Your Entire Property

  • Birds like suet, fruit, nuts, and bread crumbs as well as bird seed.


  • Avoid heavy traffic on your dormant lawn.  Dry grass is easily broken and the crown of the plant may be severely damaged or killed.

Trees and Shrubs

  • When pruning large limbs, always undercut first.  Cut from the bottom up, one-third of the way through the limb, then finish by cutting from the top.  The undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which could damage the trunk and become an entryway for insects and diseases.  Do not cut flush to the trunk, as the collar (the enlarged base of a branch) produces hormones that help heal wounds.

  • If you have miniature shrubs planted in containers they are probably fine left on their own all winter long, as well as they are receiving precipitation.  If they are on a porch or under an overhang, give them a drink once or twice a month throughout the winter.

Houseplants and Tropicals

  • To prolong bloom, protect poinsettias from drafts and keep them moderately moist.

  • Check all house plants closely for insect infestations. Quarantine gift plants until you determine that they are not harboring any pests.  Remove insects by hand, wash with sink sprayer, or apply insecticidal soap or other product as necessary.

  • Turn and prune house plants regularly to keep them shapely. Pinch back new growth to promote bushy plants.

  • Do not place houseplants and holiday gift plants on top of the television.  This location is too warm and, in most homes, too far from windows to provide adequate light.

  • During the winter most houses are too dry for houseplants.  Humidity may be increased by placing plants on trays lines with pebbles and filled with water to within one half inch of the base of the pots.  If you heat with wood, keep a pot of water on the stove.  The added moisture will be healthier for you as well as your plants.

  • To clean crusty clay pots, add one cup each of white vinegar and household bleach to a gallon of warm water and soak the pots.  For heavily crusted pots, scrub with a steel wool pad after soaking for 12 hours.

Vegetables and Fruits

  • Review your vegetable garden plans.  Think about what worked well last year and what you swore you would never try to grow again!  Do you need to till more soil to expand your garden?  Perhaps a smaller garden with fewer weeds and insects would give you more produce?  What sort of fencing and support structures do you need?

One response to “January Gardening Tips”

  1. Brian Barnard says:

    Great advice!! Thx you

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