Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2009
Regional Report

Ready your Pond for Winter

Get your aquatic garden ready for winter. Hardy plants can remain in the pond, but tender plants should be lifted and stored in the basement. To keep the pond from freezing, install a pond heater or aerator or cover with plywood and several inches of mulch or shredded leaves.

Lift Tender Bulbs

Get ready to lift tender bulbs and tubers such as begonia and dahlia as soon as the foliage has been blackened by frost. Cut back the leaves and stems and gently lift with a garden fork. Shake off the excess soil but do not wash. Store in a cool, dry area.

Plant Bulbs

It's time to plant spring-blooming and some summer-blooming bulbs. Plant in clumps or swaths of color, and don't forget the tiny bulbs such as grape hyacinth and crocus. Water the bulbs in well and mulch with organic mulch. It's not necessary to fertilize now; wait until after blooming in spring

Transplant Trees and Shrubs

When deciduous trees and shrubs start to turn to fall color, they are going into dormancy and can be transplanted. When planting, water the plants in well and mulch with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch. Continue to water weekly and do not fertilize for a year.

Fertilize Woody Plants

If you didn't fertilize woody plants in spring, you can fertilize them now. Plants that were somewhat off-color, didn't have normal-sized leaves or had poor blooming or fruiting may need a boost. A top dressing of compost or composted manure on top of the mulch will give the needed help.

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