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A wide variety of citrus fruit brightens winter gardens and winter menus this month.

Tasks:

Plants installed last spring and fall may need water if rainfall has been inadequate.

Run sprinklers periodically through cycle to maintain clean lines and to exercise the valves.

Pruning:

When harvesting blooms for arrangements, make cuts with an eye toward shaping the plant.

Shape hedges.

Cut away 50% of last year’s growth on peaches and nectarines.

Remove leaves from roses in January to force the plant into dormancy.

Fertilizing:

Apply nitrogen fertilizer to citrus trees prior to bloom.

Always read labels carefully before applying fertilizer. Use only if necessary.

Planting:

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Bare root planting season continues.

Peas, both edible and decorative varieties can be planted this month. Before planting soak dried peas between damp paper towels in a shallow dish. Cover loosely with plastic and keep towels moist. Plant seed when they just begin to sprout.

Enjoy now:

Annuals and perennials:

Primrose (Primulapolyantha), English primrose (Primula vulgaris), pansy (Viola), sweet violet (Viola odorata).

Bulbs, corms, tubers: squill (Scillatubergeniana), ‘Paper White’ narcissus(Tazetta daffodils).

Trees, shrubs, vines: Anthony Watererspiraea, bridal wreath spirea (Spiraea prunifolia).

Fruits and vegetables: navel orange, parsley, lemons.

Things to ponder:

Frost is possible when it is clear enough to see the stars. Remember to leave frost-damaged foliage until danger of frost has passed. Prune later if needed.

Remove fallen camellia blooms promptly to prevent petal blight on next year’s flowers.

Source: Adapted from “A Gardener’s Companion for the Central San Joaquin Valley,” 3rd edition, currently available from Fresno County Master Gardeners for $30. Gardening Questions answered at (559) 241-7534. Judy Parker, Fresno County Master Gardener.

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