Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2000
Regional Report

Remove Snow from Evergreens

Keep heavy snow from accumulating on evergreen shrubs and trees. Gently lift branches from underneath with a broom to shake off snow before it freezes. If ice accumulates on branches, let it melt naturally to avoid breaking the branches. Branches that are bent to extremes will often rebound once the ice melts.

Keep Holiday Blooming

After the holidays those gift plants can still provide color and cheer. To keep them looking great keep Christmas cactus and African violets in a warm (70F), sunny window. Christmas peppers, cyclamens, kalanchoes, poinsettias, cineraria, and other blooming plants will last longer if placed in a cool (55F to 60F), sunny window.

Give Cactus a Rest

This is the time when cactus and other succulents such as jade need a rest period. Put them in a cool, bright location such as next to a south window, and let the soil become fairly dry. Overwatering now will cause root rot. By spring, blooms should start forming again.

Buying a Live Christmas Tree

Consider purchasing a live tree for Christmas. First, dig the hole you will plant it in outdoors before the ground freezes, and fill the hole with straw or leaves. Put the soil for filling the hole where it will not freeze, such as in a garage. After purchasing the tree, keep it well watered and indoors no longer than a week. Plant the tree immediately after the holidays.

Fill Bird Feeders

As snows deepen, it's ever more critical to keep your bird feeders clean and full. Periodically wash them to prevent disease, and then make sure they're full every day. If you have squirrels helping themselves too, be extra vigilant. Squirrels can empty a feeder quickly.


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