February Garden Tasks: Prune. Weed. Water.

Prune. Weed. Water.

  • Finish pruning roses, wisteria and other dormant plants like hydrangea and flowering plum trees.  Do it now!  
  • Prune back shrubby perennials like artemisia, salvia and butterfly bush...this encourages new growth.  Typically you can cut back hard, especially if plant has a lot of growth on the bottom few inches.  This indicates a plant that can regenerate itself easily.
  • Lavender, penstemon, lavatera and marguerite can be sheared back but do not cut back into woody or bare stems.  Use hedge shears to make job easier.  Do not remove more than half of plant and cut into a round shape.
  • Japanese and laceleaf maples  Pruning can start now and into March.  Look for swelling buds.  If you make a cut and the tree starts to bleed...stop and wait for a week or two.
  • Do not prune frost damage until March.  
  • Frost watch  If frost is predicted, water frost-sensitive plants like citrus and Bougainvillea.  If plants are not in a protected spot, young and/or have suffered frost damage before think about covering with a frost blanket, old sheet, burlap or paper.  It’s best if the material doesn’t touch leaves by propping it up with stakes.  Remove cover during the day.  Or try a string of electric lights (non-LED)- it will look festive and keep the plant warm.
  • Harvest citrus when ripe.
  • Purchase bare-root plants like fruit trees, strawberries and roses from nurseries.  Bare-root form is less expensive than in a pot.  Get them into ground asap.
  • Weed  Pull up weeds before they flower and set seed.  Remember, weeds are the most successful plants in the world!  They go through the reproductive phase quickly so pull them now!
  • Pick up old camellia flowers off the ground to prevent disease.

Vegetable and Fruit Garden

  • Prune fruit trees, cane berries and grapes.  Prune for light and air circulation...important for fruit ripening and disease prevention.  Also can make large, structural cuts now if needed.  Clean up carefully under the plant.  Under fruit trees add a thin layer of earthworm castings to prevent scale, thrips and codling moth.  This works for Rhododendrons and Azaleas too.
  • Set out seed potatoes...garden-fresh potatoes are a beautiful thing!
  • Start tomato seeds indoors...I don’t but I admire those who do!

Read more of Angele's gardening and landscaping tips in the Patch Archives.

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