Welcome to Ellis County Master Gardeners Homepage

It’s January… What Needs To Be Done?


  • Plant shade trees, shrubs and woody ornamentals from nursery containers. Check out the Texas SmartScape™ program at www.txsmartscape.com to help you create an environmentally friendly landscape.
  • Transplant small trees and shrubs while they are dormant. Water the plant well before digging.Plant cold-tolerant herbs such as chives, cilantro, garlic and parsley. Onions from transplants can be planted late month.
  • Seed for warm-weather annuals can be planted in flats in a temperature-controlled environment. Tomatoes and peppers, especially those hard to find varieties in the spring, can be started from seed mid-month. All require bright light and warm temperatures (60-70ºF). Use grow lights for best results.
  • Tulip and hyacinth bulbs which have been chilled for 8 weeks should be planted immediately.
  • Plant blackberries, fruit, and nut trees. Cultivar or variety selection is critical. Contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Ellis County at (972) 825-5175 or visit http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut for recommended varieties.

Pruning and Fertilizing

  • Prune trees, including live oaks and red oaks, to remove dead, broken and unwanted branches, or to raise the canopy to allow more light underneath.
  • 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. Paint every wound all year long.
  • Water newly planted trees and shrubs as needed; and apply a liquid root stimulator monthly.
  • Peach and plum trees should be pruned to stimulate lateral branches and keep their “bowl” shape. Thin out branches to open the center to allow more sunlight resulting in fruit production over the entire tree.
  • Apply blood meal or a slow-release fertilizer to pansies and other cool-season annuals.
  • Maintain free-form crape myrtles by removing “root sprouts” growing from the base – but please, never cut the tops out of crape myrtles. It produces unsightly knots and it delays blooming. However, removing spent seed pods is okay.

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 herbicide when temperatures are above 70 degrees. Be careful when using herbicides in flower beds to prevent the drift from harming desirable plants.
  • Now is the time to have the soil tested in your lawn, vegetable and flower gardens. Contact the local AgriLife Extension office at (972) 825-5175 for a soil sample test kit and mailing instructions. For additional information, go to http://soiltesting.tamu.edu.

Click here to read the complete December 2016 E-Garden Newsletter 



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