Overgrown plantings that tend to become bare at the base cannot be helped by “tip” or “top” pruning. These must be cut back near the ground to produce new growth down low. Old established plants of Burford Holly, Cleyera, Japanese holly, Ligustrum, and similar broad-leaved evergreens can be cut back 15-24 inches from the ground in the dormant season. February and early March are good times for severe pruning. Conifers (as Arborvitae, Pfitzer Juniper, etc.) cannot be as heavily pruned as can broad-leaved evergreens. Shear conifers. Winter pruning jobs include trimming of tree branches where necessary, pruning out diseased and dead wood from shrubs and climbing roses, and the annual pruning of old flowered wood from deciduous flowering shrubs – those that bloom after midsummer. