Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2007
Regional Report

Get Houseplants Ready for Summering Outdoors

To prepare houseplants for summering outdoors, bring them outside during warm days, but bring them back inside or put them in the garage on cool nights. Most houseplants can remain outside when night temperatures are consistently 40 to 50 degrees. When in doubt, wait until mid-May before placing them permanently in the garden.

Plant Easter Lilies Outdoors

Easter lilies do not survive as houseplants but will sometimes survive outdoors to bloom again next year. As soon as the blossoms have withered, cut them off and put the plant on a sunny windowsill until it's safe to plant outdoors. Plant it in a sunny, protected spot a few inches deeper than it was in the pot.

Core Aerate Your Thin Lawn

For lawns that have thinned during the winter, consider having them core aerated in late spring. This will reduce thatch and bring air and moisture to new roots and spreading grass stems. If sun exposure has changed or you have a disease problem, consider overseeding to thicken up the lawn.

Deadhead Bulbs

As bulb flowers fade, clip out only the spent flower heads and stalks. Leaving the foliage on the plant allows the bulbs to make plenty of food for storage and put energy into bud development for next year. If the seed heads are left on the plant, the energy expended in ripening the seeds can exhaust the bulb.

Prepare for Summer Birds

To invite birds into your garden to make summer homes, they need shelter from predators. Plant berry- and seed-producing plants to provide food, dense shrubs and trees to give them protection and nest-building spots, and fresh water for bathing and drinking. Add a well-stocked feeder and you'll have plenty of residents.

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