After you’ve enjoyed your cut Christmas tree for the holidays, take it to one of the free disposal sites provided by Sedgwick County. (Remove all decorations rst.) The trees will be chipped into mulch that will be free for the taking. Check the sites periodically to see when the chips are available. Bring your own shovel and container. Christmas trees can be dropped off at these Wichita locations through January 22:
• Boston Park, 6655 E. Zimmerly
• Buffalo Park, 10209 Hardtner
• College Hill UMC, 1st & Erie
• Earhart Magnet School, 4401 N. Arkansas
• Edgemoor Park, 5815 E. 9th St.
• Extension Edu Center, 7001 W. 21st St. N.
• Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. N.
• Old Cowtown, 1865 Museum Blvd. • Osage Park, 2121 W. 31st St. S.
• South Linwood Park, Hydraulic & Mt. Vernon
Other cities in Sedgwick County also offer drop-off sites. There are other ways to use your old Christmas tree instead of putting it out with the trash. You can cut off the branches and use them to mulch tender plants like perennials and bulbs. Or put the entire tree in the corner of your yard or near a bird feeder to provide winter shelter for birds.
Shelter, as provided by shrubs or your old Christmas tree, is a great start for attracting birds. Water and food are the other two requirements. The birds will drink, bathe and generally delight in thawed water during the freezing months. It’s easy to provide thawed water by using a bird bath heater. Now for the feeder and seed. The best initial feeder is some type of platform stocked with black oil sun ower seed or mixed seed containing black oil sun ower seed. A second option is a tube nch feeder with nyjer (niger) thistle seed. Using a mix that contains sun ower chips too, will attract woodpeckers, wrens and chickadees as well as finches. The sun ower chips can be an attraction to squirrels as well, so if they are a problem stick to straight nyjer. From these basic types you can expand into specialty feeders as your interest and feather population dictate. If you want to attract some of the more interesting birds, try our “Gardener’s Choice” bird food mix made exclusively for Johnson’s. This premium mix contains mostly peanut and sun ower chips. All birds love this mix and will eat your feeders clean with no waste. Other good choices to feed birds include:
• Black Oil Sunflower Seed — Great all-around seed that appeals especially to cardinals.
• Saflower Seed — Cardinals will eat this seed, but squirrels, starlings and grackles will not.
• Peanuts — Set whole peanuts out and it will bring bluejays in like you’ve rung a dinner bell. Larger woodpeckers and, of course, squirrels like them too. To reduce squirrel raids on your bird feeders, give them a feeder of their own with peanuts or corn. That way they won’t bother your bird feeders as much and you might find yourself quite entertained by their antics.
If the winter is dry and we have a warm (above freezing) spell, water the landscape, especially newly planted trees, shrubs and grass.
Shop for seeds now to get your ‘garden x’; then you’ll be ready to start them inside. Watch for seed starting tips in our February calendar.
Continue to monitor water and light needs during the winter months, and recheck your plants for any insects that may have escaped your earlier application of pesticides.
•Tiny Black Flies or Fungus Gnats require Neem Oil or Mosquito Bits to kill the larvae. Reduce watering or add Gnat Nix as a top dressing to control this common pest.
•White flies are one of the most common indoor pests. A yellow Sticky Aphid Whitefly Trap placed above the plant, Horticultural Oil or ferti•lome Indoor/Outdoor Multi-Purpose Spray are very effective.
•Aphids and Spider Mites are found underneath leaves or in tiny webs. A quick wash of the plant in a sink or shower followed with an application of Neem or Horticultural Oil every 10-14 days will help maintain insect control.