In order to ensure that your lawn is ready for the warm weather to roll in, you need to make sure you’ve pruned, weeded and cleaned out your garden appropriately.
Now is the time to clean out winter debris from your garden. Dead branches or fallen leaves, twigs or branches that may have fallen during winter weather will stifle the growth of plants trying to thrive.
Once the larger debris is removed from the plant bed, you should begin to hand weed. Typically people would like to use herbicide to kill the unwanted vegetation, but keep in mind that if you are planning to use herbicide, you have to wait until daytime temperatures are warm.
You should replenish or replace mulch in areas surrounding shrubs and trees. Mulch is important surrounding your trees and shrubs because it helps to keep weeds from growing, conserves water and improves soil texture.
Last, but not least, we revisit our topic of pruning. Wait to prune your spring flowering shrubs like Forsythia until after they’ve finished blooming.
The winter is a great time for you to start planning out your spring and summer garden. You can take time to think about the fruits and vegetables you want to grow and how you will help to defend them from pesky insects and/or other creatures like deer and rabbits.
The first thing that you can do to effectively start planning your garden is to have your soil tested by your local county extension office. This will test your soil’s pH levels, which determines ultimately how well your plants grow. Different kinds of fruits and vegetables thrive in different types of soil, so knowing what soil you are working with in your garden is helpful when choosing what to plant.
A soil test will also reveal what nutrients are missing from your soil, giving you an idea what you kind of fertilizer you should be using. If you use your local county extension office your results might take a few weeks to process, which is why doing it in the winter is useful, because you aren’t missing prime planting season. Alternatively, you can buy self-soil tests at your localLowe’s if you do not want to wait.
Once you have your soil tested and know what you’re dealing with in terms of nutrients and acidity, you can browse through seed catalogs to begin to plan your garden. You can also begin to prepare the garden by loosening the soil and adding organic matter as well as any nutrients that the soil might be lacking. We recommend you look at planting cold hardy vegetables like sugar snap peas, onion sets and winter lettuce.
If you choose more temperamental seeds to plant, you could always start the seedlings off indoors, and replant them outdoors when the weather warms. You can create a makeshift greenhouse right in your home by planting your seeds according to their package instructions and covering the containers with plastic. Make sure that you water your seeds carefully to avoid drowning your seeds or any type of fungus cause by overwatering.
Making sure to maintain pest control during the winter is as important as preparing for your future garden.If you’ve suffered from mealy bugs, aphids, scale or mites last year, you should apply dormant oil on your fruit trees and roses. Dormant oil is effective in killing pests even if they are already on your plant.
Just because you have a plant indoors, do not assume that it is safe from pests. Overwatering an indoor plant can lead to root rot, which attracts insects. Fungus gnats can also signify overwatering. Fungus gnats look similar to fruit flies and their small size can make them harder for the untrained eye to identify, so you should be sure to note if the gnats are appearing around your house plant.
If you find that your houseplants are suffering from insects you can use an oil spray, much like the dormant spray you use on fruit trees and roses, to suffocate the insects on the plant. You can also spray insecticidal soap on the soil and let the plant dry out completely to help kill the gnats. If possible it would be best to report the plant into fresh potting soil and sterilize the pot. And even though it sounds a little silly, remember to dust your plants!
When pruning your trees and shrubs, make sure that you are cleaning up the wreckage as you go- especially in the case of the Camellia. Camellia plants are susceptible to a fungal disease called Camellia blight. Camellia blight causes the flowers of the shrub to brown and fall off prematurely. If your Camellia appears to be infected, you need to make sure the fallen infected blooms are picked up and destroyed away from the plant to help rehabilitation.
February is the time to prune most trees, shrubs and woody ornamentals such as Hydrangeas, Crape Myrtles, Butterfly Bushes, Roses and fruit trees. If your trees or shrubs are supposed to bloom in the spring, late winter is not the time to prune them. This time period is for trees and shrubs that bloom in the summer and early fall.
For plants that bloom in the spring, prune them after they bloom.