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January lawn and garden maintenance checklist


• Balled-and-burlapped or containerized trees, shrubs and vines when soil is not frozen.

• If live Christmas tree was purchased, plant outdoors as soon as possible, especially if it has already been indoors for longer than three days.

• Transplanted shrubs and seedling trees during dormant period.

• Refrigerated tulips and other spring-blooming bulbs early. They need to be precooled or refrigerated for at least six to eight weeks.

• Southern and Coastal: precooled tulip and dafffodils bulbs (plant every 2-3 weeks from Jan. 1st until Feb. 14th) and all others you forgot to plant in the fall.

• Late plantings of Dutch bulbs will flower if planted now.

• Lillies of all types, except Madonna, may be planted.

• Indoor plantings of amaryllis, paperwhites, hyacinth, callas and gloxinias.

• Start vegetable seed indoors for spring planting.

• Hardy vegetables, root crops, roots and tuber in southern-most areas.

• (Seed) Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli in coldframes or Early Grow Miniature Greenhouses.

• Warmer coastal areas: (seed) beets, carrots, garden peas, lettuce, mustard, radishes, spinach and turnips outdoors.

• Warmer coastal areas: (seed) broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower indoors to transplant within six to eight weeks.

• Coastal: asparagus crowns.

• Southern and Coastal: basil, chives, parsley, sage, summer savory and sweet marjoram indoors.

• Southern and Coastal: bare-root roses at the middle of the month or later. Both modern and antique roses will do best if planted now. Or roses can be moved.

• In water garden, add underwater plants as forage for fish.

• Set out apples, peaches, pears and grapes.

• Graft:

• Start grafting pecans.

• Camellias in South Alabama.


• Soil test before setting up fertility program.

• Asparagus beds in late January.

• Seedlings grown in soilless mixes when the first true leaves appear.

• Feed perennials when they start showing greenery.

• Pecan trees.


• Shade trees and summer flowering trees. Remove dead and damaged limbs.

• Summer-flowering trees (remove no twigs larger than a pencil in diameter), abelias, altheas.

• Evergreen shrubs.

• Fruit trees. (Best time is just before bud break.)

• Prune away dead portions of plants (including houseplants).

• …Wait to prune azaleas till after blooming …

• …Wait to prune crepe myrtles for more blooms till around Valentines’s Day…

• …Wait to prune wisteria till after blooming (May, June or July)…


• Check the potting mix in pots that will be forced indoors. The mixture should be evenly moist without standing water. The easiest way to determine moisture is to lift the pots. A dry pot will be lighter than a wet one.

• Spot water any dry areas to avoid plant desiccation, but do not overwater. Overwatering encourages root rot.

• Water all plants and the lawn in absence of rainfall.

• If a freeze is forecast, well-watered roots are less susceptible to freeze damage.


• Use horticulture oil or dormant oil as needed and when weather is on warming trend for scale-prone trees, such as: oaks, hollies, camellias, euonymus, pecan and fruit trees, and deciduous shrubbery.

• Houseplants: mealy bugs, spider mites, scale: insecticidal soap.

• Quarantine gift plants for a few days until determined that they do not have any problems.

• Watch for gray mold on clustered plants in high moisture conditions, Daconil.

Watch for damping-off, HY Captan.

Watch for grass fungus (brown patch, take-off, etc.), FL Weed-Out, Spectrum Weed Stop.

Pre-treat for early season weeds – Late January: Spread pre-emergent herbicide, balan.

• Handpull winter annuals such as common chickweed and henbit.

• Handpull wild garlic (wild onions) when the soil is moist to make sure the bulb is removed, otherwise it will resprout.


• If you don’t already have one, start a gardening journal. This will allow you to have a record of your activities so you can learn and improve your techniques. Take time to check out some garden catalogs for new plants and techniques. If you had in persistent pests, consider new varieties that are pest-resistant.

• Make a growing chart to determine where and when you need to plant.

• Organize your seed packets (not only your flowers, remember vegetables and herbs too) for your sowing schedule.

• If you are preparing a new border for bulbs, now is the time to mix compost, lime or other amendments into the bed. Make sure soil is not wet. If it does not crumble easily in your hand, let it dry out.

• Southern and Coastal: now is also the time to prepare your site for roses. Make sure soil is not wet. Dig and work the soil thoroughly over as large an area as possible. Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic matter. Add limestone to increase soil pH (if recommended by soil-test). Mix material into bed 8 to 12 inches deep. Allow the bed to settle for a few days before planting.

• Northern: check winter protection on roses. Mulch should cover crown of plant, particularly at the bud union.

• Bring out one or two pots of bulbs each week so that there will be a steady stream of flowers in your home. Start them out in the coolest spot in your home, which will allow the flowers to last longer in bright, but indirect, light. When the leaves turn green and begin to grow, place in a sunny window and flowers should open up shortly. As blossoms fade, either compost the bulbs or put the pots in a sunny place where the leaves can recharge the bulbs to be planted outdoors later.

• To encourage amaryllis to bloom next year: remove withered flowers and give plenty of sunlight and nutrients to strengthen the bulbs.

• Try propagating houseplants by air-layering.

• Turn compost pile monthly or more often and keep moist.

• Add compost to and till the garden plot (make sure soil is not wet).

• Keep a layer of mulch at the feet of your bulbs, especially in Northern areas.

• Check stored bulbs and discard rotten ones.

• Give houseplants a bath in lukewarm water to remove dust.

• Make sure indoor plants are receiving enough light with the shorter days and low sun angle.

• Move tender plants away from windows on extremely cold nights. Curtains or windowshades between the plant and the window will reduce the chances of cold injury.

• To keep poinsettias that have finished flowering, turn pots on their sides and let them dry completely. Cut them back lightly. Keep in a temperature of 550 to 600.

• To keep flowering holiday gift plants looking their best, move them to a spot that is 100 cooler at night.

• Plants growing under fluorescent lights need to rest at night. Rely on an automatic timer to keep the lights on for about twelve to sixteen (but no more the eighteen) hours per day before shutting them off automatically at night.

• Dust your houseplants. Use a damp cloth on smooth hairless leaves and a soft paint or cosmetic brush on hairy leaves.

• Continue to harvest carrots, radishes and turnips. Also, lettuce and spinach in cold frames or under protective coverings.

• Maintain non-dormant ryegrass-overseeded bermudagrass lawns at a height of 1 inch.

• Service your mower and equipment before storing.

• Feed the birds!



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Date Last Updated January, 2006