WHAT TO DO IN FEBRUARY Doug Niemeyer
I bet you've had your fill of snow and cold, February is the perfect time to begin planning and preparing for your spring garden.
Plan now for the vegetable garden, and order the needed seeds. Try some novelties like: oriental vegetables, kohlrabi, purple cauliflower, or purple beans.
Toward the end of the month, if the weather really changes and warms up, remove mulch from the areas where you intend to plant early crops so the soil has some time to warm up and dry out. If the ground is not too wet, spread manure on the garden in preparation for tilling in the spring.
Weather permitting near the end of the month, which is very hard to even imagine right now, rake away any accumulated debris of old leaves from under trees, hedges, and on the lawn. If left in place, they could cause roots to suffocate and breed disease.
Check perennials for signs of heaving. Heaving happens when the frost is coming up out of the ground and it pushes those bulbs and root crowns that are closer to the surface out of the ground somewhat. Press exposed crowns back into the soil and cover with an inch or two of soil and mulch.
Cut bagworm cases off evergreen trees and shrubs now to quell feeding injury later.
Check regularly all bulbs that are being stored over winter (dahlia, glads, canna, etc.). Remove any that are decaying.
Remove sprouts on tuberous begonias.
Prune back geraniums growing indoors in preparation for repotting next month. Be careful not to over water them.
If you are sowing your own annuals under the lights like pansy, delphinium, impatiens, petunias, snapdragons, periwinkle, lobelia, coleus, browallia, and verbena, be sure to get potting soil and planting trays. When March comes you will be ready to begin planting your seedlings into the trays.
If there is a warm spell in this month be sure to water all evergreens, especially those in the Rhododendron and azalea family. When the air is warm the plant will call for moisture, but many times the ground is still frozen and the roots are unable to fill the request. This will cause the leaves to dry out and die.
February is a good month to prune most fruit trees, bushes, and vines. Prune trees for shape and to remove dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Be careful not to prune off fruit producing spurs. Do not prune peach or apricot trees until just prior to bud swell.
Prune grape vines also this month.
Dormant oil sprays should be applied on a 40-degree day to smother any over wintering insects and eggs. Make sure rodent and deer barriers are intact.
Tapping maple trees will also begin sometime this month.
Wash or shower the foliage at the kitchen sink weekly to keep them healthy and beautiful. In doing so bugs are also washed down the drain.
Keep cactus plants in a bright sunny window. Avoid over watering and over fertilizing and beware of poor pot drainage. Both encourage diseases.
Peperomias should be watered sparingly or they will rot at the soil line.
When rubber plants lose an excessive number of leaves, it is a sign of too much water or not enough light. Spathiphyllum leaves will turn yellow at the tips when there is a lack of fertilizer or improper watering.
If African violet leaves touch the rim of the pot they often rot and fall off. Coat the rim with paraffin or foil.
Swedish ivy stems will become woody if plant is being over fed. Norfolk Island Pine tolerates low humidity and indirect light but prefers a cool spot.
If you have questions NiemeyerLandscaping@gmail.com A You Tube enhanced version of this article is on our WEB site at www.NiemeyerLandscaping.com. along with a daily gardening Blog with timely information. Also, like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping.