Lawn and Garden Tips and Tricks for January


  • Order fruit plants from mail-order companies in January and February for early spring planting. Select recommended, disease resistant varieties when possible and be sure you indicate a desired shipping date. For help with selecting fruit varieties refer to our fact sheets: (PDF) HG 68 “Getting Started with Small Fruits” and (PDF) HG 69 “Getting Started with Tree Fruits”.
  • Fruit plants can be pruned anytime during dormancy, between November and March. However, it is best to wait until late winter so that the full effects of winter weather can be assessed.


  •  Don’t store firewood inside your home. Only bring in enough to burn at one time. Bark and other wood boring beetles may emerge inside the home.
  • Avoid storing pesticides over the winter in sheds and garages. Cold temperatures can cause these materials to become ineffective. If you have questions about the efficacy of your pesticides call the manufacturer, using the phone number listed on the label.


Raccoons (Procyon lotor) can be identified by the dark face mask and ringed tail. Photo courtesy of Bob Gress. IDNR image library and Univ. of Illinois Extension
  • As food becomes scarce during cold weather, skunks, fox, coyotes, opossum, raccoons, and other wildlife will come closer to homes. Remove food sources like pet food and keep trash can lids tightly secured. Keep attic and basement doors closed to keep mice and other critters out of the home. Chimney caps will prevent squirrels and raccoons from coming down the chimney. Read (PDF) HG 90 Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife.
  • The USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services program has a cooperative agreement with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division, to provide the residents of Maryland with information on how to deal with nuisance wild animals. The USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Service operates a toll-free Nuisance Wildlife Information Line, 877-463-6497.

More tips from HGIC

The Home & Garden Information Center’s horticulturists are available year-round to answer your plant and pest questions. In addition to gardening questions, we cover houseplants, indoor pests, and more. Send your questions and photos to Ask an Expert!

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