From the Desk of Ed Hume: January Projects

December 28, 2011 at 3:40 PM Leave a comment

It seems like January would be a good month to stay inside where it’s warm and cozy. Or, how about taking this winter month off from gardening, to catch up on any inside projects. Good ideas, but if weather permits and you have a yearning to get into the garden, this is a great month to accomplish some important garden tasks too! For example, winter pruning, planting of deciduous trees and shrubs, servicing/sharpening the lawn mower and your garden tools.

PLANTING:

The next 8 to 10 weeks are the best time of the entire year for planting or transplanting fruit, flowering and shade trees. Any of the deciduous plants, those that lose their leaves over winter, are best planted/transplanted during their winter dormant season.

Nursery’s and Garden Centers begin getting in their new stock at this time of year. So if you are thinking of adding a new deciduous tree or shrub to the garden you have the pick-of-the-crop. Plus, they usually have more time to help you select the best variety of fruit or flowering tree’s for your area.

PRUNING:

The next couple of months (or so) are ideal for pruning fruit, flowering and shade trees. The stone fruit like peaches, cherries, plums and apricots are best pruned in the fall. However, right now is the ideal time to prune apple and pear trees.

If you’re new at pruning, you might want to refer to a pruning book for guidelines as to where to make your pruning cuts and how to shape your trees. Or, you can contact a professional arborist. (Be certain to get an estimate first).

MOWERS AND TOOLS:

Over the years I have found that this is by far the best time of the year to have any professional work done on lawn mowers or other garden equipment. The mower repair shops generally are not busy so they get the job done quickly. I have my shop, give the mower a yearly service and have them sharpen or replace the blades.

Take time to cleans your other garden tools, lie shovels, hoes, rakes, etc. Once cleaned, sharpen them and give them a light coating of oil. Then they’re ready to go when spring arrives.

LAWNS:

The best advice I can give you is to stay off the lawn when the grass blades are frozen. Walking on the lawn during freezing weather breaks the blades of the grass creating noticeable (temporary) brown spots in the lawn.

If the lawn has grown a bit too tall, it can be cut (mowed) on a day when the ground is not frozen and when temperatures are above freezing.

HOUSEPLANTS:

Keep your houseplant away from doors that open to the outdoors, and at least a foot away from single-pane windows.

Likewise, keep them away from heating ducts, where the blast of hot air is apt to burn or dry the plants too quickly.

Watch the watering closely, as one turns up the thermostat the warmth and dry air can be detrimental to tropical houseplants. Adjust your watering schedule and light exposure to meet the needs of your indoor plants, during the winter months.

Happy New Year!

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Ed’s Podcasts: Living Gifts Clip of the Week: Winter Pruning

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