THINGS TO EXPECT:
FREEZING NIGHTS – Cover cold plants and always remove covering during the day.
FREEZE INJURY OF CITRUS FRUIT – Most citrus fruit will not freeze unless temperatures drop into the mid 20’s or lower for at least a couple hours. Lemons, limes and other thin-skinned fruit on the upper and outer periphery of trees may receive some injury at about 28F.
COLD WEATHER DISCOLORS FOLIAGE – Older leaves of evergreens turn dull green to yellow and even drop. Some actively growing shoots may appear chlorite. Winter lawns and some shrubs may develop purplish-green leaves.
WINTER WEEDS – Are especially persistent in moist soil areas or following rains.
SLOW GROWTH OF VEGETABLES – Results from cold, salty soils and leached fertility. Apply fertilizer and water longer, but no more often than necessary.
APHIDS & WORMS – can infest garden vegetables.
WINTER LAWN DISEASES – Don’t water too often, apply fungicide when needed and when possible avoid ruing during high moisture periods. The perennial ryes are more disease resistant to fungus.
THINGS TO DO:
BE ALERT TO WEATHER FORECASTS – And protect cold tender plants when necessary.
PRUNE DECIDUOUS FRUIT & SHADE TREES & GRAPES – But first sharpen up your know-how.
TRANSPLANT BARE ROOT PLANTS – Purchase good quality plants and transplant them promptly. Preventing root drying is especially important on pecan trees.
CHECK STAKED TREES – Remedy trunk injury from ties and rubbing.
FERTILIZE WINTER LAWNS – Monthly to maintain good green color. Nitrate fertilizers give quickest response during cool seasons. Fertilizing dormant Bermuda lawns now will only stimulate weeds.
LIVING CHRISTMAS TREES – Should be moved outdoors to a shaded, cool location soon after the holidays. They can be planted into permanent locations as soon as soil temperatures warm a bit. Remember large landscape trees to small Christmas trees grow! Allow space.
PREPARE GARDEN SOILS – For spring vegetable planting, early planting means better yields in most spring crops.
WATER BERMUDA GRASS LAWNS – About monthly if rains aren’t sufficient.
CONTROL WEEDS – Contact herbicides are effective on young tender seedlings. Mid-day applications are more effective during the winter season.
BARE ROOT TRANSPLANTING – Should be given priority by gardeners this month. Also, local plant nurseries have been receiving a good selection of deciduous trees, and roses. Purchase them while they’re fresh and plant them promptly and properly! Without soil around their root, these plants are subject to dehydration even in their dormant state of growth. Because of this, roots of bare-root plants are held in wet sawdust, etc., from digging until purchase, or shipped with individual moisture-retaining root packs.
NOW – is also an O.K. time to move those trees and shrubs that may be ill-logically located in local landscapes. Dig the new location and prepare for the planting first. Next, carefully dig the plant out, taking as much root system as practical and minimizing their exposure to drying. Then, after planting, discretely balance their branching while pruning back a third to a half. Evergreens should not be bare-root transplanted. A ball of earth should be moved with their root system, which shouldn’t be allowed to break away during digging, moving, or planting. DO NOT PLANT TREES & SHRUBS TOO DEEPLY! Position crowns, that stem-root junction, just below the ground surface. Suffocation of the vital cambium tissue often results, at the base of trunks or stems, when covered with too much soil, particularly if it’s kept overly wet. Total and relatively sudden death often results, but it may not occur until weeks, months or sometimes years later. Cutting the bark away from the lover trunks or stem of trees or shrubs, killed by having been planted too deeply, reveals gray-black necrotic cambium tissue sometimes descriptively called “Collar Rot.”
PRUNING – is another priority chore for January and few things fascinate gardeners more. Proper pruning is an art it takes talent, know-how, perception and practice. Many locally-grown Mulberry trees are striking testimonies to this truth, not to mention numerous other living monuments to ill-advised pruning practices. Remember, the purpose of pruning is to remove undesired growth and induce proper shape of plants. Don’t attempt to alter natural development of plants any more than necessary. You can’ t undo a pruning cut! Sharpen your know-how and your tools before you start. Deciduous trees, shrubs and roses should be pruned first, then the needle-type evergreens. Broad-leaf evergreens such as citrus, bougainvillea, etc., are best pruned about early February. If hedges are to be cut back, wait until early March, so that seasonal resumption of active foliar growth will minimize their duration of stem bareness. Deciduous fruit trees should be pruned each January to retain practical size, balance limbs and thin twigging for good fruiting. Remember, fruit is borne on younger twigs, so leave a uniform distribution of these for this year’s crop.