Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2012
Regional Report

Monitor Houseplants

Watch houseplants brought indoors carefully for insect infestation. Monitor daily and if a problem occurs, immediately quarantine the plant to avoid infecting others. Spread a plastic sheet or put in the bathtub and treat with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap, following directions carefully to prevent damage.

Clean up Fruit

Remove all fallen fruit from the garden, orchard, and landscape. Good sanitation practices like these go a long way toward preventing insects and fungal spores from overwintering. Toss fallen fruit on the compost pile may not prevent problems, so dig a pit or trench and bury it.

Protect Trees and Shrubs from Rabbits

Protect trees and shrubs from rabbits and rodents before the snow flies. Deter them from spending the winter in your gardens by cutting down welcoming habitats such as ornamental grass clumps or perennials left standing. Protect tree trunks with a tube of 12 to 16 inch tall hardware cloth about a foot in diameter.

Winterize Water Garden

Winterize aquatic gardens. Hardy water plants may remain in ponds as long as they don't freeze, but tropicals need to be brought indoors for the winter. You can install a pond heater to keep the water surface from freezing and provide water for wildlife all winter.

Protect Pots

Remove annuals from pots after frost kills them. Save the potting soil to reuse next year, but remember to replace at least a third of it with fresh potting mix. To prevent freeze-thaw damage to ceramic or terra cotta pots, tuck them away in a corner of the garage or shed with soil in them.

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