UC Master Gardeners

There’s plenty of gardening to be done in January

UC Master GardenerJanuary 2, 2013 

Mulching around shrubs and trees keeps the soil from becoming compacted and discourages weeds from sprouting.


Even though the wind may be brisk outside, doing a few January chores will ensure a healthy and vibrant garden in the spring.

Now is the time to plant bare root trees such as apples, peaches, pears and plums. If you have established deciduous fruit trees, prune before leaf buds form. To control peach leaf curl on deciduous trees, spray with copper or lime sulfur mixed with horticultural oil (following label instructions), but do not spray apricot trees with lime sulfur.

Plant bare root roses or lilacs for a fragrant and colorful spring and prune established roses. Remove dead or damaged branches and clean all debris away from the base of the plant. As oranges, limes and lemons continue to produce, harvest fruit as it ripens.

Even though you cleaned your gutters at the start of winter, you may need to clean again due to fallen leaves now that most of the trees are bare. Also make sure to rake fallen leaves as they will smother grass if left in place.

Replenish mulch to keep soil from compacting and to keep newly sprouted weeds at bay. Protect succulents when hard frosts are in the forecast, moving tender succulents under cover. Or, if the pots are too heavy to move, cover in place.

If the weather is too intolerable, you can always clean your gardening tools. Remove visible rust, wash and dry tools well. After drying, oil metal and wood parts of a tool to prevent further rust and cracking of wooden handles.

As the holiday season ends, rather than placing your Christmas tree in your green waste, check to see if there is a drop-off location for chipping and mulching of trees in your area.

Finally, spend those cold winter nights poring over seed and summer bulb catalogs. You will need to order soon to have all your seeds and plants ready for your spring garden. Make sure to order at least one new variety of your favorite vegetable to try something new.

Happy Gardening!


Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners at 781-5939 on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. in San Luis Obispo; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; or at 434-4105 on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at http://groups.ucanr.org /slomg or e-mail mgsanluisobispo@ucdavis.edu  .

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service