GARDEN TIME with DOUG – February Gardening Checklist


Now that January has passed we are getting closer to spring. The first day of Spring is Wednesday, March 20, which is only 48 days away. I have no real complaints about winter so far this year.  We have had a more traditional winter with our highs and lows being closer to normal.  Let’s hope this trend continues.  February can be a transitional month from being cold and dreary to having warmer days that we see some shrubs, trees, and perennials beginning to come out of dormancy.

Because spring is here in less than 50 days, there are a few gardening chores that should be done during the month of February:

  1. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to cut back your liriope “monkey grass” to the ground.
  2. Toward the end of February, in Central Virginia, be sure to apply a crabgrass pre-emergence to your lawn.  This pre-emergence will keep crabgrass seed from germinating and growing.
  3. Don’t forget to pinch back and feed your winter pansies in February.  By doing so, you will encourage branching and more bud formation which will lead to more beautiful flowers as we get into March and April.
  4. It is now time to cut back your ornamental grasses.  Yes, I encourage waiting until now because of the winter interest they provide.  But, it’s time to get ornamental grasses ready for the upcoming growing season.  And, this is a good time to feed them.
  5. February can be viewed as a pruning month.  Now is the time to trim back roses and fruit trees.
  6. Don’t forget the birds.  Don’t stop feeding our feathered friends.  They are dependent on our providing food for them in February.
  7. February is a good month to repair and paint window boxes, lawn furniture, and other items in preparation for outdoor gardening and recreational use.
  8. Now is a good time to make labels for your spring garden.  One label trend is to use broken clay shards with permanent ink marker to write on them.  Clay shards give a very natural , unique look to markers sitting in your garden.
  9. Let’s be sure to get outside on the warm, sunny days in February.  Things in the garden and landscape are beginning to change.  Spring bulbs are beginning to pop through the ground.  Birds are more active.
  10. If you like to grow your own vegetables from seed, February is a good month to start your cole crop vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, collards, kale, cabbage, etc. because they love to grow in the ground in March when our soil temperature is still cool and the air temperature is still cool.


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9 thoughts on “GARDEN TIME with DOUG – February Gardening Checklist”

  1. Doug,
    I am going to plant 2 feet tall hedge this spring. What kind of
    fertilizer should I use as a starter? Should we treat the yard for grubs now?
    Thank you

    • Linda,
      I am glad you took time to send me this question. I understand you’re confusion. Last frost is referencing late last year that helped send our plants into a dormant state. Now is the time to trim roses while they are still in this dormant state (no new growth or leaves). Thank you, Doug

    • Richard,
      Good question. Now is the time to fertilize ornamental grasses. I presume you have now cut them back to the ground to get ready for the upcoming growing season. there are many very good fertilizers on the market. The point to stress here is to be sure to use the fertilizer according to the directions. In my opinion, I love using the Espoma line of fertilizers. I recommend using the Espoma Plant Tone. Let me know if you have any further questions. Doug

    • Jim, Good timely question. Now is a very good time to divide ornamental grasses – while they are still dormant. When you re-plant consider adding some Espoma Bio-Tone inside the hole. Bio-Tone is a root stimulator so you sprinkle Bio-Tone down inside the hole so that the root structure of the plant comes in immediate contact with this product. Let me know if you have any further questions. Doug

  2. I have a nandina hedge that I want to trim down a couple feet. It is full at the top and bottom but leggy in between. When is the best time to trim them so they fill out in the leggy part and can be kept lower?

  3. Hi Doug,
    When do you recommend dividing ferns, when they are still dormant or when they start showing new growth?/

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