University of Maryland Extension

January Tips & Tasks

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spotted lanternfly egg mass on tree trunk
Spotted lanternfly egg mass
Photo: Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State University,

Outdoor Yard and Garden Tips

  • Remove and destroy bagworm bags from affected trees especially if seen on evergreens.

  • Do not handle the hairy poison ivy vines wrapped around trees. Be aware that the offending oil of poison ivy, urushiol, is active and can produce symptoms during any time of the year. Be very careful not to bring firewood into the house with poison ivy vines attached.

ice and snow buried shrub
Snow covered shrub

  • Heavy snow and ice loads can damage shrubs. Using an upward motion, gently sweep snow loads off of shrubs to prevent breakage. But oftentimes bent or weighed down branches will spring back after the snow/ice melts.

  • Problem tree branches (hanging very low or storm damaged), may be removed as needed. It is not necessary to wait until spring for this type of pruning.

apples on tree

  • Fireblight damage on apples and pears should be pruned out during the coldest periods in December or January. This will lessen the chance of spreading this bacterial infection.

  • Order fruit plants from mail-order companies in January and February for early spring planting. Refer to our small and tree fruit sections on the website. 

Indoor Plant and Insect Tips

grape ivy houseplant
Grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia)

  • Be careful not to overwater houseplants. Most houseplants should be watered only when the top of the growing medium begins to dry out.

  • Cut back or stop fertilizing houseplants unless they are grown under supplemental lighting.

  • Several species of soft scale insects appear as brown bumps on leaves and stems and can be managed with a light horticultural oil spray labeled for houseplants.

  • Did you receive an amaryllis for the holidays? Keep it in a sunny window. After it is done flowering, the plant will produce leaves and with proper care can rebloom.

  • Indoor herb plants benefit from daily misting and full sun windows.

  • Avoid the temptation to start seeds too early. Check seed packets for detailed information on starting various types of flowers. Do not depend on window sill light to grow these seedlings. Refer to our instructions on starting seeds indoors.

two indian meal moth adults
Indian meal moth

  • Indian meal moths are a common problem of grains and grain products, cereals, bird seeds, dried pet food, etc. You may see adult moths flying, larvae crawling or webbing. Always check bulk foods prior to purchase for signs of meal moth infestation.

  • 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.

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