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Gardeners' Checklist For January Includes Several Educational Programs
by Dr. William M. Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent - Horticulture
On Christmas Day, several of my friends in the Houston-Galveston area sent e-mails with photos of their snow-covered landscapes including the picturesque setting shown above in Santa Fe. The blanket of snow that covered local landscapes on Christmas Day was as much a surprise as it was beautiful. However, the most frequently asked question after the Christmas Holiday was not a surprise as gardeners are very concerned about how to care for freeze-damaged plants.
Photo Credit: Alcestis "Cooky" Oberg
Review the following educational program announcements and make notes on your gardening calendars to attend programs that are of interest to you. While all educational programs are free-of-charge, note that some programs require a reservation due to space limitations. Reservations may be made in person at the County Extension Office located at 5115 Highway 3 in Dickinson or by calling 281-534-3413, ext. 6. Reservations may also be made through our website address (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/index.htm) or by e-mail (GALV3@wt.net).
Gardening by the Square Foot Seminar
Saturday, January 8: Gardening by the Square Foot. 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Presented by Master Gardener John Jons who is a gardening by the square foot enthusiast. Basic designs, soil preparation, plant selection and establishment, insect pest & disease control, and general care. Class size limited to 18 participants. No fee but reservation required.
Spring Vegetable Gardening Seminar
Saturday, January 15: Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening. 9:00-12:00 noon at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Presented by Master Gardener Luke Stripling. Soil preparation, variety selection, disease/insect management. No fee but reservation required.
Peach & Plum Workshop
Saturday, January 29: Peach & Plum Seminar. 9:00-12:00 noon at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Presented by Master Gardener Herman Auer. Variety selection, planting, disease/insect management, harvesting and pruning. No registration fee but pre-registration is required.
Fruit Tree Sale & Seminar
Saturday, February 5: Master Gardeners Fruit Tree Sale and Seminar. Seminar begins at 8:00 a.m. with speaker Heidi Sheesley of TreeSearch Farms. Sale begins at 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. with many varieties of fruit trees and citrus. Carbide Parks Wayne Johnson Community Center, 4102 FM 519 in La Marque. Open to the general public. No reservation required.
Master Gardener Training Course
Monday, February 21: Galveston County Master Gardener Training Course. Starts Monday, February 21, and every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-5 p.m. thereafter through April 5 at the Galveston County Extension Office, 5115 Highway 3, Dickinson. Application deadline is January 31.
Gardener Checklist for January
Now to January's other gardening suggestions. The month of January is an ideal time to carry out many needed activities that will help ensure healthy and vigorous growing plants when the growing season starts this spring. Review the following checklist for activities that need to done around the home site.
- As I write this weeks column, Im at my family home in Virginia. On Christmas Day, several of my friends in the Houston-Galveston area sent e-mails with pictures of their snow-covered landscapes. The blanket of snow on Christmas Day was as surprising as it was beautiful.
However, the most frequently asked question after the Christmas Holiday was not a surprise as gardeners are very concerned about how to care for freeze-damaged plants. Cold-sensitive landscape plants, including many types of tropicals and subtropicals, suffered freeze injury resulting from cold temperatures during the Christmas Season. Fortunately, temperatures did not dip into the teens or single digits.
Do not be in a rush to prune back dead-looking branches. If at all possible, wait until spring or when buds start to swell to do any pruning. What looks dead now may not actually be dead. In addition, pruning freeze-damaged branches now will stimulate many types of plants to bud out early should we get a warm spell of weather during the winter season.
These recommendations are based on sound horticultural principles. In reality, neighborhood deed restrictions, city ordinances or landscape appearances may necessitate some pruning of freeze-damaged branchesparticularly in the front yard.
- Keep the lawn free of heavy leaf buildup to prevent smothering the grass. A few leaves won't hurt the lawn but leaves should not be allowed to completely cover the lawn, especially if they become heavily packed and stay wet for long periods.
- Continue to select and plant ornamental trees and shrubs to fill landscape needs. Always plan ahead before planting. Remember that like little puppies, plants grow up. In the case of some trees, they can get large so be prudent about what you plant below electrical and telephone lines. The treeand the homeownerwill ultimately lose in such standoffs.
- Apply dormant oil sprays to control scale and other hard-to-manage insect pests on landscape trees and shrubs. Read and follow all directions provided by the manufacturer.
- Select and order gladiolus corms for February and March planting. Planting at two-week intervals will prolong the flowering period. Choose some of the newer varieties for a vivid color display.
- Last but not least, don't forget to plant those bulbs that you put in your refrigerator to provide for a chill treatment. They won't flower in the fridge!
Dr. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County
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