Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2010
Regional Report

Protect Young Trunks

Protect young fruit and shade trees from rodent and rabbit damage by wrapping trunks with hardware cloth. Use cloth with one-half inch or smaller openings, and wrap to above the expected snow line. If the bark has become corky and thickened, it is not usually vulnerable to rodent damage.

Prepare to Winterize Roses

Get ready to winterize hybrid tea and grandiflora roses after a hard freeze (20 degrees). Tie the canes loosely and get your topsoil and mulch or shredded bark ready. When the temperature drops, cut the canes back to 6 to 12 inches and mound the plants with topsoil and mulch to the tops of the canes.

Drain Pools

Drain shallow garden pools to avoid freeze damage. Store tropical water lilies indoors. Roots and rhizomes of most kinds can be overwintered at about 50 degrees F. in a basement in moist sand that is not permitted to dry out. Many gardeners find it easier to purchase fresh propagules every spring.

Lift Tender Bulbs

Lift tender bulbs and corms that you want to keep, including gladiolas, dahlias, cannas and tuberous begonias. When frost blackens their tops, dig the bulbs carefully and retrieve any offsets that may have developed. Store in a cool, dry place. Check references for specific methods for each bulb.

Ripen Green Tomatoes

Ripen green tomatoes by picking only those with the beginnings of a color change (use the small hard green ones for making relish). Lay the tomatoes in a single row in a cardboard box in the basement or cool spot. Cover with newspaper and check daily for ripening and rotting.

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