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Top Garden Projects for January

One of the best gardening months of the entire year is January. This is an ideal month to plant fruit, flowering and shade trees, dormant spray, prune and eliminate weeds. This is also a great time to sharpen and repair mowers, trimmers, shredders, chain saws and other garden implements.

WINTER PLANT PROTECTION - If you still have your cut Christmas tree around, don’t throw it away. You can cut off the branches and use them to cover tender or early flowering plants. Cut boughs from evergreens, like the cut Christmas tree, are natural coverings for plants during cold weather. Then when you are all through with the evergreen boughs they can be recycled through the compost pile or shredded and used for mulching.   See Protecting Plants During Cold Weather for more information.

PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS - If you are thinking of adding any fruit, flowering or shade trees to the garden, this would be a good time to select and plant them. Most garden outlets get their new selection of these trees during the winter, so you get the pick of the crop. Plus, because the trees are dormant, they transplant with a minimum amount of set-back. Incidentally, if you are selecting fruit trees be sure to ask the Certified Nurseryperson or Master Gardener on duty, which of the varieties are recommended for your area, so you get varieties that will produce the very best, quality fruit.

January is also a great month to select and plant Roses. Likewise, evergreens and deciduous shrubs can easily be planted anytime the temperatures are above freezing.  See also: Transplanting

DORMANT SPRAYING - Early winter is a good time to make an application of Dormant spray to help control over-wintering insect and disease problems. A combination Lime Sulfur and Oil spray or Copper spray are the ones most often used for winter dormant spraying. Do not spray when the temperatures are below freezing; or when it is raining; or at a time when the wind is blowing. Of course, apply the spray according to label directions.  See Also: Sprayers

PRUNING - Do you have any pruning to do? January is a great month to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs. Fruit, flowering and shade trees can be pruned at this time. Do not prune spring flowering plants, like quince, forsythia or Spirea, etc. as you would be removing their spring flowers. If needed, these plants can be pruned when the plants have finished flowering.  See Also: Pruning  Winter Pruning

WEEDS - Have you checked the garden recently? You’ll be amazed at how many weeds have already flowered and are now going to seed. Get rid of those weeds before the seeds have scattered over the garden. Many weeds are capable of producing thousands of seeds, and left unchecked, you'll be fighting those weeds for years to come.

EQUIPMENT REPAIR - Does your mower need sharpening; does the oil need changing; what about the filters; is the engine running properly? If you need to have any parts of your power garden implements repaired, this is the time to do it. I took a mower in for repair a couple of weeks ago, and it was finished in two days. I can tell you from personal experience if you wait until mid-February or later it will probably be two or three weeks, to get this same type of work done.  See Also: Tool Care

SLUG CONTROL - Have you seen any slugs lately? I have, and this is a good time to eliminate them too, Every slug left to roam the garden will reproduce two hundred off-springs this spring, summer and fall. In addition, the offspring will also reproduce young. So you can make a major reduction in the slug population in your garden by eliminating them now.  See Also: Plants that Slugs Do Not Like

BULBS - Did you forget to plant your bulbs? Although it's getting late, if you haven’t planted your Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths or Crocus, take time and get them into the soil right away.  See Also: Bulbs

What you accomplish this month in the garden, will definitely cut-down on garden maintenance the rest of this winter.

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