Review your notes on last year's garden to plan for 2020. Update your garden journal with your plans for the new gardening year.
Order trees and shrubs for February and March planting.
Order seeds for annuals and vegetables and check catalogues and website for perennials.
Pruning and Cleaning Up
You can prune arborvitae, juniper, yews, cedar, false cedar, holly, leyland cypress, magnolia, live oak.
You can do some pruning now for a good reason like removing elongated shoots, removing dead and diseased wood, to encourage fullness on a leggy plant, and to encourage flowering. Prune beautyberry, bayberry, camelia susanqua, crape myrtles, rose of sharon, nandina, sumac, wisteria and most deciduous trees. Hold off on pruning spring flowering trees which are trimmed after they bloom. Don't trim maples and birches which are pruned in August. now through February - abelia, privet, smoke tree, sumac and all evergreen trees and shrubs
Fertilize and Mulch
Pine needles, rotted sawdust, straw, and leaves make great mulch - about 2" to 4" after the ground freezes.
Mulching flowerbeds improves soil texture
This is a good time to clean, repair and sharpen tools.
If snowy weather arrives, remove snow from overweighted branches by tapping upward with a broom.
Update your garden journal, or, if you haven't started a garden journal, start one. Record what and where you will plant. Keep a record of the weather. Take pictures. Sketch out your garden plan. Write down the seeds and bulbs you ordered.
A new unfriendly critter, the "kissing bug, " about the size of a penny and with a needle like mouthpart under a cone shaped head, has been located in Virginia and carries Chagas disease so keep an eye out for the bug but don't touch it or let it in the house. Here's a link to more information onKissing Bug.
Keep your tools clean
Protect your skin from sun, dirt, bugs, and poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac
Beware of Giant Hogweed - It looks like a giant Queen Anne's Lace as it grows. It is highly toxic! Do NOT touch, pull, brush against, or weed-whack this plant. Do NOT handle this plant. Do NOT try to remove this plant yourself. Direct contact with this plant sensitizes the skin to the sun and leaves 3rd degree burns. If you see or suspect Giant Hogweed take digital photos of the leaf, stem, and flower and contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. (photo Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft.)