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Strawberry plants are propagated from runners and, in general, distributed as either bare root plants or plugs. Photo: CC0 Public Domain
Strawberry plants are propagated from runners and, in general, distributed as either bare root plants or plugs. Photo: CC0 Public Domain

January is Peak
Bare Root season

Dec 26, 2019
by Roger Raiche David McCrory, Planet Horticulture

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New Year, new Opportunities. Well we’ve passed around another planetary cycle in our lives and face a new season. A good time to stand back, reflect on where we’ve been, and where we want to head. The same holds true for our gardens, landscapes and the land around us.

Winter in our area is a forgiving season, the ground is moist, the air cool and the days short. While the main challenge in gardening is finding enough daylight hours, it feels good to be part of a renewing cycle of life. Even on those cold drizzly days, I like to notice the subtle changes in the plants around me – new blades and shoots, refreshed, clean foliage on the evergreens and ferns, and the like. Perfect season for getting new plants in, dividing those we like and spreading or sharing them and editing those that we don’t like. 

As mentioned in previous columns, getting the landscape you want requires stepping back and doing big picture analyses. This is the season to move on some of those ideas or insights. If the project is beyond your capacity, there are many talented individuals or companies that can help. 

Getting out into nature is a great way to share in the burgeoning promise of the new year. Expand your appreciation of Sonoma Co by finding a new trail, park, beach or grove to explore. Go with friends and family – everyone notices different things, so the experience is richer with shared perceptions and knowledge.

Winter hikes along the extensive trails around the flanks of Lake Sonoma are beautiful places to explore. Image: google location photo.

One of my favorite winter hikes are along the extensive trails around the flanks of Lake Sonoma, an area managed by the Army Corp. There are so many beautiful places to explore, and the temps are mild and growth seems to be burgeoning all around. The wildflowers tend to be more March and April, but the lush greenness of the meadows and woodlands are perfect at this season, and the small rivulets and seasonal cascades at their best.

For the home garden, January is peak bare root season, so take advantage the range of fruits, trees and flowering shrubs that can be easily planted now – often with good results even the first season. The earlier you get them in, the better established they will be by the dry season.

Planting ahead for the dry season makes it especially important to get those native plants in the ground soon. While many may still need some supplemental irrigation the first season, some may not. Starting with smaller plants also helps get root systems going sooner, but be sure to mulch and/or stake these, as the rapid growth of weeds and grasses in the next few months will often make it hard to remember where they are.

Enjoy the season!

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