By Nell Reed

Oklahoma County Extension Master Gardener

Oklahoma City’s coldest month is January when the average temperature overnight is 26.2 degrees F. Despite cold weather there are still landscape tasks that need to be and others such as getting your tools cleaned and repaired that will prepare you for working outside when warm days come. Looking at plant catalogues and thinking back on your gardening successes and failures are good ways to prepare for the new year.

Trees and shrubs

If precipitation has been deficient—1 inch of snow equals one-tenth of an inch of water—water lawns, trees and shrubs, especially broadleaf and narrowleaf evergreens. Double check moisture in protected or raised planters.

Newly-planted (within the last year) trees and shrubs should be watered periodically if there hasn’t been much rain since they will not have as good a root system as established trees and shrubs.

Pest and weed management

Check on supplies of pesticides. Secure a copy of current recommendations and post them in a convenient place. Dilution and quantity tables are also useful. Check for expiration dates on garden chemicals.

If you did not treat young pines for tip borers in November, do so before March.

Control overwintering insects on deciduous trees or shrubs with dormant oil sprays applies when the temperature is above 40°F in late fall and winter. Do not use “dormant” oils on evergreens.

Tools and equipment

Check that gardening tools and equipment are in good repair.

Shovels, rakes and hoes can be cleaned using a wire brush and soapy water and then dried. If they are dull sharpen them. Rust spots can be removed with sandpaper. They can be hung on a rack in the garage or a shed or stored in a five-gallon bucket of dry sand or sand mixed with oil.

For pruners and clippers, check for rust and remove as needed. If they have some small nicks these can be removed with a fine file. Use a whetstone to sharpen.


Shade grass should be watered as needed during the winter. (Fact Sheet HLA-6420)

A product containing glyphosate plus a postemergent broadleaf herbicide can be used on dormant Bermuda in January or February when temperatures are above 50° degrees F for winter weed control.

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