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New Year, New Plants

In the South, woody plants and evergreens go into dormancy, except for the roots which retain some cellular activity and growth. That makes the month of January the perfect time to plant.

Every state, commonwealth and territory has an Arbor Day. When I arrived in Texas as the local regional community forester, I was intrigued by the concept of Texas’s state Arbor Day being the third Friday in January. The fact of the matter is that with the exception of turf grass and palms, January is one of the best times to plant in Texas.

In the South, woody plants and evergreens go into dormancy, except for the roots which retain some cellular activity and growth. The month of January is an excellent time to plant since photosynthesis is not occurring and there’s no need for water. Of course, enough moisture does exist in the soil to maintain the root growth needed to quickly establish the plant before summer.

Temperatures are not an issue since the main concern for plant establishment and root growth is soil temperature and that seldom goes below 32 degrees. If you can dig into it, then you can plant in it.

After planting, follow our 3-2-1 watering program to establish the plants quickly without wasting water.

Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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