Did 2015 leave you with any garden regrets? Maybe you pruned your hydrangeas at the wrong time or forgot to water your tomatoes. No worries: With the new year come new beginnings and opportunities. After the last of the Champagne has been enjoyed (first things first!) take note of improvements to make in your landscape. Wishing you all a 2016 of abundant crops, slow-growing grass and weed-free beds and borders.
Here are some chores to help start the year off right.
1. Start planning and browsing through the garden catalogs that you likely have been receiving.
2.Check on indoor tropical plants and snip away any yellow foliage.
3.Restock bird feeders and be sure to provide clean water, too.
4.Wrap recently planted evergreens with burlap to avoid wind and snow damage.
5.Rotate indoor plant pots daily and keep away from heat sources.
6.It’s the Epiphany: Take down the Christmas tree, then trim branches and use as mulch over garden beds.
7. Avoid walking on the lawn. Doing so will shatter frozen grass blades, and you’ll see the damage come spring.
8.Mist houseplants with room-temperature water every other day or run a humidifier.
9.Water houseplants thoroughly and then not again until the soil is completely dry.
10.Remove dust from indoor plant foliage with a damp cloth to help them “breathe” better.
11.Deadhead African violets and other flowering houseplants.
12.Check tree branches for gypsy moth egg cases (they look like used chewing gum). Remove, destroy and discard in the trash.
13.Check stored bulbs and corms, sprinkle with water if necessary and discard any that have rotted.
14.Order seeds for annuals now for starting next month.
15.Be sure to shovel walkways before applying salt, otherwise salted snow dumped in garden beds may harm plants.
16.When temperatures are above 40 degrees, spray broadleaf evergreens with anti-desiccant to protect from winter damage.
17.Hold a potful of steaming water over frozen ponds to melt an opening and release trapped gasses that can harm fish.
18. Monitor tree and shrub branches, and prune those that are broken.
19.Inspect indoor plants for pests, taking care to check under leaves, where many prefer to live.
20.Check bog plants overwintering indoors and discard those that are rotting.
21. Rotate houseplant pots with every watering to keep them from bending toward the light.
22. Walk around the garden to check for crowns that have heaved out of the soil. Push them back with your foot and apply mulch.
23. Clean and sterilize seed-starting supplies to avoid spreading damping-off and other diseases.
24. Ornamental grasses can look nice all winter long, but if yours are looking shabby, cut them back now.
25.After snowfall, gently brush snow from evergreen branches with a long-handled broom to prevent buckling.
26.Order vegetables and perennials. The most popular seeds and plants will sell out soon. Most nurseries time shipping for spring planting.
27.Start parsley, onion and leek seeds in a dark spot indoors, and move into bright light and as soon as they sprout.
28.Begin pruning dormant fruit trees now, but be sure to complete the task by the end of March to avoid impacting fruit production.
29.When blooms are faded, deadhead amaryllis, but discard paperwhites.
30.Check arbor supports and ties that fasten climbing plants and vines. Tighten up any that have been loosened by winter winds.
31.Cut branches of forsythia, dogwood, honeysuckle, lilac, quince and redbud, and place in vases to force early blooms indoors.