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 Monthly Gardening Tips



January 2013 Tips & Events

from the UCCE Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program

Deciduous fruit tree pruning time--all but apricots and cherries!
If you properly prune and care for fruit trees you will get the highest yield of fruit. We are lucky to live in a region where growing fruit is easy. Deciduous trees can be pruned anytime during their dormant season, but because apricot and cherry trees are susceptible to Eutypa, it's best to prune them before the rainy season. For more tips on pruning apricots and cherries, visit the UC Pest Management site. While you're outside pruning, remember to pick up any rotting fruit on the ground at the same time.
 
Stake your brassicas
Your Brussels sprouts and other brassicas may collapse with the weight of the rain we've been having this season. Tying them to a three-foot stake will maximize your chances for a better crop. If you're noticing yellow flowers on your broccoli already, the cold-then-warm temperatures have caused  them to bolt, you can try new plants or start thinking ahead to your warm weather garden.
 
Bare root plants are better in many ways
Bare root plants are sold without any soil clinging to the roots making them easier and less expensive to transport, they'll do just fine in the garden as long as you don't let them dry out before planting. Because you can see the roots and can control how they're placed in the soil, it helps reduce the chances for root girdling problems later. Trees aren't the only plants that are sold bare root. You can also plant bare root asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb, grapes, roses, strawberries, and iris in January.
 
Christmas trees are a good brown for your compost
Yes, we are talking about composting. Again. With grass clippings and rain overflowing our compost bins, a dried out Christmas tree will make a welcome addition to the pile that is lacking in brown matter. For the best results in the compost bin, you'll need to find someone with a chipper/shredder to borrow.
 
Christmas trees are also great as mulch!
If you don't have a compost pile (or even if you do) your dead Christmas tree might be put to better use as a mulch. Pine trees' resin and acidity might slow down the bacterial growth that your compost bin loves, so why not chop up your tree (and you might as well grab your neighbors' trees too, while you're at it) and spread the chopped tree around as mulch. The pine needles mat down nicely and act as a great weed barrier. If you have a corner of your yard that is hard to get to and hard to see, you won't even notice the larger, chopped pieces acting as a great mulch.
 
Rose Bowl time is rose pruning time
When I think of January, I think of the Rose Bowl. Then that reminds me January is a good time to prune my roses. If I get around to pruning them by Superbowl Sunday, I know I'm guaranteed great blooms by baseball's Opening Day. When winter pruning, cut out all dead wood and crossing branches, thin out the remaining branches to allow air and light into the center, reapply mulch, and feed. Learn more about rose care for Santa Clara Valley on our website.
 
Don't prune that frost damage
I
f you have plant damage from frost, wait until spring to prune. Early pruning can lead to further dieback along stems and branches. The last frost date for Santa Clara County is March 15.
 
 
North County Events

Roses - Pruning and Winter Care
Tuesday, 1/29, 7:30pm-8:30pm, Free, Los Altos Library, 13 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos
Learn from Master Gardeners how to prune, fertilize, mulch, and reduce disease for a beautiful garden display of roses.

San Jose and Central County Events

Roses--Pruning and Winter Care
Saturday, 1/26, 12:00pm-2:00pm, Free, Santa Clara Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
Learn how to prune, fertilize, mulch, and reduce disease for a beautiful garden display of roses.

South County Events

Fruit Tree Pruning Class
Saturday, 1/26, 10:00am-12:00pm, Free, Saint Louise Regional Hospital, Board Room, 9400 No Name Uno, Gilroy
Learn which varieties do well in our area, and how to care for your home orchard, including applying least toxic techniques in case of pests or diseases.