Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2010
Regional Report

Watch Succulent Growth

Keep an eye on succulent new growth on trees and shrubs. This new growth is particularly attractive to aphids. Signs include curled leaves, aphid casts (shed skins), and distorted tips. In most cases, a strong spray of water will disperse them. If they persist, spray with insecticidal soap.

Prune Spring-Blooming Shrubs

If needed, prune spring flowering trees and shrubs immediately after they bloom. Forsythia, lilac, magnolia, serviceberry, mockorange and fothergilla all will finish blooming in the next few weeks. Renewal prune lilac, mockorange and forsythia by removing one-third of the largest stems at ground level.

Watch Containers for Water

Monitor flowers in window boxes, pots and hanging baskets, especially on windy, warm days. Be especially watchful of plants in terra cotta pots; these pots wick water out of the soil and may need to be watered daily. Consider mixing water-absorbing granules into potting soil to reduce watering needs.

Pinch Out Strawberry Blossoms

Pinch out blossoms and runners on June-bearing strawberries that are newly planted. This allows the plant to put all its energy into becoming established. Next year you can reap the harvest. About mid-summer, let the runners begin to form to make more plants for next year.

Leave Bulb Foliage

Leave bulb foliage intact until it starts to turn pale green or yellow. While still green, it is photosynthesizing and producing food for the bulb. Leaving it to produce food as long as possible will assure a healthy bulb and good flower show next year.

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