Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2010
Regional Report

Now-Mow Lawn

If you lawn isn't up to your expectations, consider overseeding with a new "no-mow" lawn mix. The look is a bit different, but the lawn needs mowing only once or twice a year. It tolerates drought, needs no fertilization and will choke out weeds once established. Do something good for the planet! Look in my 'Resources' section for more information.

Move Houseplants Outdoors

Houseplants should be readied to go outside for the summer. They can be repotted or the soil simply freshened. Move them outdoors on warm days, but bring them inside if the temperature is likely to drop below 45 degrees. Gradually expose them to sun and wind, and remember that even a high light houseplant should be sited in partial shade outdoors.

Take Care of Spring Bulbs

Fertilize spring bulbs with a side-dressing of compost as soon as they finish blooming. Remove spent flowers but allow foliage to wither completely before removing. After foliage has withered, lift and divide clumps of bulbs that bloomed poorly. Separate bulbs and let dry in mesh bags in an airy spot for planting in fall.

Plant Perennials, Grasses, Roses

Now is the time to plant perennials, ornamental grasses and roses. If plants are bare-root, soak them in a bucket of water for several hours before planting. Dig a hole that will encompass all the roots easily, and put back into the hole the same soil you removed. You can also divide summer-blooming perennials now.

Plant Out Cool Annuals

It's time to put out cool season annuals that tolerate a light frost. Harden them off first by gradually exposing them to sun and wind. After about two weeks of hardening, you can plant out snapdragons, lobelia, larkspur, browallia, stocks, primroses, pansies and violets.

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