Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2011
Regional Report

Repot and Prune Houseplants

As days lengthen, houseplants will be ready to start new growth. This is a good time to repot rootbound plants, moving them up to a pot that is no more than two inches larger than the original pot. Use fresh potting soil and cut back any leggy growth. Fertilize with dilute fertilizer about two weeks after potting.

Cut Back Grasses

When you get a break in the weather, get out and cut back ornamental grasses. Some of them will start emerging new growth as early as March, so the sooner you get them cut back, the earlier they will be beautiful. Research shows that grasses that aren't cut back are set back by at least two weeks.

Make Creative Garden Markers

Get creative with garden markers while the weather is unpleasant. All you need are scraps of wood, a few nails and a hammer, old seed packets, photos from garden catalogs or whatever else sounds interesting. Make simple stakes, glue on the artwork and then coat with decoupage liquid or clear enamel.

Determine Indoor Seeding Dates

Put your seeding dates for vegetables on the calendar now. Find your average frost free date from the local extension service, and then figure out what date each vegetable goes out into the garden as a transplant. Then count backward to the date you should plant your seeds indoors.

Do Some Clean-up Pruning

When you see those above 45 degree days, get out the pruners and get some clean-up done early. Prune out any winter-damaged branches, anything crossing or rubbing, and then do light pruning for aesthetics. Without the leaves you should have a clearer picture of a plant's overall shape.

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