Northern & Central Midwest

November, 2011
Regional Report

Protect Equipment from Freezing

Frost is coming. Disconnect all hoses and drain them so they won't freeze and split. Winterize faucets and bring indoors any garden chemicals. Empty, wash, and store sprayers upside down. Put a rubber band around the squeeze handle, holding it open so any water drains out.

Give Extra Care to Houseplants

Baby your house plants brought indoors as they go through shock at being moved to a different "climate." They will lose leaves and may begin to droop. Be careful not to overwater or put them in direct drafts from the furnace, and do not fertilize. You can cut them back somewhat, but not drastically.

Plant Bulbs

There's still time to plant spring bulbs. They will develop a healthy root system in the still warm soil while the bulb itself stays dormant. Sharp sand or gravel in the bottom of the hole may deter animals from digging them up. Otherwise, focus on pest-resistant bulbs such as daffodil, fritillary, and grape hyacinth.

Protect Roses

After the temperatures drop below about twenty degrees, put protection around hybrid tea and floribunda roses. Mound peat moss, compost, or shredded leaves mixed with soil around the base to about a foot or more. Pruning is not necessary until spring, but for aesthetics, you can prune hybrid teas back to about knee height.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

There's still time for planting trees and shrubs. Bare root plants can be planted now, as well as balled-and burlapped and potted plants. The soil is still warm enough to start root growth. Water them in well after planting and immediately add two to four inches of mulch.

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