January may seem like a downtime in the landscape and garden. But there are jobs to perform this month to get the landscape and garden off to a good start for a New Year.
Here are some gardening ideas from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension North Florida Gardening Calendar (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep451) for the month of January.
Cool-season annuals that can provide color through winter and into early spring include pansy, viola, petunia and snapdragon. See Annuals: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_annual_landscape_plants.
Select and plant camellias this month. Visit local nurseries now for best selection of colors and forms. See Camellias: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_camellia.
In the vegetable garden, Irish potatoes can be planted now. Start with healthy seed pieces purchased from a local nursery or online seed catalog. Continue planting cool-season crops, including broccoli, kale, carrots and lettuce. See Vegetable Gardening in Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_vegetable_gardening.
Plant deciduous fruit trees now to give their roots time to develop before the warm, dry spring months. Prune existing trees. See Temperate Fruit for the Home Landscape: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_home_temperate_fruit.
Be ready to cover tender plants to minimize damage. See Cold Protection and Chilling Damage of Landscape Plants: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_landscapes_and_cold.
Prune non-spring flowering shrubs and trees this month to improve form. See Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_tree_pruning.
Celebrate Florida Arbor Day, the third Friday of January, by planting a tree. Consider a hurricane-resistant tree such as live oak, bald cypress, cabbage palm or crapemyrtle. See Arbor Day in Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_arbor_day.
On crapemyrtle, remove seed pods, crossing branches and small twiggy growth to improve appearance and form of the plant, if desired. Hard pruning is not required. See Crapemyrtle: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_crapemyrtle and Pruning Crapemyrtle: http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/pruning/pruning-crapemyrtles.html.
Control persistent scale insects on citrus, shrubs, camellias and deciduous fruit trees by applying horticultural oil while plants are dormant. See Landscape Pest Management: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_landscape_pests.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office in your county, including the one at 3098 Airport Road in Crestview, can help you with reliable gardening information during this New Year.
Other Extension topics include agriculture, family and consumer info, sustainable living and 4-H youth.
Larry Williams is an agent at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office in Crestview.