February Garden To-Do List
Much of your attention should be directed at pruning and at caring for fruit trees and roses.
Shelter tender plants with row covers when temperatures take a dip.
Sow seeds for cool-season vegetables such as lettuce.
Unlike in colder regions, February is your deadline to prune shrubs that bloom on new growth: Soon, they will no longer be dormant.
Spray dormant oil on roses and apple trees as a precaution against pests and fungal diseases before the weather truly heats up and they put on significant growth.
Prune fruit trees
Prune apple and pear trees now – but postpone peach pruning until mid-March.
Redesign your lawn
Redesign your lawn for easier mowing. Eliminate sharp angles and narrow turf areas. Use mulch, new flower beds or a ground cover like mondo grass there instead.
Water winter plants
Water poinsettia, Christmas cactus and amaryllis plants with houseplant fertilizer diluted to one-half strength. Don’t overwater!
Test your soil
How much fertilizer or lime does your lawn or garden really need? The only way to know for sure is to call your county Extension office (1-800-ASKUGA-1) and get a soil test kit.
Prune one-fourth of the branches from your overgrown fig bush. Removing any more will reduce the number of fruit this summer. Concentrate on saving the horizontal ones.
Remove tree supports
Remove guy wires, stakes and trunk wraps from small trees you planted last fall.
Prune ornamental grasses
The brown foliage on pampas grass and maiden grass can be pruned away now. Leave only a “crew cut” of brown stems twelve inches high.
Plant sweet pea
Plant sweet pea now for fragrant flowers later. Plant English peas, onions, asparagus or elephant garlic for your spring vegetable garden.
Prune your shrubs
Overgrown Burford holly shrubs can be pruned severely now. Even if it is reduced to twelve inches tall, this shrub will resprout plenty of new foliage by summer.
Plant a container garden
Plant a large container for your patio. A small boxwood surrounded by variegated ivy and blooming pansies would look very nice!
Plant daphne shrubs
Plant a winter daphne (Daphne odorum) near your home’s entrance or front walkway. The scent will greet you each day when you arrive at your abode this spring.
Clean your bird boxes
Clean out bird boxes so they will be ready to welcome new residents in a few weeks.
Build raised beds
Build raised beds for vegetables, roses and herbs. It’s easy to do with four pieces of 2×8 wood planks. Choose lengths that fit your space; bolt them together at the corners.
Prune your butterfly bush
Reduce the size of your butterfly bush by two thirds to one half to encourage new growth (and big blooms) this summer.
Fertilize your fescue
Time for the first fertilization of fescue for the year. Any brand of turf fertilizer will work well. Next application: April.
Clean up your monkey grass
Set your mower to its highest setting and cut off the tattered leaves of liriope (monkey grass). They will quickly regrow in March.