by Zachary Davis, Somervell County Texas AgriLife Extension Agent
January is a good maintenance month for Texas gardens. This can be a great time for you to survey your lawn and garden and see what you would like to change in preparation for the coming spring. You can also use this month to prune trees, especially fruit trees, and possibly plant a new tree or shrub.
Proper maintenance can include pulling young tree seedlings in unwanted areas, working compost into your garden site, protecting tender plants from frost, planting tulip and hyacinth bulbs. You can also check for signs of unwanted insects by looking for live scales, spider mites, and mealy bugs. Spraying for these insects can be done as long as temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you do decide to plant a new tree visit Texas A&M Forest Service Tree Selector at: http://texastreeplanting.tamu.edu/ This selector tool allows you to select the county you’re in, what kind of space you have for your tree, the size of tree you want, and what you’re looking for in a tree. Pruning existing trees can be very beneficial or very damaging to a tree depending on proper pruning. Remember to use sharp tools and try to thin your trees versus topping them. You can remove dead or damaged limbs, and prune to mold young trees to grow properly.
Planning for spring can include looking at what worked or didn’t work last year and setting your goals for the upcoming year. Look at seed catalogs and start growing some of those spring plants indoors for later transplant. Plants to begin indoors include broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce.
Remember there is never a bad time for a soil test, although most people don’t think of it this time of year. You can prepare your soil and avoid missteps in the coming spring when it can be too late.
For additional information, contact Zach Davis, AgriLife Extension agent in Somervell County 254.897.2809.