Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2003
Regional Report

Put Up Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders help supplement flower nectar in spring. Place feeders near perches and in shady spots to keep the nectar from spoiling. Mix one part granulated sugar to four parts water and boil for two minutes. Store remainder in the refrigerator. Change nectar every three days to prevent spoiling.

What To Do When Lilacs Don't Bloom

Perhaps they are growing in too shady a site and need to be moved. Limit your pruning to immediately after flowering to prevent damaging next year's flower buds. Shrubs might need renewal pruning since they bloom best on younger branches. Remove 1/3 of the oldest branches at soil level. Oystershell scale can be controlled with horticultural oil in late May.

Look Out for Pine Sawfly Larvae

Sawfly larvae begin feeding on scots, mugo, and other pines in May. They look like caterpillars but are the young of a sawfly instead of a moth or butterfly. They feed only on older needles, and rear their heads in unison when disturbed. Hand pick or merely shake the branch to make them fall into a bucket of soapy water.

Pinch Mums

For shrubby, attractive mum plants with plenty of blossoms, pinch the tops once a month from May through July, and fertilize the same day. Pinch off about three or four inches of the new shoots with your thumb and forefinger. Make the last pinch no later than July 15.

Mow the Lawn High

Get in the habit of mowing your lawn high. Set the mower to three inches mowing height, which helps the lawn grow deeper roots, reduces weed problems, and promotes a healthier look overall. Keeping the grass mowed high helps shade out many weeds, meaning less weed control is necessary. Also, longer grass blades mean more photosynthesis and sturdier plants.

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