February Gardening Tips

It’s already mid-February and I’m behind  posting notes on the blog, mainly due to lots of educational programs are going on this month. Here are a few tips for gardening in the month of February.

Planting.  Even though it’s still wintertime, there are many types of plants that can or should be planted at this time of year. Early to mid-February is vegetable planting time for cool season crops including onions, Irish potatoes, radishes, greens, lettuce, spinach, sugar snap peas, carrots, broccoli transplants, beets, Swiss chard and turnips. Early planting assures a good harvest prior to the arrival of summer heat.

Don’t be in a hurry to plant summer vegetables such as tomato, peppers, and squash – the average last winter freeze for the Tyler area is mid-March. A late frost or freeze will result in repeated plantings of frost-sensitive vegetables. Summer vegetables not only require warm air temperatures, but also warm soils to quickly establish and grow vigorously.

February is time to plant many types of shrubs and trees including roses, bare rooted fruit and nut trees, grapes, blueberries and blackberries. Hardy container-grown trees, shrubs and groundcovers can also be planted this month.

Some other gardening items for February include:

  • Prune and fertilize peach trees
  • Check trees and shrubs for scale insects, and treat with horticultural oil if present
  • Prune roses in mid- to late February
  • Prepare beds and garden area for spring planting. Till in several inches of compost, composted pine bark or similar material
  • Sow seeds in flats or containers to get a jump on plant growth before hot weather arrives. Petunias, begonias, and impatiens should be sown in February. Warm temperature plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and periwinkles, should be sown in early February
  • Need to move shrubs or young trees to a new location? Now is the time.
  • Cut back perennials and ornamental grasses before new growth begins
  • Fertilize pansies and other cool season flowers
  • Check compost pile and turn
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide in mid- to late February to lawns for weed control (but ONLY if weeds were a problem last summer. No need to apply herbicides to thick, healthy, weed-free lawns). A pre-emergent herbicide will not control existing weeds.
  • Wait until April to fertilize St. Augustine and Bermuda grass lawns
  • Keep bird feeders stocked for both winter residents and migrating species
  • Get bluebird and other nest boxes ready
  • Check junipers, other narrow-leaf evergreens and roses for bagworm pouches. The insect eggs over-winter in the pouch, and start the cycle again by emerging in the spring to begin feeding on the foliage. Hand removal and discarding of the pouches reduces future damage.

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