Don't be caught off guard this month with Mother Nature sending us a few blossoms, winter is not over yet! Following are some gardening tips for February:
- Deciduous shrubs and trees are still dormant enough to transplant this month, once the buds have begun to swell, I would recommend waiting until fall. Plant new roses, or move old roses soon after February 15.
- Mid to late February is a good time to fertilize trees, shrubs and evergreens. Use an acid type fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Use an all_purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use dry type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly.
- You can prune evergreens for size and shape. Prune hydrangeas during the last week of the month. Avoid pruning flowering shrubs such as forsythia, quince, spirea, azalea and other early spring flowering shrubs since they have already produced their buds last fall, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. After pruning, dispose of clippings to prevent disease or insect spread.
- Spring blooming shrubs can be forced to bloom indoors by cutting stems when buds begin to swell and placed in water indoors. Warmer temperatures will stimulate blooming. Place sprays of forsythia, flowering quince, pussy willow or fruit trees in a vase in a sunny window.
- Perennials, annuals, and bulbs
- If exceptionally cold weather is forecast, provide protection to early flowering or tender plants by covering them with some type of cloth material. Remove the covering as soon as the weather moderates again.
- Plan your summer flower garden and peruse books, magazines, and catalogs for ideas and inspiration.
- Plant cold weather annuals Nasturtiums, Pansies, Violas, Snapdragons, English Daisies, Sweet William, Gazanias, and Calendulas.
- Deciduous vines such as honeysuckle can be easily pruned and shaped.
- Most perennials may be divided and moved up until they begin to show new growth.
- If you plan to grow your own annuals such as ageratum, verbena, petunia, vinca, or other slowing plants, the seeds should be started indoors this month.
- Fruits and veggies
- Rhubarb, horseradish, asparagus and artichokes can be planted this month.
- Start cold weather vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, onion sets, English peas, kale, carrots, collards, beets, radishes, kohlrabi, and Chinese cabbage in cold frames.
- Like your flower garden, plan your vegetable and try growing some new things.
- Start seeds of herbs indoors for transplant outdoors.
- Grapes must be pruned by Valentines day to prevent sap 'bleeding'.
- Strawberries can be planted as soon as they become available.
- Cane fruits (raspberries and blackberries), with the exception of everbearers should have all the canes which produced fruit last year removed.
- If you grow currants, remove all trunks which are over 3 years old.
- The vegetable garden should get its first tilling (if weather permits) to allow the weather to aid you in breaking up the dirt clods.
- Lawn care
- February through April is an ideal time to apply a combination of slow-release fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass control to your lawn. Apply this combination before dandelions reach the puff-ball stage. Be sure to follow label directions.
- Indoor house plants
- House plants may notice the longer days, and begin growing. You can begin feeding them again, but use a dilute 50% fertilizer mix until the growth is robust.
- Consider purchasing and forcing indoor flowering bulbs such as paper whites or amarylis which many garden centers are currently selling.
- If you haven’t given your plants a warm shower lately to rinse off foliage dust and dirt and flush excess fertilizer salts from their roots, now would be a good time.
- Check your gardening tools for rust. Clean rust from spades and hoes. Prevent future rust by coating tool heads with mineral oil or used motor oil.
- Inspect your pruning saws, clippers, and shovels and sharpen if needed.