During the winter months is a great time to think ahead for your spring and summer plants!
• Inventory the landscape plantings around your house during January. See if any plants have grown too large for the spot where they were planted and need to be moved. Also, determine if other plants need to be thinned, pruned, or even removed if they no longer fulfill their intended purpose in the landscape.
• Bare-rooted deciduous plants may be planted in January. These include fruit trees, nut trees, shade trees, and many shrubs and vines, including roses – in short, everything that loses its leaves in the fall.
• Plant balled-and-burlapped evergreen trees and shrubs during January. The top of the ball should be at ground level.
• If you are moving a plant this month, be sure to dig the soil ball large enough. The diameter of the ball should be 8 to 10 inches per inch of trunk diameter.
• Prune back pampas grass to within 10 inches of the ground now that the leaves are dormant. Late pruning could injure new emerging leaves. Ornamental grasses can be divided now.
• Morning sunlight or bright, indirect light will prolong the period of enjoyment of those potted holiday gift plants you may have received. Thought the dryness of heated houses evaporates water quickly, do not over-water houseplants – keep the soil only slightly moist. Too much watering is probably the greatest cause of houseplant mortality.
• Fall leaves should have been picked up by now.
• Anti-desiccants, used to prevent cold damage to shrubs, also are useful in preventing the quick-drying of cut greens used in Christmas decorations. Any greens that are not used with their stems in water (such as wreaths, garlands, swags) will last longer if they are sprayed with an anti-desiccant.
• Whether you plan to use a living Christmas tree this season or a tree that has been cut, be careful that the plant does not become a fire hazard. Plants kept for long periods indoors dry rapidly in a hot, dry atmosphere. If you select a container-grown or balled-and burlapped evergreen tree for use as a living Christmas tree, soak the ball thoroughly before bringing the plant inside. Keep foliage sprayed with a mister to keep the leaves
healthy. Move the plant outdoors to a permanent location as soon as the holidays are over.
NOTE: Use only fireproof decorations on the tree and check strings of lights for
frayed wires. Be careful not to overload the electrical circuit. And do not leave the tree
lights burning overnight.