While the month of February is still snow-covered in many northern parts of the country, in warm climates spring comes to life in the garden bit earlier. February is a key time for planting, pruning and feeding many landscape plants.
Again, while it’s definitely not time to plant in colder climates, it is time to get planting in warm climates. In February, depending on your zone, you can begin planting spring annuals, perennials and even tomatoes and peppers. Depending on your climate, you may want to keep some frost cloth handy just in case of a last-minute frost.
Woodies: February is a key time for pruning woody plants prior to the spring growth spurt. For woody plants, prune away all dead branches and branches that cross one another or are rubbing together. If you need to shape formal hedges, such as boxwoods or other evergreens, do so now before the new spring growth. Many fruit trees need to be pruned this month just before flowering begins. Each type of fruit tree will require specific pruning techniques, so be sure to familiarize yourself with each variety’s specific needs. Take care not to over-prune fruit trees in one season as it can cause “water sprouts” – fast-growing vertical branches that are not productive. Prune roses now if they’ve not already started sprouting their new spring growth. Remove dead canes and any diseased growth.
Herbaceous Perennials: Prune back all dead growth to the crown for mounding perennials, such as ornamental grasses, soft salvias, daisies and more. You should see tiny sprouts of new growth at the base of the plant. Woodier perennials may need selective pruning or a partial cut-back to encourage dense growth and more flowers. Cut back groundcovers, such as mondo grass or liriope, to several inches tall in order to remove all old and damaged growth. Be sure to do this before the new spring growth starts to emerge.
In hot climates, it’s time to feed your citrus trees, avocado (plus other fruit trees) and your deciduous shade trees. Fertilize roses and perennials mid-month. In colder areas, wait until March.