Northern & Central Midwest

November, 2004
Regional Report

Mulch Strawberries

It's almost time to mulch strawberries. Clean straw or hay applied as soon as the ground freezes is the best way to protect the crowns. If not already done, mow or remove as many leaves as possible before mulching to avoid giving diseases that overwinter on the leaves a place to spend the winter.

Take Care of Houseplants Brought Indoors

Houseplants brought indoors from a summer outside will most likely be exhibiting leaf drop and stress because of the change in light and temperature. Some plants can be cut back to reduce the stress, and others will need some supplemental light as they adjust. Reduce watering and fertilizing on all but continually blooming plants.

Don't Use Antidessicants

Antidessicant sprays have long been recommended for use on broadleaved evergreens, such as rhododendron, boxwood, and holly, to protect foliage from the drying effects of wind. But research shows that the wax from these sprays interferes with a plant's transpiration. Proper siting is the better solution.

Plant Trees and Shrubs Through November

We can continue to plant deciduous trees and shrubs through November, but after that it's best to wait until March or April. Be sure to add 2 to 4 inches of mulch after planting, and continue to water well until the ground freezes, especially the evergreens.

Clean Feeders and Birdbaths

Birds are still finishing up remaining natural foods, but be ready for their winter feeding. If you maintain a birdbath, consider adding a heating coil to keep the water open, or a specially designed solar birdbath. Clean your feeders regularly through the winter as well, to keep from spreading disease.

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