Caterpillars

When you are out for your winter walk, check crabapple, apple, hawthorn, mountain ash, flowering cherry, and other members of the rose family for signs of Eastern tent caterpillar. The egg cases will be dark brown-green and iridescent. They will encircle small twigs. Take a knife and scrape off the cases gently.

Force Blooming Branches

Flowering trees and shrubs have had their necessary six weeks of cold, so you can begin to bring branches indoors for forcing. Selectively prune branches about a foot long with fat flower buds, keeping in mind the overall shape of the plant. Immediately immerse in warm water and change the water daily until buds begin to open.

Keep Poinsettias Healthy

Keep holiday poinsettias in good condition for months by placing them near a sunny window and rotating the pots a quarter-turn every few weeks. Water thoroughly whenever the surface feels slightly dry. Fertilize monthly at first with half-strength fertilizer and then every two or three weeks as the days grow longer in March.

Salt Walks with Birdseed

Ice and snow are unavoidable, but you can keep walks from being treacherous with a little creativity. Avoid salt or ice melters as these may injure plants. Instead, sprinkle walks with dark-colored bird seed to absorb the sun's warmth and give good traction on ice.

Give Houseplants Humidity

Skin itchy and dry? Plants need humidity also, so think creatively. Set the pots of humidity-loving house plants on trays filled with pebbles and water, or stuff Spanish moss in between pots (pot-in-pot), and keep it moist. Take plants into bathroom while you shower. Install a room humidifier for you and your plants.


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