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January Gardening in Oklahoma

The Daily Ardmoreite
Pat Neasbitt
Master Gardener

January Gardening in Oklahoma

There are many things we can do now to start the New Year off right and make this gardening season the best possible.

Have a plan. Think about what worked in last year’s garden. More importantly, think about what didn’t work. Walk around inside and look out your windows. Do you have a lovely view of trees, shrubs, and flower borders, or are you looking at the neighbor’s storage building? If your view is blocked by a tree or shrub, prune up the limbs so you can see. If you don’t like the view, plant a beautiful native tree or shrub to become a focal point. Winter is a good time to plant trees and shrubs or to move trees and shrubs around in your landscape. It's also a great time to remove dead or damaged branches and lower limbs that get in your way when you are walking under them or mowing. Remove any mistletoe from your trees now by taking out the entire branch it is growing on. This is a good time to have your soil tested in your vegetable garden, flower garden, and lawn. The Extension Offices aren't as busy now as they will be later in the spring. The soil is not as wet now as it will be when the spring rains come, either.

There will always be weeds. If you have a small yard, dig out winter broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, henbit, and chickweed in lawns and beds. If you have too much to dig by hand, you can also spot spray large areas with a broadleaf weed killer, but you need to catch a day when temperatures are above 50 degrees for it to work well. You can also use Glyphosate (Roundup) now because Bermuda lawns are dormant.

Layer on the compost. Compost is called "Gardener’s Gold" and is Nature's miracle cure for almost everything. Adding a new layer of compost now will make your life easier the rest of the season. Compost feeds the plants and the soil, improves sandy or clay soil, keeps soil temperatures cooler in summer and warmer in winter, makes everything look neat and tidy, keeps most weeds from sprouting, and keeps moisture from evaporating in the Oklahoma heat, drought, and wind. Like I said, compost is Nature's Miracle!

Gardening is always ongoing. You will never learn all there is to know about gardening, and your landscape will never be finished. The drought the past few summers and winters will force us to replace plants we lost, move plants around, and add new plants. Look at it as an opportunity to try something different. There are newer and, sometimes, better varieties coming on the market all the time. Gardeners are some of the happiest, most optimistic people because they look forward to new growing seasons with hope and anticipation for better things to come. Happy New Year and Happy Gardening!