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January Gardening Tips

Garden Maintenance

  • Keep an eye on the weather report - protect frost-tender plants when the temperature falls below 32 degrees.
  • Divide perennials like daylilies and chrysanthemums.  Prune crepe myrtles, cane berries, and roses, and clean-up trimmings.
  • Prune plum, pluot, apple, and pear trees 15-20%; cherries 10%; and peaches 50%.
  • Mulch, water, and cover tender plants to protect from frost. Be sure to remove coverings during the day.
  • The birds stay in Northern California through the winter. Since flowers are scarce in most gardens now, it’s important to keep your feeder filled; clean and refill it every few days.
  • Get informed about Firewise Landscaping and make a plan for your property.


  • Fertilize roses when new growth appears.
  • Feed annuals with a complete fertilizer once a month or fish emulsion every two weeks.

Spray: Check the California Backyard Orchard website for current information.

  • To smother overwintering insect eggs and pest such as aphids and mites, and scale, spray deciduous flowering and fruit trees as well as roses with dormant oil after the leaves have fallen. Make sure the weather will provide 24 hrs. for the spray to dry.
  • Apply neem oil or potassium bicarbonate to roses to control black spot, mildew and rust.

What to Plant in January

Trees, shrubs, perennials

  • Bare-root deciduous shrubs and trees are available now.
  • Plant your living Christmas tree.


  • Plant your bare-root roses.
  • Continue to plant tulips, narcissus, daffodil, and hyacinths for a longer show of blooms in the spring.


  • Late this month nurseries begin selling bare-root artichokes, asparagus, berries, grapes, kiwifruit, horseradish, and rhubarb. Buy and plant early in the month while roots are still fresh. If the soil is too wet to plant, temporarily cover the roots with moistened mulch to keep them from drying out.
  • Plant seeds for cabbage, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, and spring lettuce in a cold frame or in the greenhouse.


  • If rains haven’t come, irrigate lawn once or twice this month.

Cover Crops

  • Cover crops like Fava beans can be planted if not planted earlier.