Thursday, January 13, 2011

Selected Winter Garden Tips

The Home and Garden Information Center of the University of Maryland puts out a great e-newsletter. Here are a few of the gardening tips that they list for January in the home landscape.

• Hand pull winter annual weeds to keep them from going to seed this spring. Some common annual weeds include chickweed , henbit , and dead nettle . Here are more tips for eco-friendly weed control.
• Avoid excessive walking on your grass when it is frozen to avoid damaging the crowns of your grass plants.  

Woody Ornamental Tips
• Protect shrubs from winter winds by surrounding them with burlap or cardboard, or constructing small, solid windbreaks located 18 inches from the plant on the windward side.
• Try to prevent snow and ice from building up on gutters and eaves above shrubs. Gently sweep snow loads off of shrubs to prevent breakage.
• Prune damaged branches.  

• Fall bearing raspberries can be cut down to the ground. The spent fruiting canes of June bearers can also be removed now.
• Consider covering your strawberry patch with a piece of floating row cover. This material can help prevent winter injury and promote early growth in the spring.  

Vegetables and Herbs
• Plan for spring seeding now. Check the germination rate of old, questionable seed (see newsletter to learn how)  

• Keep all ice melting materials away from landscape plants. Do not attempt to melt ice with granular garden fertilizers.

• If you have not mulched your garden, apply mulch now to perennial beds, trees and shrubs. This will help to protect plant crowns and shallow root systems from severe cold weather.

• Keep bird feeders and baths cleaned and replenished throughout the winter months.

For more tips from this excellent newsletter, download the winter edition here.

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