Fir tree branch

Choosing and caring for your Christmas tree

Early December brings fond memories of family expeditions to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. My daughters are now adults with families of their own but they continue the tradition. You can select and cut down your own tree or choose from a variety of precut trees at local Christmas tree farms.


Wintering chrysanthemums

Question: This fall I brought several mums on sale at a local garden center. I left them in their pots on my deck. They bloomed beautifully but now I’m wondering if I can keep them for next year. They were labeled as hardy. Should I plant them in the ground or can I keep them in the garage? Do I pinch back, cut off the dried blooms or trim to the ground? Perhaps I should just toss them and start over next year. Is it too late to save these beautiful plants? – K.B. and E.M.


Three ways to overwinter geraniums

Question: Are there instructions for overwintering large geraniums plants. A friend told me to put the plant in a paper bag and hang them in the utility room.  Anything more scientific than that? M.K.

Poinsettia blossom

Getting poinsettias, cactuses to bloom

Question: I saved my poinsettia from last Christmas by moving it outdoors for the summer. This fall I brought it inside before the weather got cold. What should I do to get the poinsettia to bloom again? What about Christmas cactus? E.R.

Bee balm

Growing bee balm from seed

Question: While attending a backyard event at a friends this summer, I admired a beautiful patch of red blooms. I was not familiar with these flowers and commented on their beauty to my friend. She told me they were bee balm and hers had self-seeded. Several weeks later she dropped off a container of the spent blooms. If you could advise when and how I should plant I would be grateful. I have no idea what to do with these shriveled red flower heads. Thanks for any help you might be able to send my way.

Black walnuts

Harvesting black walnuts

Question: I have several large trees in my yard that are dropping green balls. The balls are 2 to 3 inch across and leave dark stains on the driveway. Are these walnuts and can we eat them? S.B.


Seeding, fertilizing lawns

Question: I just moved to Pleasant Prairie and was going to over seed my lawn.  I wasn’t sure what type of grass I have, and my brother-in-law suggested that I reach out to the UW-Extension for assistance. I have attached a few pictures.  I was leaning toward thinking it is mostly Kentucky bluegrass, although I have read that it is getting late in the season for that type of seed if I wanted to over seed.  Is someone at Extension able to identify my primary type of grass from the pictures attached? A.L.