Northern & Central Midwest

September, 2005
Regional Report

Take Care of Thatch in the Lawn

Check your lawn for thatch. It looks like a coconut mat of dead, fibrous material between the green leaves of the grass and the soil. If it's half an inch thick, it can prevent water from getting to the grass roots. Time to core aerate!

Take Tip Cuttings of Your Favorite Annuals

Take cuttings of favorite annuals to grow indoors this winter. Wax begonias, impatiens, coleus, lantana, fuchsia, geraniums, petunias, and verbena can all survive under lights or on a sunny windowsill. Then they will be ready to put out growth again next spring. Stick tip cuttings in rooting hormone and then grow in sterile potting soil.

Divide Perennials

Divide your perennials. As the foliage fades, dig out the entire plant and cut it into divisions, or simply slice through a plant in the ground and remove half of it. Cut stems of the transplant back to 4 to 6 inches, and firm the soil as you plant it. Water well and mulch.

Put Amaryllis Away for Fall Sleep

Bring amaryllis back indoors and stop watering. Put it in a cool, dark place and let the plant rest in its pot a couple of months. When ready, bring it back into the light, replace the top inch of soil with fresh potting mix, and begin watering. It should flower nine to twelve weeks later.

Move Peonies

This is the time to move and divide peonies. Select each division with three to five pink growing points and replant 1 to 2 inches deep. Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart in a site with well-drained soil and abundant organic matter. Plants blossom better in full sun but will tolerate light shade as well.

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