January Garden Tasks
in the Piedmont
Perennials, Annuals & Bulbs
- Don’t forget to water!
- Winter drought can be just as severe as in the summer. If the ground freezes, any moisture available is inaccessible to roots.
- Check outdoor perennials and bulbs
- Make sure none have been pushed out of the ground by freezing/thawing weather
- Push them back underground and replace the mulch.
- For camellias:
- Rake up fallen blooms to discourage camellia petal blight.
- Sow seeds of larkspur, bachelor buttons and poppies now.
- You can also start seeds indoors for coleus, alyssum, impatiens, verbena, geranium and petunia.
- Attack unwanted brush and vines.
- You can actually see what you're doing and mosquitoes and ticks are off duty.
Lawn & Landscaping
- Eliminate hard to mow spaces like sharp angles of bed borders to decrease lawn maintenance.
- Combine single trees or shrubs into a large planting connected by groundcovers.
- Avoid heavy traffic on dormant lawns
- Dry grass is easily broken and the crown of the plant may be severely damaged or killed.
Trees, Shrubs & Groundcovers
- Prune fruit trees and woody ornamentals that bloom on current season growth, such as althea, buddleia, crepe myrtle, hydrangea and vitex.
- Save the spring-bloomers until just after they've bloomed, and remember to follow proper pruning techniques.
- Remove dead, diseased or storm-damaged limbs.
- Protect broadleaf evergreens with blankets or burlap (never plastic) during periods of extreme cold.
- Fertilize them in winter or early spring before growth begins.
- Protect borderline hardy plants, like aucuba, camellia and gardenia, by a mound of soil or compost over the crown if the ground surface freezes.
- Remember when choosing the location of new shrubs or trees, spots that are sunny in the garden now may be shady in the spring or summer.
- Turn and prune houseplants regularly to keep them shapely.
- Don't over-water; wait until the soil surface is dry.
- Place plants on shallow trays lined with pebbles and filled with water to increase humidity around plants. Most houses are very dry in the winter.
- Keep winter fertilizing to a minimum as plant growth has considerably slowed.
- Feed the birds regularly
- They like suet, fruit, nuts, and bread crumbs as well as bird seed.
- Keep the birdbath free of ice and continue adding fresh water every week.
- Try different deterrents to see what works best if deer are eating your plants:
- See this resource from NC State.
- Toss rubber balls into the water garden to prevent icing over.
Mecklenburg Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers