January Gardening Tips
January is generally our coldest month and a wet one at that. Days may be very chilly, but they are often bright and clear with a midday sun that calls you into the garden. January is the height of the dormant season; time for bare-root planting and dormant pruning and spraying. Native plants are also best planted during the winter months and in some areas through spring. Now is a good time to keep up on the mulching. The cool temperatures and moisture also brings many weeds to our yards. Mulching around vegetable and flower beds, shrubs & trees is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the weeds.
What to Plant
- Many succulents, including cacti, bloom in winter and spring; purchase new types now
- Plant seeds of warm-season flowers for transplants to put out in spring. Select and buy seeds of warm season vegetables to grow in starter trays soon. Use Speedy Roots Starter Trays. Speedy Roots are a set of easy to use starter trays for easy transplant later.
- Azaleas & Camellias – Plant azaleas and camellias this month. January – March are the prime bloom months. Camellias and azaleas are best planted while in bloom not only because you can see what colors you are adding to your garden but also because you can take advantage of the post-bloom growth spurt. Plant them in a location that provides good soil drainage and afternoon shade.
- Bare-Root Berries – Plant bare-root cane berries this month. Choose varieties suitable for our climate. Suitable blackberry varieties include youngberries and boysenberries. Other suitable varieties include bababery (a raspberry variety developed in Southern California). Blueberries can be planting almost anytime of year in Southern California. Cultivars suited for for this region include Misty, fruiting as early as April. Early-flowering Reveille is harvested May through early July. High-yield Sharpblue harvests through June and July. There are a few varieties such as Ozark Blue which yield late season August berries. Due to the mild climate it is possible to have an extended season with fresh berries all year.
- Bare-Root Grapes – Bare-root grape vines should be planted this month. To get quality fruit, you must choose a variety that fits your climate, train it carefully, and prune it regularly.
- Bare-Root Ornamental Trees – Bare-root ornamental trees should be planted this month. Trees that can be purchased bare-root include birch, Chinese pistache, liquidambar, purple-leaf plum, Chinese flame, Tashkent chitalpa and desert willow (Chilopsis).
- Bare-Root Roses – Bare-root roses should be planted this month. Choose not only for color and fragrance but for growth habit (hybrid teas, florabunda, climbing, or shrub), disease resistance, and climate. You can save money by purchasing “old” varieties that are no longer patented but always buy “No.1 Grade” plants.
- Bare-root fruit trees should be planted this month. Choose varieties suitable for your climate. The most important considerations are the variety’s chill hour and pollination requirements
- Plant bare-root fruits and vegetables such as artichokes, strawberries, and rhubarb as they become available in nurseries. For Bare-root planting use Kellogg® Gromulch. Mulch around plants to hold in moisture. Apply Liquinox® Start Vitamin B-1 or Green Light® Root Stimulator to prevent transplant shock.
- Summer-Blooming Bulbs – Since it’s a good time to plant summer-blooming bulbs this month, nurseries usually have good supplies in stock. Summer-blooming bulbs include baboon flower (Babiana), canna, crocosmia, dahlia, gladiolus, hippeastrum, homeria, laitris, lilies, nerine, tigridia, tuberose, and tuberous begonias.
- Continue to plant wildflower seeds like California bluebells, Chinese houses, farwell-to-spring, mountain garland, goldfields and California poppy.
- Now is a good time to plant your choice of California Native plants. Dig a hole and fill with water several times, amend soil slightly and plant the root ball so that is an inch or two higher than the existing soil level. Cover with soil to create a little mound. Water again with a spray. Hose down your native garden once a week until rains are upon us. For more information on planting natives visit Las Pilitas Nursery
- Cool-Season Vegetables – Between harvests you can still plant most cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, lettuce and other greens, and root crops like beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips.
- Herbs – Plant aloe, parsley, dill, borage, calendula, rosemary and sage. You can also plant native herbs such as white sage, black sage, California poppy and yerba santa.
- Cool-Season Lawns such as tall & dwarf fescue are good choices to plant now. The cooler days and more rain make this a great time to plant. Plant from seed or sod. Prep your soil, lay the sod or seed and if you are using seed top-dress with Kellogg Topper. Newly established lawns needs lots of water. Don’t let them dry out.
Harvest your winter vegetables as soon as they are ready. Harvesting will encourage more production. See when to harvest:
- Feed cool-season lawns with Best® Nitra-King 19-4-4 or Best® Turf Plus 24-4-4. These fertilizers will green up your lawn and keep it green.
- Apply crabgrass preventer such as Bonide® brand to all lawns now.
- Mow cool-season lawns at about 2-inches high. Once the weather warms up significantly, mow at about 3-inches high. Most warm-season lawns are dormant now and don’t need mowing.
- Control rust on lawns.
