Now’s The Time: February

Now’s the Time: February

Even in the deep of winter, nature is bestowing gifts on us from the beauty of bare branches to the beginning of buds on trees and shrubs. Here are a few ideas for how to make the most of the month in your garden.

Ounce of Prevention: It’s last call for dormant sprays (any spray applied to leafless deciduous trees from late November to the latter part of February to control over-wintering insects or to prevent disease infection) on ornamental shrubs and trees. Best done on a nice, mild day when temps are above freezing. (This is Red Rhapsody® Amur Maple which is hardy to zone 2!)

Take a Walk on the Winter Side: Bundle up and go for a walk because now is a great time to learn to identify trees in your neighborhood. The shape and habit of a tree is now easier to take in fully, and can give you valuable clues to finding the botanical name. Check out the crown and overall shape (vase? upright? multi-trunked?), remaining fruits, berries, or leaves, and the shape and texture of live twigs, bark, and growth habit. Take pictures and Google up or consult your local garden center. (This is Centurion® Crabapple which you will know from stray fruits and spreading, branching habit)

Keep a hose handy: Unless you are blessed with sustained rains this month, keep watering trees, shrubs, and perennials. All may look fine above the soil line, but the fastest way to condemn a plant to the compost pile is to let it those roots dry out. Aim for about one inch of water per week.

Get Smart: Check your local garden center for classes which begin in earnest this month.

Lay it on Thick: Winter is an ideal time to apply mulch as it helps to keep soil moist and begins to break down adding nutrients to the soil. 2 – 3 inches is about right.

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