Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2009
Regional Report

Plan Carefully for a Live Christmas Tree

If you are planning to use a live tree for Christmas, try to keep it indoors for only a few days to avoid stress. Dig the hole for it now and fill it with straw. Move the soil you'll be using to backfill the hole into the garage or somewhere to keep it from freezing.

Keep Christmas Tree Watered

Keep a cut Christmas tree as cool as possible for as long as possible, and keep it watered even outside. When bringing it in, make a fresh cut on the stem and put it in water quickly. Set it up away from heat sources, and make sure to keep the water level above the bottom of the trunk.

Remove Snow from Evergreens

If snow piles up on evergreens, try to gently brush it off or take a broom or rake and lift the branches from below rather than shaking them. If the snow freezes on the branch, leave it to thaw naturally to avoid breaking the branch. Trim any broken branches as soon as you can.

Protect Roses

The temperatures have dropped enough to put on rose protection if not already done. For hybrid teas, pile loose leaves, composted manure, or a soil and leaves mixture to a foot high around the base of the rose. Shrub roses and landscape roses need no protection.

Protect Trees from Deer

Reduce deer and rodent damage to young trees by wrapping them with plastic guards. Remove the wrap in spring to avoid damage to the trunk. Be aware that high snow drifts can simply move the feeding to the upper part of the trunk. Fencing is the only way to prevent feeding completely.

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