Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2009
Regional Report

Provide Water for Migrating Birds

The May migrating birds such as warblers, tanagers, orioles, and buntings are visiting. They are attracted to shallow pools and the sound of dripping water, so provide a clean birdbath, and add a gentle water drip.

Watch Water Needs of Containers

Keep a watch on plants in window boxes and containers. On warm, windy days, hanging baskets and terra cotta pots may require daily watering. If your containers dry out too quickly, you might consider incorporating water-conserving granules into container soil.

Let Bulb Foliage Yellow

Let spring bulb foliage yellow and wither before removing it. The leaves manufacture food that is stored in the bulb for next year's growth. Braiding or clipping the foliage reduces food production in the leaves. If you can't tolerate the appearance, plant perennials or groundcovers that will grow up and cover the fading foliage.

Pinch Fall Bloomers

Begin to regularly pinch back fall-blooming perennials such as chrysanthemums, asters, and tall sedums. Pinch once every two weeks until the middle of July to promote stocky growth that doesn't need to be staked. Or, pinch May 1, June 1, and July 1 if it's easier to remember.

Stake Tall Perennials

Stake tall perennials before they reach 6 inches. Put in place perennial rings or lace string from short stakes. A natural-looking staking method is to use twiggy branches from shrubs. Stick them into the soil around the plant crowns and when the plants grow up, they cover the branches with their foliage.

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