January Gardening Tips
Shared by: krw19413
January Gardening Tips • Prune Grapes. • Prune Fruit trees and spray with Lime Sulphur and Dormant Oil to prevent insects and diseases. • Spray Copper Spray to prevent Peach Leaf Curl. • If you had terrible insect problems in your vegetable garden this year, particularly grubs, squash vine borers, and other soil insects, tilling your garden in the winter can help to control them. Many of these insects burrow down in the ground and spend the winter in a larval stage. Tilling can bring them closer to the surface and low temperatures can help to kill them. Don't do this if the ground is too wet, but if the soil is workable, this can help to start the season off clean. • Cut off sucker shoots from around the bases of apple and pear trees. • Prune apple trees. Burn the branches you have pruned to avoid the spread of disease. • Don't throw out that ash if you're burning wood in the fireplace this winter! Save it until next spring then spread it in your gardens. Scatter it around your carrots, radishes and onions to keep root maggots away. It will also improve the flavor of your potatoes. Wood ash is high in potassium and will raise the pH of soil. • Plant your garlic now!!! Poke 4 inch deep holes in the ground with the end of a rake and drop the Garlic clove into the hole. Want to Grow Your Own Fruit Trees??? • Buy small, bare-root trees, since growth and survival, as well as time to significant fruiting, will be more favorable with small trees versus large trees. • Plant mid-February through March. • Soil test, lime and fertilize accordingly. • Eliminate grasses and weeds from a 4 to 6 foot diameter circle at the tree site prior to planting. How to plant: • Dig the hole slightly deeper and wider than needed. (If using an auger to dig the hole, score the sides and bottom of the hole to break the glaze that would restrict root growth). • Plant at the same depth as the tree was set in the nursery (note the differences in color and/or texture of the bark in the below ground versus the above ground parts). • Leave the graft or bud union above ground, but not more than 2 inches above. • Prior to planting, prune back dead or broken roots. Also prune long roots back to the same length as the rest of the roots. • Do not use soil amendments such as peat moss, fertilizers or sawdust in the hole! Use only the soil that was taken out of the hole (perhaps putting the topsoil in the bottom of the hole), plus any extra soil needed to complete filling the hole. • Water the tree immediately to establish good root-soil contact if the soil was dry at the time of planting. • While mulches may help to conserve water, they also harbor insects, diseases and rodents that can damage trees. If mulch must be used, keep it at least 12 inches away from the tree trunk. Pruning • At the time of planting, prune back the tops of trees to the following heights: o Apple, pear, sweet cherry – 30 to 36 inches above ground. o Peach, plum, tart cherry – 24 to 30 inches above ground. • If trees are shorter than the sizes listed above, cut out the upper 4 to 6 inches off the top. This will encourage development of a strong leader from which side branches will arise later. • For branched trees, remove all side limbs, as they frequently are undesirable. • Cut limbs off within 1/4 inch of the trunk. • Make all cuts close to a bud (within 1/8 inch). o Cuts too close to a bud can damage the bud. o Cuts too far from a bud leave a stub where diseases may become established. o Cuts should be made at an angle to allow water to drain off. Fertilization • After trees have been in the ground several weeks, they may be fertilized. • Apply fertilizer in a band around the tree but not within 10 to 12 inches of the trunk. Determining the type of fertilizer to use can be accomplished by referring to the soil test results. • If phosphorus and potassium tested high to very high, use a nitrogen fertilizer such as ammonium nitrate (one-third pound per tree) or calcium nitrate (one-half pound per tree). • Where phosphorus and potassium tested low to medium, use a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 (one pound per tree) or 15-15-15 (two-thirds pound per tree). • Fertilizer may be broadcast on the soil surface. How to Prune a Neglected Fruit Tree… When trees have not been properly pruned and trained, fruit yields and quality may decline. As trees grow taller and more dense, lower limbs and interior limbs lose their ability to produce quality fruit, due to increased shading. Many of these weakened limbs will die. Over time, most fruit will be produced in the outer periphery of the tree, primarily in the top, as this is the only area exposed to adequate sunlight. These trees often can be pruned back and restored to a point where quality fruit may be obtained once again. It may require several years to restore a tree to a manageable size. If the tree has been severely neglected for several years, it may not be possible to recapture its full productive potential. The following sequence of pruning cuts applies to all types of fruit trees: 1. Remove root suckers arising at the base of the tree. 2. Always cut out dead, broken, diseased or insect infested limbs. Their removal will make it much easier to determine which other pruning cuts should be made. 3. Remove low, drooping limbs. These limbs generally produce poor-quality fruit and may be low enough to interfere with maintenance of the area under the tree. 4. Remove upright growth from the center of the tree to reduce shading of lower limbs. For apples and pears, one upright limb might be left as a leader if a desirable limb exists. For peaches, nectarines, etc., remove all large, upright limbs from the center of the tree. 5. Where limbs grow parallel to or cross other limbs within 24 to 30 inches, one of the limbs should be removed to eliminate shading and bruising of limbs and fruit. 6. Tree height may be reduced by cutting limbs back to branches growing to the outside. Cut upper limbs back further than lower limbs to facilitate good light penetration to lower limbs. 7. Watersprouts, vigorous shoots growing off the tops of limbs, should be removed. They are slow to come into bearing and can shade out more desirable fruiting wood. 8. Once the larger cuts have been made, the smaller wood should be thinned out to encourage production of higher quality fruit. Drooping shoots should be pruned at the junction of a small branch that is growing slightly upward toward the outside of the tree. These branches have the ability to produce high-quality fruit. When removing a large limb, care should be taken to prevent damage to the tree as the limb drops down near the completion of the cut. The following sequence of cuts is suggested to prevent tearing of the bark and wood at the base of the limb being removed. • First, go out about 12 inches from the base of the limb and cut about one-third of the way through the limb on the underside. • Second, go about 6 inches further out the limb and, starting at the top, cut the limb off. Near the completion of this cut, the limb is apt to drop down and tear back to where the bottom cut was made. It will then drop free of the tree. • Finally, go back and cut the stub off. Make this cut at the collar, or swelling, where the branch originates. Do not leave long stubs as they offer places for diseases or insects to invade.