January Gardening Tips

Prune 

Woody plants while dormant, including fruit trees, summer- and fall-blooming shrubs and vines.

Call an arborist to prune and thin major trees to avoid winter storm damage.

 

Fertilize

If you did not do it in late fall, dormant feed acid-loving plants (azaleas, hollies, laurel, leucothoe, rhododendrons), with high-phosphorus fertilizer (5-10-5)

 

Watch for

signs of overwintering insects and disease.

 

Garden Maintenance

Lawn care: Avoid walking on frozen grass, which causes bare spots.

 

Winter Plant Protection

Check winter mulches. Use boughs of discarded Christmas trees to protect tender broadleaf evergreens from sunscald and small plants from frost heave.

Check trees and shrubs for rodent damage – protect with wire mesh or tree wrap.

Check guy wires on newly planted trees – tighten if heaved by frost.

Water broad-leaf and needled evergreens during January thaw.

Shake or sweep snow from evergreens:  let icy coverings melt naturally.

Use sand or ashes on icy walks and drives, salt damages plantings and lawns.

 

Feed

resident birds mixed seed and suet. Provide a constant water supply.

 

Plan

Order Dahlias now before the best varieties are sold out.

Consider spring and summer landscape changes. Consult a garden designer. Study books and catalogs for design and planting ideas.

Plan next summers vegetable garden. Rotate crops. Try new vegetables and herbs along with old favorites.

 

Enjoy

Force branches of flowering shrubs and trees. Try burning bush, crab apple, deutzia, forsythia, peach, plum, pussy willow, quince, winter jasmine or witch hazel.