January Garden Tips

Now that the weather has turned cold, many of us are beginning to burn our fireplaces and stoves. Here is an important tip about that procedure: It is recommended you NOT store the firewood indoors, because you may have unwelcomed guests hiding in the logs. There are many kinds of beetles that inhabit the logs for the winter such as bark beetles, two-lined chestnut bore, and the long-horned beetles. Beetles emerge from the firewood stored indoors because as the wood warms, the beetles think it is spring. If you must keep some firewood indoors, only keep it a day or two to prevent the beetles from emerging. Spread the wood ashes around lilacs to benefit growth and blooms in the spring.

Here are a few more ideas for the month of January:

  • Get a head start on spring and get a soil test. Keep the soil pH in the 6.0 to 7.0 range for a healthy turf. Pelletized limestone is easy to apply, and can be spread when the ground is not frozen or covered with snow. Lime will raise the soil pH

  • Hand pull winter weeds, such as hairy bittercress, chickweed, hen-bit, and dead nettle now to keep them from going to seed.

  • This is the best time to begin to prune out diseased branches and branches that cross each other and rub, opening up wounds for diseases to enter. Pruning is also important for opening up the tree or shrub canopy for increased air circulation to help prevent disease and insect problems in 2018.

  • It is time to remove the Hellebore leaves to make way for the blooms so you can see them.

  • You can still plant bare root roses in a sunny location.

  • Leave some of your perennials with seed heads for the birds, and leave some for winter interest.

  • Begin to prune the apple and pear trees, but do not prune the plums, cherries, or apricots for they are very early fruit producers.

  • Tie the boxwoods with nylon hose to keep the snow from splitting them open.

  • Don’t begin to mulch until after the hard freeze. Remember—mulching helps keep temperatures from fluctuating, thus reducing heaving and thawing of the soil.

  • Do not feed house plants at this time of the year. Daylight hours are fewer and the plants are resting. Continue to give them plenty of light, rotating them so they get even sun and growth. Only water plants when the soil feels dry to the touch.

  • Finally, from your arm chair, enjoy the start of the seed catalogs, and begin to plan your garden and flower beds for the spring of 2018.

Nature Note for 1/7/2018