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January Garden Hints

Recycle your old Christmas tree by cutting off the branches and using them for a wind break and mulch for your perennials and other tender things in the garden.

Now is a great time to start browsing your seed catalogs and making your plans for the spring garden! After all, some of the seedlings need to be started indoors as early as February.

Be sure to water your houseplants with room temperature water. Cold tap water can shock and stunt the root systems of your tropical plants, thus reducing their overall health and vigor.

During the January thaw, treat your scale-prone shrubs and trees with dormant oil. This is the easiest, most effective, and least toxic way to control this troublesome pest in the garden.

Take advantage of the warmer days to do some dormant pruning of your fruit trees and other deciduous plants.

Make sure that leaves from this past fall aren't smothering your smaller plants or built up around the crown of multi-stemmed shrubs. As the leaves get wet, mat down, and trap moisture, rot and other problems can occur.

If chickweed, henbit, and other cool-season broad leaf weeds are a problem in your lawn each spring, treat your lawn with Trimec during a January warm spell. The weeds are already there and they are easier to kill when they're young.

Go through your closets and drawers looking for any left-over bulbs you forgot to plant. If you get them in now, there's a chance they'll be just fine. If you wait until spring, you'll loose them.

Try a little "frost seeding." Scatter grass seed in your tough spots now, especially right before bad winter weather. The freezing and thawing action in the ground will loosen the soil and draw the seed on in, making for a good seed bed. The ideal time to seed is still the fall, but this method can work well for smaller spots.

Make plans now to visit the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Flower and Garden Show in Virginia Beach, Virginia in March. Room rates are reasonable and it's a pleasant shot of spring in the middle of winter!