Things done and left undone are both part of my gardening experiences. It seems like this year I only did what was needed. I was always behind when it came to the gardens and landscape. It appears more was left undone than done. Was this you too?
Well, this year things have to change and it starts with cleaning up the mess. There are weeds everywhere plus declining plant portions and empty containers. It is a mess. It may be hard to believe horticulturists have the same problems you do - but we do. I always wondered why some horticulturists seemed to have the worst yards - Now I know.
One thing needed is blowing down and edging the walkways. It seems like this would be an easy job but it is often forgotten. Now is the time to take the blower in hand and go out into the landscape to remove the fallen leaves, small twigs and soil that have covered the very attractive pavers. Also, a shovel, hoe or edger is needed to again define the walkways and flower beds. Now would be a good time to wash away the mold & mildew too.
- Replant and maintain flower beds & containers
- Maintain the walkways, fences and benches
- Start the spring vegetable garden
- Order more seeds
- Prune trees & shrubs
- Control the weeds in lawns
- Renew mulch layers
- Fill the landscape voids in lawns and shrub plantings
- Visit local botanical gardens
- Large tan circular spots in lawns are likely due to the brown patch a fungus.
- Brown patch affected lawns should recover; apply a fungicide to prevent further damage.
- Spots of chinch bug activity have been found in lawns; treat as needed.
- Lawns can still make growth during the winter; continue to water and mow as needed.
- Once a week watering is the rule and normally adequate at this time of the year.
- Mow lawns to keep a uniform look; do not change blade height.
- Feeding time is over until late winter for lawns.
- Try regreening yellow lawns with an iron or minor nutrient application if needed.
- Many warm season weeds have turned brown; remove and resod these areas.
- Fill in bare spots with sod or plugs; delay seeding of permanent grass until spring.
- Ryegrass can be seeded to temporarily regreen brown turf or fill bare areas.
- Spot kill patches of persistent winter weeds with a selective herbicide for your lawn type.
- Winter is a good time to add hardy trees, shrubs and vines to the landscape.
- Make sure root balls are moist at planting time: add a berm to direct water through root balls.
- Winter through spring is our dry time; renew mulch layers to conserve moisture.
- Leaves are falling from trees and shrubs; use as mulch or add to the compost pile.
- January is a good time to begin yearly pruning of trees and shrubs.
- Trim dead or declining portions from trees and shrubs.
- Schedule major tree trimming now to be ready for severe 2020 weather.
- Crape myrtle grooming can begin this month; remove only the seed heads and small twigs.
- Remove dead fronds and old seed heads from palms but keep the good green leaves.
- Keep actively growing plants moist to remain green and attractive.
- Once a week watering or less is usually adequate for established deep-rooted plants.
- Replant declining flower beds and planters with hardy cool season selections.
- Container gardens are a good way to enjoy plants in the landscape.
- Add hanging baskets of color where they can be easily seen.
- Feed container gardens weekly if needed for growth; in ground annual plantings monthly.
- Groom landscapes by edging beds and walkways.
- Divide and replant perennials.
- Learn what plants need winter protection; many benefit from the cold.
- Only protect cold sensitive plants from frosts and freezes.
- Thick fabric covers secured to the ground are the best cold protection.
- Install micro-sprinklers to conserve water and water only where needed.
- Groom hanging baskets and planters by removing old flowers and lanky stems.
- Protect orchids and tropical foliage plants from temperatures below 45 degrees.
- Test soil acidity in azalea, philodendron and ixora plantings and adjust if needed.
- Dig and move trees and shrubs from one area of the landscape to another.
Vegetable and Fruit Gardening:
- Only one month is left for cool season plantings; add seeds or transplants to the garden.
- Make plantings of potatoes from seed pieces available at garden centers.
- Feed winter vegetables and herbs every 3 to 4 weeks or use a slow release fertilizer.
- Lingering warm season crops are not going to be good producers: remove, replant in spring.
- Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in early January for March transplants.
- Prepare spring planting sites by adding lots of organic matter to sandy soils.
- Encourage pollinators to visit by planting clusters of flowers among vegetables.
- Save shipping charges; locate seeds, bulbs and transplants locally.
- Store saved seeds in the refrigerator in a sealed container until planting time.
- Add bird netting to strawberry plantings.
- Caterpillars are common cool season pests; control by handpicking or natural sprays.
- Repair grape arbors and trellises.
- Harvest herbs and start new plants to have a continual supply.
- Prune apple, grape, peach, pear and fig plantings.
- Plant hardy fruit trees, shrubs and vines.
- An acid soil is needed for blueberry production; have your soil tested before planting.
- Cloth covers, loose hay, and boxes may be needed for winter protection of some crops.
Indoor & Foliage Plant Care:
- Make a New Year resolution to add air purifiers to the home with fresh foliage plants.
- Keep existing plants a lot longer by giving them at least weekly care.
- Check foliage plants brought indoors from the landscape for pests.
- Use a mild soapy solution to wash indoor foliage to remove dust and control pests.
- Trim off yellow leaves and declining flower stalks.
- Move declining plants into the higher light levels.
- Water foliage plants when the soil dries to the touch.
- Move holiday gift plants to the patio to enjoy during warm days.
Herbs: Anise, bay laurel, cardamom, chives, coriander, fennel, garlic, ginger, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram, thyme and watercress.
Flowers: Alyssum, baby's breath, calendula, California poppy, cleome, candytuft, carnation, delphinium, dianthus, dusty miller, foxglove, gaillardia, geranium, hollyhock, Iceland poppy, lobelia, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage & kale, pansy, petunia, shasta daisy, statice, stock and sweet pea.
Bulbs: African iris, Asiatic lilies, amaryllis, blood lilies, bulbine, crinum, day lilies, Louisiana iris, society garlic, spider lilies, rain lilies, refrigerated Dutch iris, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths for forcing.