Plants, Trees and Shrubs
- FRUIT TREES & VINES – If you live near the coast start fertilizing your citrus this month. If you live inland, wait until March (to avoid frost damage). Mature citrus trees need about one pound of “actual” nitrogen per year. Feed all other fruit trees with a nitrogen fertilizer when new growth begins.Protect young citrus from frost and other subtropical fruit trees. Treat citrus for chlorosis. Grape vines need pruning about this time of year in order to get good fruit. Grapes are either “cane” or “spur” pruned.
- DECIDUOUS FRUIT & ORNAMENTALS – Finish pruning dormant deciduous trees & vines before leaf buds start to grow. Spray dormant deciduous trees & vines with horticultural oil before buds begin to open to control overwinter insect pests. Spray dormant peach & nectarine trees with a copper fungicide before buds begin to open. Peaches infected with leaf-curl need two applications. The first application should have been applied in November or December and the second should be applied this month before the buds swell. If you didn’t apply the first application, apply two applications this month (once early in the month and again late in the month). Continue to plant dormant bare-roots and vines.
- ROSE – Prune hybrid teas and climbers anytime from mid-January to mid-February. Prune floribundas, shrubs, miniatures and mini-floras from the beginning to the end of January. After you prune, lay down mulch to prevent weeds and enrich your soil. Begin feeding your roses as soon as there is 6 inches of new growth. Protect your plants from powdery mildew (very common when lots of moisture is in the air) as soon as feeding has started. You can use Bayer® Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care to feed and fight insect and disease. Use Bayer® Advanced 2-in-1 System Rose & Flower Care. This is an easy to use granular fertilizer and insect control product in one.
- HERBS – Fertilizer your herb garden. Use compost, earthworm castings such as Worm Gold Max® which includes kelp, manure and peat moss to improve the soil. Add gypsum if you have clay soil. Prune and lace your deciduous herbal shrubs and trees. These include roses, chaste tree, gingko, lemon verbena and elderberry. Watch for snails & slugs.
- CAMELLIA – Check nurseries for camellias in bloom. January – March are the prime bloom months. Make this your last feeding this month with the 3-12-12 Fertilizer. Feed with an iron supplement such as Ironite® for dark green leaves and gypsum to prevent leaf tip burn. Fertilizing this late in the season may produce only marginal results. Remove all but the largest bud where bud clusters exist. Disbudding provides larger but fewer blooms. Pick up blooms that fall to the ground to prevent diseases such as petal blight. If rains are heavy, cut back on watering. Just remember not to let your plants dry out if rains are not adequate.Camellias are still in their dormant season. Move, re-pot or bare-root and re-pot now. When planting in the ground or a pot, plant one inch higher than soil level. Camellias don’t like their crowns covered. Be sure to check the tag on your camellia to check if the prefer sun or shade.
- BROMELIAD – Water your bromeliads less often during the cooler months. Continue to watch for freezing temperatures. When frost does occur, cover plants with an old sheet or DeWitt® N-Sulate Blankets. Do not use plastic covering; it won’t keep the heat in. Bring your more sensitive plants that are in pots in doors.
- PLUMERIA – Continue to protect your plumeria from frost & freeze. Be sure to place them next to a building or under a covered patio if they are in pots. Bring plants inside in frost areas. Be sure to protect outside plumerias that are in ground with frost cloth when frost or freeze is expected. Do not fertilizer and only sparingly water plants that still have leaves. Leaves will eventually all drop off. Do not remove the inflorescences and seed pods.
- IRIS – Fertilize for spring burst of blooms. Use a low nitrogen mix. Check for aphids that hide all winter at the base of leaves. It is best to use a systemic insect spray. Discard all dead leaves and weeds. Keep well watered if there are not adequate rains. Foliar feed for bigger and brighter colored blooms.
- FERNS – Water gently and don’t over water. Tim off dead fronds but not green ones. Fertilize staghorns with a high nitrogen fertilizer at half strength. Remove & remount pups. Sow spores.
- BEGONIAS – Remove all dead leaves and debris from pots or beds. Watch for pests and spray for mildew. Water less, but do not allow plants to dry out. Keep snails and slugs under control and watch for aphids, mealybugs & scale. Treat accordingly.
- DAHLIAS – Early this month, you will notice the tops of remaining plants are withered. Cut these down to just above the ground. Leave tubers in the ground if soil has good drainage; otherwise dig and store. Store tubers, without dividing, in a cool place in vermiculite or in peat moss. Leave on soil that clings from their removal from the ground. Inspect all tubers that were stored early for any signs of shriveling. If a tuber looks dry add a little moisture. Throw away and rotting tubers, those that appear watery or are mushy to the touch.
- CACTI & SUCCULENTS – Aeoniums are starting their growth period so now is a good time to propagate. Also propagate senecios and sedum. Cut off the head; let it callus for about a week and then plant in a well-draining soil such as Kellogg® Cactus and Palm tree mix. If there hasn’t been much rain, give your succulents a light spray to wash off dust and debris. Continue to water all plants in containers, but cut back on the amount by about a 1/3 as days remain short and temperatures cool. Protect from freezing temperatures at night by providing frost cloth or moving potted plants indoors.
