Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2006
Regional Report

Get Ready to Spray Dormant Oil

When the temperature is above 40 degrees with no chance of freezing or rain for 24 hours, get out the sprayer and spray fruit trees and deciduous trees with dormant oil. Only spray if you've had a problem with aphids, scale, or mites. Avoid spraying on a windy day.

Prune Roses When the Forsythia Blooms

When the forsythia begins to bloom, it's time to prune roses. Prune hybrid tea roses and grandiflora roses back to 12 inches, and prune out any dark or broken canes as well as dead tips. Shrub roses also can be pruned to remove dead wood and to shape the plants.

Spruce Up the Perennial Bed

As the weather warms, pull back mulch from around perennial crowns. Cut back perennials that were left standing for winter interest, and remove dead foliage, being careful not to injure emerging leaves. As the ground warms, have fresh mulch ready to place around the plants to conserve moisture.

Start Tender Summer Bulbs Indoors

Start caladiums, elephant ears, cannas, tuberous begonias, calla lilies, and peacock orchids indoors in clean potting soil. Water them in lightly and place in a warm spot until growth begins to show. Then move into a sunny window or under lights until the weather warms enough to move them outdoors.

Plant Warm-Season Flower and Vegetable Seeds Indoors

Six to eight weeks before your average last frost date, start seeds of warm-weather annual flowers and vegetables in sterile potting mix and clean pots. Move under lights and transplant once before hardening them off for outdoor transplanting.

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