FEBRUARY: ONE MONTH CLOSER TO SPRING!!
February can be a transitional month for gardeners to take advantage of when wanting to get outside and do some gardening chores. February can be a cold and dreary month. On the other hand, February can give us some long stretches of warm weather to enjoy.
Speaking of spring—spring starts Sunday, March 20 at 11:33 am. This means that, with 28 days in February, spring will be here in 48 days if I did my math correctly. Very exciting times lie ahead.
Speaking of weather—those of you who like true wintry conditions must sure like what Mother Nature gave us in January. I grew up in Ohio near Lake Erie and, as of January 20th, we have had more snow and cold days in Central Virginia than my family has experienced so far from Ohio. We got some much-needed soaking rain the first few days of January, especially with such a mild start to winter where we were close to setting new records high temperatures. Even the snow on January 3rd was a welcome relief for our plants. This snow slowly melted into the ground. One major positive to a cold January is that our plants are very dormant still. You may recall in past years with a warmer January that some plants began to bud and grow—including our daffodil bulbs.
HERE ARE A FEW GARDENING CHORES THAT SHOULD BE DONE DURING THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY
- February is a good month to take advantage of nice, warm, sunny days and take a stroll around all your gardens and enjoy and peace and harmony of being outside with nature.
- February is a good month to inspect all your gardening tools: pruners, scissors, shovels, trowels, etc. to clean and sharpen for the upcoming spring demands.
- Now is a good time to cut back your ornamental grasses, such as Miscanthus, Pampas Grass. Muhly Grass, and others. Cut your ornamental grasses as close to ground level as possible.
- Liriope “Monkey Grass” leaves can be cut off now. Trim off the blades of grass toward the center of the plant.
- February can be viewed as a pruning month. Now is a good time to prune SUMMER flowering shrubs—NOT SPRING BLOOMERS! Spring bloom plants, like azaleas, Mop Head Hydrangeas, and others have already formed their flower buds for spring color. Pruning now will result in the loss of flowers. But, some shrubs can be pruned in February such as Abelia, Cotoneaster, Crape Myrtle, Gardenia, Rose of Sharon, roses, Buddleia because these plants are all summer bloomers.
- Speaking of being dormant, this would be a good time to spray your fruit trees with a dormant oil spray, such as BONIDE ALL SEASONS HORTICULTURAL SPRAY OIL. The dormant oil spray is very effective in controlling insects that are harboring on the trunk and limbs. The oil will coat and suffocate the pest. Just keep in mind to read the label on this product. It will state that you want to spray on days that the temperature is above 40 degrees.
- Before the end of the month, you will want to apply a crabgrass pre-emergent. This product will keep the annual crabgrass seed from germinating, thus being a very effective product to reduce the growth of crabgrass in your lawn.
- If you had a problem with Japanese Beetles last summer, then a white grub worm control should be applied in February. The grub worm will be surfacing as we begin to warm. Milky Spore is an excellent product to consider applying for control.
- If you are thinking about vegetable gardening, the end of February is when you can start to plant the cool-season vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, collards, and more.
- Now is a good time to make plant markers, such as your vegetables. One popular label trend is to use broken clay shards with permanent ink markers to write on the shards. Clay shards give a very natural, unique look to markers sitting in your garden.
As you can see from the above list of chores that gardening is ratcheting up. It’s a wonderful time of year.
Let’s make 2022 a HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!