The fickle days of February can bring sunshine and in recent years, frost, ice, and snow. It’s getting ready time for spring — not only for dreaming and planning, but for planting and preparing for a new season.
1. Planting — Plant major trees and shrubs now. A late winter planting will allow the plants to become established prior to spring growth, and more importantly, prior to summer heat. The dormant plants are better adapted and assure better livability.
2. Bare-root plants —These plants demand a winter or February planting. They are typically a better a buy at the nursery but must be established while they are dormant or prior to spring growth. Plant bare root fruit trees, pecans, roses, ornamental peach, pear, plum and other selected plants such as crape myrtle, spirea, etc.
3. Roses — There are numerous varieties and several types to choose from, miniatures to climbing or pillar roses. Now’s the time to plant. Select healthy plants with four to five canes. Locate roses in a well-prepared soil in sun — full morning noonday sun — protected from hot afternoon sun is best. Consider using one of the Earthkind rose varieties - they are more disease resistant and drought tolerant.
4. Transplanting — This should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Replant plants at their normal growing depth. Prune back to compensate for loss of root.
5. Winter pruning — Pruning of evergreens and summer flowering plants should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Do not prune spring flowering plants, as you will remove potential spring flowers. Prune spring flowering plants immediately after their peak of bloom.
6. Plant summer bulbs — Examples of bulbs would include gladiolus and dahlia. Both like full sun in well prepared soil.
7. Prepare garden beds — Turn soil now in anticipation of spring planting. Add generous amounts of peatmoss, leaf mold, compost and aged manures. A good soil is the key to good plant production.
8. Vegetables — get ready for the early “cool season” crops such as lettuce, radish, carrots, cabbage, turnips, beets, broccoli, onions, Irish potatoes, and spinach. Vegetables demand a well-prepared soil in full sun. Select varieties suited for your area.
9. Summer vegetables — Be patient! Don’t be in a hurry to plant tomato, peppers, squash or eggplant, etc. These plants demand warm days and warm soils to grow and are very susceptible to late freeze and frost.
10. Clean garden beds — Cut back during the dead of winter. Rake clean and lightly work soils around existing plants.
11. Houseplants — Keep on hold until late March when the spring season allows for moving outdoors for repotting and pruning back for new spring growth.
If you need further assistance or information with your February gardening chores, please contact Kaufman County Extension office at (469) 376-4520.
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