Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2010
Regional Report

Try a Moth Orchid

Treat yourself to a moth orchid for the windowsill. They are appearing in garden centers, and purchasing one with many buds will give you beauty for almost six months. How's that for a good investment? Give them plenty of light, moderate to cool temperatures, and regular moisture.

Plan Your Pruning

While the leaves are off the deciduous trees, make note of what you need to prune later in the winter or early spring. Even if the weather is not conducive to spending much time outdoors, if you know what you want to prune when the weather finally breaks, you'll be at it efficiently.

Take Care of Birds

Make sure to keep bird feeders filled, and even though we tend to do cleaning chores in spring, consider bringing them in at least once in winter to clean them out and put out all fresh seed. When the temperatures plummet, birds expend a lot of energy keeping warm.

Use Safe Products to Melt Ice

Consider using a safer product than standard salt when you need the ice melted off a sidewalk or driveway. Potassium chloride is safer for plants and pets' paws, or if you don't mind a bit of a mess, ashes or sand will give you good traction without adding any toxins to the surrounding soil.

Watch the Snow Load

Watch trees and shrubs for snow load. When you have a heavy snowfall that bends branches, before it has a chance to freeze in place, take a rake or broom and gently lift from below to knock the snow off. Don't hit the branches or you'll risk breakage.

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