Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2001
Regional Report

Monitor Plants for Deer and Rodent Damage

Prevent deer, rabbit and rodent damage by erecting protection before heavy snows fall. Keep deer away by erecting a fence and for rabbits, put a chicken wire or hardware cloth sleeve around trees and shrubs. Make sure it is at least a foot above snow line or they'll easily get inside.

Give Cactus and Succulents a Rest

Place cactus and other succulents such as jade plant in a cool, bright spot for the winter. Begin to withhold water and fertilizer, letting the soil dry considerably. If the plant begins to shrivel, give a small amount of water. This will make healthier plants and help encourage blooming in spring and summer.

Keep Bird Feeders Clean and Full

As snows deepen, it's ever more critical to keep your bird feeders clean and full. Periodically wash them to prevent disease problems and then make sure they are full every day. Clear brush away from the feeder pole, and put up barriers to keep cats away

Take Care with Living Trees for Christmas

If you've purchased a living Christmas tree, plan to have it in the house for no more than a week. Make sure to dig the hole you will plant it in now, and fill the hole with straw or leaves. Put the soil for planting where it will not freeze and plant the tree immediately after the holidays.

Forced Bulbs Need to be Cool

Keep forced bulbs and paperwhites in very high light but cool temperatures to prolong the blooming and keep the stems sturdy. If they begin to lodge (fall over), use attractive supports of twigs, wire or bamboo as part of your display. If paperwhite buds aren't opening, spritz them with water.

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