- NATIVE PLANTS – When planting California Natives, dig a hole and fill with water several times, amend soil slightly and plant the root ball so that is an inch or two higher than the existing soil level. Cover with soil to create a little mound. Water again. Hose down your native garden once a week until the rainy season begins.
- ORCHIDS – Look for spikes on winter-blooming cattleyas this month. Train developing spikes on phalaenopsis, especially those left outside until nighttime temperatures drop to 55 degrees to initiate blooming. Watch for rotting plants & rotting mixes. Repot plants when any signs of rot occur and dust the affected areas of the plant with sulfur. Continue to feed cymbidiums that have not yet bloomed with a high-bloom formula such as Gro Power® Flower N’ Bloom 3-12-12. Protect from slugs and snails.
- GERANIUMS – Water on a regular schedule. Allow excess water to drain away. Keep foliage as dry as possible and keep potted plants out of heavy rains. Continue to feed. Follow the directions on the label. Use one-third to one-half of the labels recommended strength at 30 day intervals. Continue to prevent pests and disease. Top pinch any plants that were not previously cut back; cut them back to one-half the stem length. Protect plants from freezing temperatures. Use DeWitt® N-Sulate and/or move plants to a warmer location at night.
- EPHPHYLLUMS – Protect plants from frost and strong winds. Use snail and slug bait as needed. Feed mature plants with a 3-12-12 fertilizer to promote blooming in spring. Follow the label instructions.
- PREPARE FOR RAIN AND WIND – Get ready for winter rains. Grangetto’s carries a full line of erosion control materials such as, straw wattles, straw mats, silt fence, and jute netting. Grangetto’s also carries rain gear, such as rain boots & suits, tarps and plastic sheeting.
- REPAIR DRAIN SYSTEMS – Repair drain systems if needed. Grangetto’s carries a variety of drainage supplies, such as frain pipe, grates and boxes.
- TREES & SHRUBS – Prune. Be careful pruning flowering trees and shrubs so not to trim off developing buds. Wait to trim off frost damaged branches until danger of frost has passed. Now is an ideal time to prune evergreens. Evergreen plants susceptible to frost damage should be pruned after there is any danger of frost.
- REPLACE OLD SPRAYERS with a new sprayer. Use a quality Back-pack Sprayerfor large areas. For smaller areas us 1 or 2 gallon hand sprayers.
- Reset your irrigation timer to water less frequently. However, don’t change the number of minutes the system waters each time. If your irrigation system is not equipped with a rain sensor or soil moisture sensor, be sure to turn off irrigation during times of lots of rain.
- Now is a perfect time to start planning on how you are going to save water in your landscape, if you haven’t already. Installing or retrofitting an existing irrigation system to utilize the most up-to-date technology will help you save water. Grangetto’s can help you make the SMART WATER CHOICE in your landscape. Call us or stop by your favorite location so we can help! Here are some water saving devices
- Water all plants according to need (when rains are not adequate.
- Be sure to follow your local watering restrictions and guidelines.
Pests to Watch out For
- SNAILS & SLUGS – Use Organic Gro Power® Slug N Snail, Organic Sluggo® Plus, Original Sluggo® or Corry’s® Snail & Slug Meal or Pellets
- APHIDS – Control aphids with insecticidal soap and beneficial insects. Safer® Insect Killing soap is a good organic choice.
- LAWN PESTS – Use Bayer® Multi-Insect Killer or Spectracide® Triazicide
- RATS & MICE – Use Just One Bite® Rodent Bait, Victor Rat® and Mouse traps and other baits and traps are available.
- GOPHERS – Use Wilco® Gopher Getter to rid your yard of gophers. Use ZP® Bait in and around garden beds.
- CATERPILLARS – Use Safer® Caterpillar Killer, Monterey® Garden Insect Spray or Green Light Lawn & Garden Spray with Spinosad. Look these pests on your broccoli and cabbage!
- ROSE PESTS – Use Bayer® All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, Bayer® 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control or Green Light® Rose Defense.
- FRUIT TREE PESTS – Use Monterey® Garden Insect Spray to combat caterpillars and other listed pests on fruit trees, vegetables and ornamentals. It is OMRI listed for Organic Use too.
- PEACH LEAF CURL – Use dormant spray such as Ortho® Volck Oil Spray for insects and Monterey® Liqui-cop for to control fungus.
- WEEDS – Use Boinde® Crabgrass Preventer or Bayer® Season Long Weed Control in lawns. Use Green Light® Amaze or Boinde® Crabgrass Preventer in ornamentals & flower beds. For non-selective areas, use Roundup ®or QuickPro® products. Be sure to use a good sprayer such as Hudson® Sprayers. DeWitt® Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric prevents weeds without chemicals. It still allows air, water and nutrients to go through. Lay this fabric down before planting your gardens.
Note: All information provided is based on typical season, weather and environmental statistics. These tips are provided for information purposes only and to be used as a general guide. Products/Brands mentioned may be discontinued at anytime and not guaranteed in-stock. Grangetto’s invites you to contact us or visit one of our locations for more specific care instructions.