Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2005
Regional Report

Pinch Out Tips of Transplants

It may hurt to lose part of a plant or blossom, but be ruthless and pinch out the tips of annual and vegetable transplants when you put them in the ground. They will thank you for it by producing side buds, which makes them stocky and filled with flowers.

Don't Disturb Roots of Annual Transplants

When planting annuals, don't disturb the rootball and splay the roots. Research shows that they will establish faster if the rootball is put directly into the soil without being disturbed. However, do splay the roots of container-grown perennials, shrubs, and trees to help them establish more quickly.

Stake Perennials While Small

Get your perennial stakes ready and in place before the plants grow more than 6 inches tall. Use perennial rings, stakes interwoven with twine, or woody branches stuck into the ground. Once the foliage grows, it will engulf the support so it won't show at all.

Try Some Summer-Blooming Bulbs

This is the time to put in summer-blooming bulbs, such as lilies, dahlias, cannas, caladiums, gladiolus, and calla lilies. These will give a magnificent show in summer, and many do quite well as container plants, giving you color on the patio or deck. Try some of the more unusual ones, such as crocosmia, freesia, and peacock orchid.

Plant Woodies

Continue planting container or balled and burlapped woody plants through May. Remember to put back the same soil you take out of the hole, and spread mulch immediately. Give the new plants at least an inch of water each week throughout the growing season.

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