Middle South

January, 2013
Regional Report

Continue Irrigation

Keep a close eye on autumn-planted trees and shrubs, as well as other plants that need regular moisture. Winter winds and cold weather can be especially trying for these plants, and they should be watered when rain is lacking.

Decorate Window Boxes

If you've left window boxes or other containers empty, decorate them with cuttings from evergreens such as pine and cedar. Pushed into moist soil, fresh cuttings will last for 6 to 8 weeks in cold weather. Then, embellish the greenery by adding beech branches with parchment-like leaves, or finish off the display with other natural materials of your choice.

Sharpen Cutting Tools

January is the perfect time to tackle tool maintenance, especially the cutting implements that will be needed for late-winter pruning. To sharpen clippers or shears, follow the original bevel of the cutting edge with long strokes from a mill file. About ten passes of the file are usually needed to expose clean metal. Then, apply multipurpose oil to the blades and other moving parts of the tool and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Visit Public Gardens

Public gardens are full of blooms in summer, but winter visits can be equally enjoyable and instructive. It's easier to study the framework of the garden's design during the cold season, as well as observe wildlife activity. And of course, evergreens, berries, eye-catching bark, and choice winter-blooming plants will provide a worthwhile display.

Treat Scale Insects

Now is the best time to apply dormant horticultural oil sprays to trees and shrubs to smother scale insects, as well as overwintering insect eggs, aphids, and mites. The exception is conifers, especially those with blue needles, as the oil will affect their color.

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