The fickle days of February bring sunshine and frost. It’s getting time for spring. Not only for dreaming and planning, but for actually planting and preparing for a new season.
1. Planting – Plant major trees and shrubs now. A late winter planting will allow the plants to become established prior to spring growth, and more important prior to summer heat. The dormant plants are better adapted and assure better livability .
2. Bare-root P1ants – demand a winter or February planting. They are a better buy at the nursery, but must be established while they are dormant or prior to spring growth. Plant bare root fruit trees, pecan, roses, ornamental peach, pear, plum and other selected plants such as crepe myrtle, etc.
3. Roses – There are numerous varieties and several types to choose from, miniatures to climbing or pillar roses. Now’s the time to plant. Select healthy plants with 4 to 5 canes. Locate roses in a well prepared soil in sun – full morning, noonday sun, protected from hot afternoon sun is best. Plan to start a spray program to control aphids and blackspot diseases once foliage appears.
4. Transplanting – should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Replant plants at their normal ·growing depth. Prune back to compensate for loss of root. Winter pruning of evergreens and summer-flowering plants should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Do not prune spring flowering plants, as you will remove potential spring flowers. Try not to destroy the natural form of the plant. Know that pruning promotes more growth, thus the more you prune, the more the plant grows. Prune spring flowering plants immediately after their peak of bloom.
5. Winter pruning of evergreens and summer-flowering plants should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Do not prune spring flowering plants, as you will remove potential spring flowers. Try not to destroy the natural form of the plant. Know that pruning promotes more growth, thus the more you prune, the more the plant grows. Prune spring flowering plants immediately after their peak of bloom.
6. Vegetables – get ready for the early “cool season” crops such as lettuce, radish, carrots, cabbage, turnips, onions, Irish potato, spinach, beets, etc. Vegetables demand a well prepared soft in full sun. Select recommended varieties for our area. Summer Vegetables – be patient. Don’t be in a hurry to plant tomato, peppers, squash, egg plant, etc. These plants demand warm days and warm soils to grow and are susceptible to late freeze and frost.
7. Plant Cool season annuals such as balsam, calendula, hollyhock, cone flower, poppies, annual phlox, larkspur and nasturtium.
8. Plant summer bulbs such as gladiolus and dahlia. Both like full sun in well prepared soils.
9. Be prepared to transplant perennial such as daylilies, cannas, mums and summer phlox once new spring growth appears.
10. Prepare garden beds. Turn soil now in anticipation of spring planting. Add generous amounts of peat moss, leaf mold, compost, bark, or rotted and aged manures. Plan to apply organic materials to existing clay and/or sand to insure good drainage, aeration, and water-holding abilities – a good soil is the key to good plant production.
11. Clean lawns now in anticipation of spring growth. Rake to remove as much dead thatch as possible, to aerate and allow for good water penetration. Plan to feed lawns in early April and to plant new lawn grasses in late April into May.
12. Clean garden beds. Cut back the dead of winter. Rake clean and lightly work soils around existing plants.
13. Winter damage, don’t be too quick to remove damaged plants. Scratch bark and stems if they remain green, there is hope. Prune back to encourage new spring growth.
14. Make cuttings of English Ivy. Transplant runners and cuttings now prior to new spring growth. English Ivy demands morning sun or full shade in a moist, yet well drained soil.
15. Houseplants. Keep on hold, now until late March, when the spring season allows for moving outdoors for repotting and pruning back for new spring growth. Hold back on feeding until spring.
16. Apply emergence herbicides to kill weed seed prior to germination and before greening of lawns.
17. Plan before planting. Choose new plantings with a purpose and plan in mind. Choose the best plant to satisfy a given landscape need. Know the plant you choose – its demands, its character and ultimate size and plan accordingly. Don’t over plant.