Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2000
Regional Report

Holiday Tree Bird Feeder


Remove all ornaments and tinsel from your holiday tree and prop it up near birdfeeders to give birds cover. You could even string it with nuts and fruits for them to enjoy. If the holiday tree just doesn't work by the bird feeder, cut off the branches and use them to mulch perennials or broad-leaved evergreens.

Better De-icers


Use calcium chloride (CaCl) salt instead of sodium chloride (NaCl) to melt the ice on walkways and driveways. It does less damage to plants, lawns, and the environment in general. Mixing in wood ashes or sand can reduce the amount of salt needed and further protect your landscape, but be aware that it is messy.

Keeping Poinsettias


If you intend to keep your poinsettia beyond the holidays, treat it like a houseplant once the red bracts fall off. Place the plant in a bright windowsill and keep the soil evenly moist. Once the weather warms, cut it back to 8 to 10 inches tall, put it outdoors, and care for it like any container plant.

Check Stored Fruits


Check stored fruits and vegetables for deterioration. As they ripen, they produce ethylene gas, which causes the ripening of fruits nearby and eventual rotting. Promptly remove any fruits or vegetables that show the slightest signs of rotting to keep the other produce sound through the remainder of the winter.


Order Seeds and Plants


Although most of us get plenty of seed and plant catalogs without asking for them, be sure to order the ones you want early, so you can start your dreaming and planning. In many cases, you can go right to the Internet, not only to see what's available, but also to order seeds and plants.

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