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January Gardening Tips

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Landscaping Tips

  • This is the ideal time to plant shrubs and trees. Just make sure you do it when the temperature and ground are above freezing. Plants gradually adapt to the deep cold of January and February through acclimatizing to the progressive colder days. We are seeing the early onset of bulb shoots and the expanding buds on a number of shrubs and trees. If we get a heavy deep cold spell it will freeze the blossoms and possibly damage the new tip growth on early spring flowers.
  • Make sure you water under your roof overhangs and under large conifers that shield surrounding plants. It is also best not to work in wet, saturated ground. If planting or transplanting and the soil is heavy, wait a few days after a rain to allow the ground to dry out a bit. If you are concerned about whether the area drains well enough for planting, check by digging a 12 inch deep hole and filling it with water. Water should drain out at the rate of at least 1 inch per hour. If the soil drains poorly, consider constructing a raised bed.
  • January is also an ideal time to shape and prune trees and shrubs when temperatures exceed freezing. It is also a good time to mulch. Clean out those winter weeds and garden debris. You can even apply slow-release fertilizer to landscape plants as growth starts.
  • Adjust lawn pH with lime if needed but don’t apply lime if not needed. You can get the pH off in the base direction if you apply too often. Try not to walk on soggy or frozen grass.
  • Clean, oil and sharpen your tools.
  • You can plant bare-root fruit trees as well as balled and burlapped plants but be sure to remove the burlap wrappings and nylon string ties around the plants. The nylon tie wrap does not deteriorate and will girdle the new plant as it grows and possibly kill it. The burlap is treated with a copper or zinc oxide (greenish blue color) that stops the burlap from rotting and keeps the roots in the root ball.
  • Browse local nursery and seed catalogs for new vegetable and fruit possibilities. An excellent catalog showing fruits, nuts, and berries that are tested for our northwest climate is the Raintree Nursery catalog. Raintree Nursery is in Morton (360) 496-6400.
  • Regarding pruning, do not top your trees. We continue to see these disasters in your neighborhoods. If you must prune make sure you prune to an outgoing side branch that is a least 1/3 the thickness of the branch you cutting.

Childern's Garden

Cut pictures of favorite vegetables and flowers from catalogs. Paste up a dream garden book. Watch germination of stored seeds on damp paper towels. Take a walk and look for buds swelling on shrub stems. Toward month's end, cut branches for indoor forcing.

Native Plants

Remember to consider using natives in you home landscape additions. They are adapted to the climate, can survive without supplemental water, are somewhat disease resistant and there are a large variety of beautiful plants available