Garden Planner – 0112

Garden Planner - 0112

Happy New Year—to you and your garden! Savor the fragrance of daphne odora, witchhazel and winter honeysuckle on cold, crisp mornings. Soon late-winter bulbs will emerge, and flowers will pop out overnight.

Garden Maintenance

➤    Your cool-weather annuals will be happy if you feed them with nitrogen fertilizer and remove their dead blooms. This will encourage additional flowering.
➤    Cut camellia flowers, and bring indoors to float in bowls, adding color on a dreary January day.
➤    If you didn’t apply a pre-emergent weed killer to your lawn last September, chickweed and henbit could be sprouting in your lawn. Use a post-emergent weed killer that is labeled for your particular turf to reduce weeds in your yard.
➤    It’s too late to reseed fescue, but fescue sod can be installed successfully now through March. Wait until late spring to sod or seed all warm-season grasses.
➤    Now is a good time to do major pruning of trees and shrubs. Take care when it comes to flowering trees and shrubs; spring flowerers such as forsythia, spiraea, azalea and viburnum should not be pruned until after they bloom. Summer bloomers can be pruned now while they are dormant.    
➤    Expand your gardening knowledge—take a class at your local extension service, botanical garden or community college.
➤    Watch for scale on evergreens such as holly, euonymous and camellia. Spray with horticultural oil at the first sign of it. Don’t spray on a windy day or if a freeze is expected within 24 hours.  
➤    Indoor plants need care too. Avoid drafts and vented areas where warm, dry air will directly contact them. Provide ample sunlight and water. When watering, take the plant to the sink, water well, allow excess water to drain and then place it in a saucer to prevent damage to floors or furniture.

What to Plant

➤    Plant fragrant shrubs near entranceways and walkways so that you’ll be greeted by a whiff of sweetness as you enter or exit your home. Daphne odora, winter honeysuckle and wintersweet are fantastic choices.
➤    Peruse the colorful pages of the seed, bulb and flower catalogs that you’ve collected—either from your mailbox or online. There’s an endless variety of plants to choose from, but it’s important to learn which ones perform best in Atlanta’s climate.
➤    When deciding what to plant, think about the sun and shade conditions of your yard. A spot that’s sunny in January might be fully shaded by June.
➤    Plant fruit trees in January, and prune apple, peach and pear trees this month, but don’t fertilize until buds begin to swell in early spring.


Mary Kay Woodworth is executive director of the Georgia Urban Agriculture Council. She previously ran Practically Gardening, a landscape consulting firm, and was Master Gardener Coordinator for the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Service. Mary Kay is a frequent speaker at area schools, garden clubs, civic organizations and trade shows.

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