Welcome to Ellis County Master Gardeners Homepage

It’s January…What Needs To Be Done?


  • Plant cilantro, parsley, chives, garlic and onions.
  • Plant onions from seeds in rows ¼ to ½ inches deep in well prepared soil. They can be planted in flats along with tomatoes and peppers. Plants in flats need bright light and warm temperatures (60-70º F). Use grow lights for best results.
  • Another alternative is to plant onion sets in a container that is 3-4 inches deep with lava sand. Lava Sand allows them to grow nice roots and turn beautifully green, giving lots of nutrients before planting in the garden. After a week or two, plant the onion sets in well prepared soil two to three inches deep.
  • Sow sugar snap peas between February 1 and March 15. Plant them one to two inches deep about six inches apart. (They can also be planted August 1 through September 15 for a fall harvest). Harvest when seeds are fairly flat; if they’re too full, they will be tough. Fertilizing is not necessary, but will enhance production. They need something to climb on such as chicken wire or cattle paneling, approximately one and a half feet high.
  • Tomatoes, especially those hard to find varieties in the spring, can be planted from seed by mid-month. Peppers and warm weather annual seeds can also be started in flats at this time. They need bright light and warm temperatures (60-70ºF). Grow lights work best.
  • Transplant small trees and shrubs while they are dormant. It is best if they are root pruned in the fall so that roots will be established before the heat and drought of the summer. Water the plant well before digging.

Fertilizing and Pruning

  • Keep a spray can of pruning paint handy to immediately paint any wound on your oak trees. To help prevent oak wilt, we no longer say there are windows of safety because of cold weather or hot weather. Central Texas weather is too unpredictable and changeable—paint every wound all year long.
  • Prune trees, including live oaks and red oaks, to remove dead, broken, and un-wanted branches, or to “limb up” (raise the canopy to allow more light under-neath).
  • Water, as needed, newly planted trees and shrubs and ap-ply a liquid root stimulator monthly.
  • Peach and plum trees should be pruned to stimulate lateral branches and keep their “bowl” shape. Thin the trees to open the center to allow more sunlight resulting in fruit production over the entire tree.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer to iris and asparagus. Feed pan-sies with blood meal.
  • Maintain your free-form crape myrtles by removing “root sprouts” growing from the base. Please, never cut the tops out of crape myrtles. It produces unsightly knots. Don’t be a Crape Murderer! However, removing spent seed pods is okay.
  • This is a good time to have the soil tested in the lawn, veg-etable, and flower gardens. Contact the Ellis County Master Gardeners or the Texas AgriLife Extension Service–Ellis County at (972) 825-5175 for a soil sample test kit and mail-ing instructions.

Garden Watch

  • Remove by hand, broadleaf weeds such as clover, dandelions, henbit, and chickweed in lawns and beds. If necessary, spot spray turf with a broadleaf weed killer when temperatures are above 70 degrees. Be careful when using weed killers in flower beds to prevent the drift from harming desirable plants. The application of a pre-emergent in September or early October on lawn grasses will help prevent winter and spring weeds.

Click here to read the complete January newsletter.

Be Firewise!

Check out our new Firewise information under the Resources tab above and learn how to be prepared before wildfire strikes.