Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2001
Regional Report

Watch for Aphids

Keep careful watch for pests such as aphids the season progresses. The days are warming and lengthening and aphid populations will be growing to begin feeding on new growth. Control aphids by dislodging them from plants with a spray of water from a hose. You can also control them by spraying insecticidal soap.

Harden Warm-Season Transplants

Begin hardening off warm-season transplants, such as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, for transplanting into the garden in a few weeks. Move them into a cold frame or protected area and gradually expose them to wind and sun over a week or two. By the time the weather is warm enough, they should be tough enough to put in the garden with no setback.

Move Houseplants

Move overwintered houseplants into a partly sunny location outdoors. Harden plants off first by putting them outdoors for a few hours each day for a week before leaving them outdoors for summer. Keep plants well watered and fertilized.

Plant Groundcovers

If you have shady areas under trees where grass doesn't grow well, consider planting groundcovers instead. Vinca, pachysandra, and ivy grow well in the shade, creating a green carpet under the trees. Space plants about 1-foot apart and keep well watered, and they should naturally spread.

Mow Lawns

Lawns are growing fast. Remember to mow grass frequently so you're not cutting more than one-third of the grass height off at any time. Keep lawns well watered if the weather has been dry. Wait until fall in southern areas to fertilize.

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