With the rain storms coming through recently its a good idea to reduce watering. In fact, in many cased all landscape irrigation can be shut off until the weather begins to change!
Pests: Apply first dormant spray for the garden (not just the fruit trees) to control many overwintering insects and diseases. Apply a dormant type oil mixed with fixed copper or lime sulfur to nearly all your landscape plants. Avoid “blue” plants such as blue spruce as the oil will turn them green. Thorough coverage is essential as these mixes kill only on contact and missed areas could mean problems next spring.
Plant: Bare root stock is now in and it is usually fifteen percent (15%) cheaper than comparable container stock. Bare root plants also become established quicker than most container stock. Plants available as bare root include artichokes, asparagus, berries, grapes, fruit trees roses and other deciduous landscape plants. Plant tulips and hyacinths now. They will flower in February and March (hopefully after the heavy storms but before the high temperatures hit).
Prune: Deciduous fruit and nut trees, berries, grapes, wisteria, and overgrown ground covers. You can wait to prune spring flowering ornamentals such as crabapples, flowering plums, forsythia, weeping cherries and deciduous magnolias until after they bloom.
Note: Prune magnolias lightly and only when necessary.
Fertilize: Fertilize dormant fruit trees with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Continue giving winter annuals their monthly feeding with a complete fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers are best this time of year because the nutrients tend to be more available to the plants. Put Christmas lights on frost sensitive plants and leave them on all night when the temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing.
Lawns: Both cool and warm season lawns are naturally going dormant this time of year. Lawns comprised of cool season varieties can be kept active with heavy applications of nitrogen, however, this practice can be damaging to the lawn over time. Forcing active growth in the winter uses up the grass plants energy Stores, it robs the roots of their chance to recuperate from last Summers stresses. This practice also promotes a fast build up of thatch. The most important lawn activities at this time are to keep the leaves raked and mow as necessary (every second to third week).