Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2009
Regional Report

Celebrate Arbor Day

Celebrate and enjoy Arbor Day. Even if you don't get involved with a group, celebrate yourself by planting a tree, learning to identify trees in your yard and community, visiting a local nature preserve, attending a class on tree care, or volunteering with a local tree-planting organization.

Don't Roll Lawn

Don't be tempted to roll your bumpy lawn. Rolling increases compaction which results in more disease and insect problems as well as grass thinning. Instead, mow the grass higher, give it a light fertilization and consider having it core aerated to reduce thatch and compaction. A healthy lawn will even out.

Check Plant Roots

Before buying a perennial, tree, or shrub, gently pull it out of its pot and check the roots. If they are brown and the soil doesn't smell good, put the plant back. If there is little soil left and the roots are a solid impenetrable mass, consider choosing another plant.

Don't Work Wet Soil

Don't risk ruining your soil structure by working when it is wet. Squeeze a handful of soil with firm pressure. If you can squeeze water out, the soil is too wet. Open your hand, and poke the soil clump. If it falls apart, the soil is ready to work. If the clump stays together wait a few days.

Plant Strawberries

Plant strawberries as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring to allow the plants to become well established before the hot weather arrives. Plant on a cloudy day or during the late afternoon. Set the plant so that the soil is just covering the tops of the roots and not covering the crown.

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