It may be winter, but there’s plenty of work to do outdoors.
• Plant living Christmas trees as soon as possible. If you’ve placed the tree outside, avoid exposing the root ball to freezing temperatures. Get it in the ground or in a pot. Firs, pines and other evergreens can flourish in containers. (And if planted in a pot, your living Christmas tree can come inside again next year for the holidays – if it’s not too tall.)
• Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.
• Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.
• Clean up leaves and debris around fruit trees and rose bushes to prevent the spread of disease.
• Start pruning roses. They’ve been slow to go into dormancy this winter (many were blooming around Sacramento just before Christmas), but it’s time to get to work on this annual chore. Trim off remaining leaves from canes.
• Apply oil to fruit trees soon after a rain to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective. Don’t apply on foggy days.
• This also is the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl.
• In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.
• Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.
– Debbie Arrington