February Gardening Tips 2017

Monthly task lists help to grow and maintain your gardens, indoors and out.

Scan these tips from gardening expert, Melinda Myers, and follow those that apply to your particular landscape to help increase your success while making gardening easier, less stressful and fun.

• Continue to shovel and then use deicing salt only as needed You'll use less deicing salt reducing salt damage to your lawn and landscape plants. Further protect your plants by using plant and pet-friendly deicers.

• Watch for signs of rabbit, vole and deer damage. Adjust protective fencing as needed, reapply repellents as needed and alternate scare tactics and for best results use a variety of tactics to minimize animal damage.

• Prune out any winter damaged stems and branches. Wait for the worst of winter weather to pass before pruning trees and shrubs. And contact a certified arborist for big jobs. They have training, equipment and experience to do the job safely.

• Check plants for tent caterpillars, gypsy and tussock moth egg masses, black knot and other cankers. Remove and destroy egg masses of harmful insects and prune out cankers as found. Disinfect tools between cuts to reduce the spread of disease.

• Take a walk through your landscape, review photos and notes about last year's garden. Look for areas that would benefit from a tree or shrubs or additional color from annual and perennial flowers. Start a wish list of seeds, plants and garden art that will fill these voids or add some additional sparkle to your landscape.

• Shop for seeds early for the best selection. Store in a cool place until it is time to plant.

• Inventory, gather and purchase containers, sterile seed starting mix, seeds, lights and other equipment needed for starting seeds..

• Create a seeding chart for recording plant names, starting dates and other important information. Use your garden journal or other notebook to record and save this valuable information for next year. Consider investing in a journal if you do not already own one.

• Start onions from seeds in late February.

• Take forced bulbs our of cold storage. Place in a cool location and allow several weeks for the bulbs to sprout and bloom. Stagger the transition to extend your indoor enjoyment.

• Once forced bulbs are done flowering, move them to a sunny window and water thoroughly as needed. Fertilize with a dilute solution of flowering houseplant fertilizer. After danger of frost has passed, you can move these into the garden. But be patient, they may not bloom for two years.

• Start canna, dahlia, tuberous begonias and other tender bulbs indoors at the end of the month through mid March for earlier flowering in the garden.

• A variety of leaf spots diseases attack houseplants, especially those that have been overwatered. Reduce watering frequency and remove infected leaves. This is usually enough to correct the problem.

• Check houseplants for salt buildup. This appears as a crusty, white substance on the soil surface or as white stain rings on clay pots. Scrape off the crusty, salt buildup on the soil and then leach the soil by watering thoroughly. Wait 20 minutes and water thoroughly again.

• Mealybugs look like little pieces of cotton and are found in the leaf joints and stems of a variety of houseplants. Treat with alcohol by dipping a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and apply it to each mealybug. Then, spray the plant with an eco-friendly product such as an insecticidal soap. Treat weekly as needed.

• This is a great time to take your lawn mower or other outdoor garden equipment to the repair shop and beat the spring rush.

 

Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s monthly gardening tips with you!