Japanese quince

Japanese Quince is one of the first bloomers of the spring striking a pretty pink pose against a blue sky.

Time to bundle up and get out in your garden! Staying on top of gardening chores in the winter can really make a difference in the health and beauty of your lawn and garden. Here are tasks to complete during the month of January. On a cold day when you cannot go outside, start with PLANNING. Recording changes or improvements on paper will help you avoid mistakes and save time, effort and money. Order seeds, markers, pots and other supplies early in case companies run low on inventory. Check out your EQUIPMENT. Repair or replace sprayers if needed. Repair and sharpen gardening tools and mower blades. Southern Gardening’s Dr. Gary Bachman has a video demonstration showing how to sharpen tools, accessible online at extension.msstate.edu/southern-gardening/video/2018/sharpening-your-tools.

On a sunny January day, PLANT dormant trees and shrubs whether container, bare-root or balled-and-burlapped. Find a well-drained site and place plants at or slightly above existing soil level. January is also the time to plant onions, sweet peas, poppies, and larkspur. Add an extra layer of mulch to new plants to protect tender plants during extreme cold weather.

FERTILIZE trees and shrubs anytime January through March. If lime is needed and not applied in the fall, do that now to give the soil enough time to adjust before spring planting. Not sure how much to apply or whether lime is even necessary? A soil test conducted through our Extension office offers detailed guidance along with fertilizer needs.

PRUNE orchard trees this time of year before trees begin to bud. For grafting in the spring, collect scion wood from fruit trees now and store in a cool, dry place. If you did not cut nandina stems for holiday arrangements, January is a good time to prune those. Remove dead, diseased or broken limbs on all trees and lightly trim all shrubs. Dispose of clippings to prevent spread of disease and harmful insects. If you bring holly branches in for arrangements, a small amount of sugar in the water will help keep berries on the stems.

To further help with PEST CONTROL, spray dormant oil on broad-leaved evergreens and orchard trees. The oil will reduce numbers of harmful insects emerging in the spring. You can mix in copper to reduce fungi numbers as well. Inspect house plants for insects and diseases. Treat as needed with an indoor safe insecticide and/or fungicide. Dust or wash the leaves of houseplants to allow as much light access as possible during the winter.

BLOOMING in January are: camellias, winter honeysuckle, winter jasmine, flowering quince, pansies and violas. Fruiting plants are: dogwoods, yaupon hollies, Chinese hollies, cotoneasters, pyracanthas, and nandinas.

Have a happy week in your garden!

Would you like to become a Master Gardener? Registration for the 2022 online Master Gardener training opens February 1. Call the Pontotoc Extension Service at 662-489-3911 for more information.

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