February is the time to do an inspection and planning of your yards. Here are some pointers what to look for and do now.
Perennials may heave up out of the ground as temperatures warm up. If so gently firm roots back into the ground and surround the plant with additional mulch.
Check all protective mulches around trees and flower bed. High winds this winter without snow cover probably disturbed the mulch exposing plants to winter injury. Move mulch back in place and firm down. Remember not to cover crowns of perennials, this causes disease problems. Do not place mulch directly against trees and shrubs, leave at least a 3-inch gap. Mulch placed against the base of your landscape plants can cause the bark to rot as the temperatures warm up and the mulch begins to break down. Our garden center has a good selection of mulch in stock if mulching is necessary.
Storm damaged branches should be pruned immediately to prevent bark from tearing causing further damage.
Most deciduous trees should be pruned while still dormant in February and March after severe weather passes. Pruning oak and elms trees later in the season can encourage insects that carry diseases. Maples and birches will leak sap if pruned in spring. Branch structure is easily viewed on trees without leaves making it easier to prune correctly.
Dormant oil and Lime/Sulfur oil can be sprayed on deciduous trees in early February to control insects and fungal infections. Ideally weather temperatures should remain over 50 degrees F for at least 24 hours so the oil can spread evenly. Note: DO NOT SPRAY EVERGREENS, these products can cause tissue damage. READ AND FOLLOW ALL PRECAUTIONS ON PRODUCT’S LABEL.
Start seeding slow growing plants indoors such as impatiens, vinca, pansies, begonias, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and leeks. See Garden Rx for seed starting tips.
Flowering branches can be pruned and brought inside for forcing. Some trees and shrubs that will force and flower easily inside are: crabapples, forsythias, pussy willows and serviceberries. Keep cuttings in a cool room in fresh water. The flowering branches will brighten your home with spring color!
February is ‘NATIONAL FEED THE BIRDS MONTH’. Help them out and furnish them some seed, suet and water this winter. Place feeders near you flower and veggie gardens. Remember most birds feed on insects.