Northern & Central Midwest

September, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Trees and Shrubs

Fall is a great time for planting, but wait until trees and shrubs drop their leaves or undergo color change before planting them or digging and moving them to new sites. At that time they are entering dormancy and will not suffer as much transplant shock when moved.

Eat Up Those Cat-Faced Tomatoes

Puckered, cat-faced tomatoes are usually the result of poor pollination during cold weather. We've had a very cool summer, especially when tomatoes were blooming. Larger beefsteak varieties commonly exhibit this unusual growth. The damage is purely cosmetic, so go ahead and enjoy those long-awaited fruits.

Prune Everbearing Raspberries

Everbearing raspberry bushes are now producing their fall crop on the top half of the canes. After harvest, prune out the top half of the plants. The lower half of the canes will produce fruit early next summer. Next summer, prune the canes to the ground after the summer crop.

Take Cuttings from Annuals

If you plan to take cuttings from favorite annuals, such as geraniums, impatiens, petunias, coleus, and begonias, now is the time. Take 3- to 5-inch healthy shoots, remove all but two or three leaves, dip in rooting powder, and plant. Cover with plastic until they root, checking daily for mold.

Help Prevent Weeds With Corn Gluten

Corn gluten meal can prevent weed seeds from sprouting, so apply your first dose now and then do another application next spring in late April or early May. This organic product works best if used both spring and late summer for three or four consecutive years.

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