February Gardening Thoughts and Tips

February is finally here.  Sure, we are still in winter and will have some cold days and maybe some more snow days.  But, on the nice days, there are plenty of outdoor chores to get done this month.

Hold off on pruning your shrubs just because they look bad.  A lot of our evergreens, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias are showing signs of leaf burn.  Pruning spring blooming evergreens now will be cutting off flower buds.

Here are just a few thoughts and tips for February:

  1.  GET YOUR SOIL TESTED  –  Soil test kits can be picked up at any of the Chesterfield County Libraries.  Or, come by and see me because I have some to give to you.  Follow the simple procedures with collecting soil.  And, mail off to Virginia Tech.  Your results will be mailed to you directly from the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory.   I can’t stress enough the value of knowing your soil.
  2. Rejuvenate liriope, “monkey grass,” by cutting back the old foliage.  You can use a lawn mower, a weed eater, or a pair of scissors.  JUST AVOID INJURY TO THE CROWN (the middle) FROM WHICH NEW GROWTH WILL APPEAR.
  3. Continue feeding our feathered friends.  You want to keep them around to help with insect control when we warm up.
  4. February is the month you want to prune fruit trees and grape vines now that the worst of the winter cold (we hope) is passed.  This chore needs to be done before spring growth begins.
  5. February is a good month to apply a dormant oil spray, such as Bonide’s All Season Horticultural Oil, to fruit trees and ornamental trees and shrubs.  Dormant oil spray is a safe way of controlling and killing overwintering eggs and insects before they emerge for spring.  CAUTION:  DORMANT OIL NEEDS TO BE APPLIED WHEN TEMPERATURES ARE ABOVE 40 DEGREES, AND THERE IS NO DANGER OF FREEZING.
  6. Now is the time to prune back roses.
  7. Mid to late February is a good time to apply a crabgrass pre-emergent to your lawn.  You want to get this product down before our forsythia shrubs bloom.
  8. February is a good month to plant pansies for late winter and early spring color.  These cool-season annuals will put out continuous color from now and until late spring.

As you can see, February can be active with getting many gardening chores completed.  Enjoy taking advantage of warm days in February and get outside.


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