Northern & Central Midwest

August, 2012
Regional Report

Don't Prune or Fertilize

Save pruning for fall after leaf drop and don't fertilize until next spring. Fertilizing trees and shrubs in fall simply wastes much of the fertilizer and can push new tender growth if done in early fall.

Pick off Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are making themselves known these days in the form of chewed leaves of many different plants. Hand pick early in the morning when beetles are sluggish and drop in a bucket of soapy liquid. Or repel beetles from feeding on leaves by spraying them with a mixture of dish detergent and Neem oil, available from the garden center.

Mulch Well

Make sure mulch is in place for the hottest part of the summer. Perennials and annuals should have two to three inches of organic mulch. Trees and shrubs benefit from three to four inches of shredded bark or leaves, and vegetables do best with five or six inches of straw or shredded leaves.

Let Cilantro Re-Seed

Let cilantro go to seed in your garden and you will have fresh cilantro all summer long. It will spread seeds far, so dig out those you don't want. The seeds are the spice coriander, so you can grind and use them as well as the fresh leaves.

Prevent Blossom End Rot

Monitor tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants carefully for water. Fluctuating levels of moisture will cause blossom end rot. Mulch heavily and make sure the soil stays consistently moist under the mulch.

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