February To Do List
February To Do List:
- Add a pop of colour to your containers or flower beds with potted spring bulbs, winter heather, primulas and pansies.
- Hamamelis (Witch Hazel), Sarcococca (Sweetbox) and Camellias are in bloom and make lovely additions to any garden.
- Apply lime sulphur and dormant oil spray to fruit trees and roses to combat over-wintering insects and diseases.
- Apply lime to lawns to help to discourage moss growth.
- Clean up garden debris and branches.
- Clean, oil and sharpen pruners and garden tools.
Remove any dead or diseased branches, open up the interior of shrubs by removing any criss-crossing or inward growing branches that will inhibit air circulation. Continue to improve shape by cutting back any desired branches to above a nice, strong bud. Generally it is a good rule not to remove more than a 1/3 of the plant in any one prune for best results.
*Wait to prune roses when the forsythia has bloomed.
If they were not already removed, this is the time to remove last year’s fruiting canes of summer bearing raspberries. These are easy to spot, as they are normally a pale brown colour compared to the brighter brown of the new canes. Tie the strongest of the new canes to a support structure for summer fruiting. Fall bearing raspberries should be cut completely down to ground level.
Gooseberries, Currants and Blueberries:
Older plants benefit from some rejuvenation pruning by removing 1 or 2 of the oldest branches as close to the ground as possible. Also remove any really low branches that are touching the ground to discourage access from pests.
can be pruned of their old foliage now. Herbaceous grasses should be pruned towards the end of February.
Evergreen and semi-evergreen perennials
can be cut down to above new growth. Be very careful with lavender and other woody types to make sure there is some sign of new growth (buds) beneath your cut.
Lenten Rose or Hellebores orientalis
should have last years leaves removed for aesthetics and to improve show of buds and blooms.
Summer blooming or type ‘C’ Clematis should be cut down to above the 2nd or 3rd strongest set of buds from the ground (approx. 1 ft.)
Honeysuckle and Wisteria
will also benefit from a pruning to above the 3rd strongest buds one each branch.
After pruning and fertilizing with an all-purpose granular fertilizer such as 6-8-6 and mulching with a good organic compost such as Sea Soil or well composted manure is recommended.
Garlic can be planted.
When the forsythia is blooming
is also a good indication it is time to plant out peas, broad beans and radish. Sometimes this means February but usually this happens in March.
As the days are getting longer most houseplants are waking up from their winter sleep. Early February is a good time to transplant any requiring it. Generally you should not move them up in size to a pot more than 1.5-2” larger than what they were in. Plants like Christmas Cactus and Clivia actually bloom best when root bound so it is not advisable to repot these often. If the plant is too large to re-pot it will benefit from a fresh layer of potting soil to its surface and regular fertilizing.
Over-wintered annuals such as fuchsias and geraniums:
If you successfully overwintered these in your garage, cool basement or greenhouse it is time to look for signs of new growth along the stems. You should now fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer and prune back to above some of the new stem growth. Afterwards move it into an area where it will receive adequate light but is still protected from frost.