January and February Gardening Chores
- Check and clean tools. Service gas-powered machines as needed.
- Transplant bamboo now by digging up horizontal roots and trimming off above-ground stalks. Plant roots a few inches deep in moderately rich soil. Shoots will appear in mid-spring. Keep well watered.
- If you didn’t fertilize spring bulbs in the fall, do it now.
- Take cuttings from geraniums and wax begonias that have been growing inside.
- Plant seeds of hardy annuals such as alyssum, cornflower, larkspur, and California, Shirley and Iceland poppies by sprinkling them on a roughly raked surface and watering.
- Hand-pull winter annuals such as chickweed and henbit.
- Continue removing dead, diseased or damaged branches or canes.
- Continue planting container-grown or balled/burlapped shrubs if the ground is not frozen.
- Continue watering during dry periods.
- Apply dormant oil spray. Read and follow label directions.
- Fertilize cool-season grass using a complete NPK fertilizer with a 4:1:2 ratio (16-4-8). Water immediately after fertilizer is applied.
- Prune summer and fall flowering shrubs that bloom after July 1. Examples include crape myrtle, althea, hydrangea, vitex, beautybush and glossy abelia.
- Continue hand-pulling winter weeds.
- Apply dormant oil spray to shrubs and trees to control scale and other sucking insects. The temperature must be at least 40°F with no rain in the forecast.
- Treat lawns with a crabgrass preventer after February 15.
- Trim liriope, most ferns and pampas grass.
- Prune overgrown houseplants and repot those that are too large for their container.
- Divide and repot houseplants that have formed new crowns or offsets such as bromeliads, African violets and Cape Primrose.
- Root softwood stem cuttings of philodendrons, peperomias and rex begonias.
- Set out horseradish roots.
- Start seeds of basil, dill, summer savory and sweet marjoram.
- Service your lawn mower.
- Cut and divide outdoor-growing roses while dormant.
- Prune butterfly bush and beautyberry to 6-12".
- Lightly prune evergreen shrubs such as gardenias, andromedas and camellias. Prune only to allow their natural shape to show.
- Plant anemone and ranunculus bulbs.
- Plant or transplant evergreen ornamentals and deciduous bare-rooted ornamentals.
- Remove all dead and week stems of Group II clematis. Cut the remaining stems back to a pair of strong buds. Group II clematis flower on last year’s growth but produce a second flush of bloom on new growth. Group II consists of the early, large-flowered hybrids such as ‘Henryi’, ‘Nelly Moser’ and ‘Niobe’.