Sunday, April 22, 2018
Home and Garden

January gardening chores for Tampa Bay area

Getting rid of snails: Night dampness brings out snails and slugs. An alternative to traditional baits is diatomaceous earth. This powder contains tiny sharp projectiles that will puncture the snails and slugs. Sprinkle lightly around plants. This will not harm beneficial insects or pets. Another alternative is iron phosphate bait, which also has the advantage of being safe for use around domestic animals and wildlife.

Time to prune roses: Roses should be pruned once each year during January or February in our area. This major yearly pruning consists of removing some healthy growth and all of the dead, injured, diseased or unsightly branches. Leave at least half the length of each main cane that is 1 to 3 years old. The rose bush should bloom again in eight to nine weeks. Pruning cuts should be made just above an outward facing dormant bud. Be sure to clean up clippings from around your plants after pruning to help prevent the spread of disease. Apply a layer of fresh mulch, keeping it 2 to 3 inches away from the base of the plant.

Plant bulbs now: Bulbs are nice additions to the landscape, and now is the time to plant. Here are some you may want to try: agapanthus, amaryllis, caladium, crinum lily, gloriosa lily and zephyr lily. Work in a generous amount (25 pounds per 100 square feet) of organic matter such as compost, cow manure, sphagnum peat or other types of peat moss. Bulbs planted in large masses produce the best color display. If you had amaryllis in bloom for the holidays, these bulbs can be planted outside and will live and bloom for many years. For information on choosing, planting and caring for bulbs, access Bulbs for Florida at

Citrus spray schedule: January is often referred to as an optional month when spraying citrus trees. Several citrus pests and nutritional deficiencies may need correcting before they cause extensive damage. Spray neutral copper for citrus scab and a light horticultural oil for scales, whitefly and mites. Micronutrients can be sprayed at the same time or added to the soil under the drip line of the tree. Micronutrients will be absorbed through the leaves and can correct the problem much faster than fertilizer added to the soil. Read and follow label directions for the correct amount.

Source: Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. Learn more at or