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LifestyleColumnistsJessica Damiano

January gardening tasks for spring bounty

Frost on a tree in January.

Frost on a tree in January. Credit: Fotolia

When the eggnog is gone and you've awakened from your joyful holiday nap, your plants -- even the dormant ones -- will still need you.

To ensure the joys of spring arrive easily, the chores of winter must be attended to now. Here are a few things to look out for in January:

1. Happy 2015! Spend some time looking through garden catalogs that likely already have begun arriving.

2. Wrap recently planted evergreens with burlap to avoid wind and snow damage.

3. Houseplants need special winter care: Rotate pots daily and keep away from heat sources.

4. Renew tropicals that are overwintering indoors by removing yellowing foliage.

5. Restock bird feeders and be sure to provide clean water.

6. It's the Epiphany: Time to take down the Christmas tree. Trim branches and use as mulch over garden beds.

7. If you've rooted cuttings in the fall and they're leggy, pinch them back and change the water.

8. Water houseplants thoroughly and then not again until the soil is completely dry.

9. Remove dust from indoor plant foliage with a damp cloth.

10. Avoid walking on frozen turf or you'll shatter grass blades, causing damage you'll notice come spring.

11. We're turning the corner! Order seeds for annuals now for starting next month.

12. When temperatures are above 40 degrees, spray broadleaf evergreens with anti-desiccant to protect from winter damage.

13. If you have bulbs you haven't planted, you still can do so. They might grow small plants this year, but they'll catch up.

14. Monitor tree and shrub branches, and prune those that are broken.

15. When shoveling snow, pile it onto perennial beds as long as you haven't salted. It'll add extra insulation, igloo-like.

16. Inspect indoor plants for pests, taking care to check under leaves, where many prefer to live.

17. Check bog plants overwintering indoors and discard those that are rotting.

18. Clean and sterilize seed-starting supplies to avoid spreading damping-off and other diseases.

19. When blooms are faded, deadhead forced amaryllis, but discard paperwhites.

20. Check perennials and bulbs in the garden and use your foot to push back those that have heaved out of the ground.

21. Order vegetables and perennials. The most popular seeds and plants will sell out soon. Most nurseries time shipping for spring planting.

22. Start parsley, onions and leeks indoors in a dark location. Move them into bright light when they sprout.

23. Begin pruning dormant fruit trees, but be sure to complete the task by the end of March.

24. Brush snow off evergreen limbs with a broom to avoid deformities and breakage.

25. Cut branches of forsythia, dogwood, honeysuckle, lilac, quince and redbud, and place in vases to force early blooms indoors.

26. Start slow-growing annuals like ageratum, nicotiana, snapdragons and verbena indoors.

27. Hold a potful of steaming water over frozen ponds to melt an opening in the surface that will release trapped gasses that can poison fish.

28. Ornamental grasses can look nice all winter long, but if yours are looking shabby, it's OK to cut them back now.

29. Check arbor supports and ties that fasten climbing plants and vines. Tighten up any that have loosened.

30. Deadhead African violets and other flowering houseplants.

31. If there's no snow cover, and it hasn't rained in a while, water your evergreens. Be sure to drain hoses afterward.

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