Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2006
Regional Report

Spray Dormant Oil On Fruit Trees

When those precious warm days appear in April, be ready to spray fruit trees with dormant oil for insect control. Dormant oil goes a long way toward keeping populations of aphids, mites, and other insects in check. There is even some evidence that the oil may help protect against fungal diseases.

Control Lawn Weeds Early

Get to the weeds in the lawn before they take hold. If possible, hand-pull weeds or spot treat them with boiling water or vinegar. The earlier you get them out, the better chance you'll have of keeping them away for the year. Besides, pulling weeds is a great tension reliever!

Gradually Acclimate Houseplants to Outdoors

Even though the days are warm, it's still a bit early in most areas to leave houseplants outdoors. Take them out gradually to harden them off, and bring them in or put them in the garage on nights when the temperatures fall below 45 degrees. Be sure to monitor them for water while outdoors.

Cut Back Butterfly Bush

This is the time to cut back butterfly bush (Buddleia) stems to 10 to 12 inches above the ground. In warmer areas, entire stems may survive, but in more northern parts of the Midwest, stems often die to the ground. Regardless of how much survives, the plant will be much more attractive if cut back.

Cut Back Ornamental Grasses As Soon As Possible

Cut back ornamental grasses as early in the month as you can manage. They are attractive left standing over the winter, but the foliage should be cut back to about 4 to 6 inches in spring before the new growth resumes. Leaving the old foliage can delay growth by as much as three weeks.

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