Gardening in February

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

February is celebrated as “Love Month,” and roses are a frequent expression of LOVE to that special someone. So, perhaps this is a good time to discuss ROSES in the landscape. February is an ideal month for planting or transplanting roses.

Plant rose bushes in well prepared beds with good drainage and plenty of sun. The top of the root ball should be level with the soil of the bed. They generally do better with good air circulation. When they are used in mixed plantings, nearby shrubs, vines, and even large perennials should not be allowed to crowd the rose bushes. Trim or snip back shoots or branches from nearby plants that are growing into the roses’ space.

It is unlikely that established roses will need to be watered very much this month; just be sure to maintain a moist soil. Note: newly planted roses should be watered thoroughly.

February is the ideal time to prune and fertilize established roses. If they have “black-spot,” collect and dispose of the leaves as they yellow and fall. This practice should be continued throughout the growing season.

PERENNIALS: It’s time to gear up for major planting. Admittedly, fall is the more ideal time for planting perennials for those spring and summer bloomers, but if you missed that window, plant them now.

Cool, moist weather usually means little watering will need to be done. However, it is important to check the soil frequently, whether in the landscape or in pots. Water as needed to keep the soil moist.

Remove old, dead growth as soon as possible. It will become increasingly difficult to remove dead stalks without damaging the new growth as it grows taller.

COLOR PLANTS: If you haven’t fertilized your Annual Flowering Plants since planting them several months ago, you might need to do so now. Peak flowering on cool-season bedding plants generally occurs in March and April, so let’s give them a boost. Encouraging strong, robust growth now is important, especially if the plants do not appear vigorous.

Pansies are especially heavy users of nitrogen, so keep a close watch on them, and supplement as needed. If you live in “town,” pansies can add brilliant color to the garden. However, those who live in the “country” may have a challenge with deer including “Pansy Salad” in their daily meal plan!

TURF GRASS: Overseeded lawns are a rich emerald green and provide a beautiful setting for the spring flowers beginning to bloom. Continue to mow overseeded lawns on a weekly basis. Rye grass falls over, matts, and looks unattractive if allowed to grow too tall.

SHRUBS: Winter is an excellent time to apply horticultural oil sprays to shrubs that are prone to scale. These include Camellias, Hollies, Magnolias, Euonymus, Privets, and Cleyera. Spray Gardenias with oil for whiteflies.

TREES: We are approaching the end of the ideal planting season for trees, especially those that are “balled-and-burlapped.” However, “container-grown” trees may be successfully planted now and for the next few months.

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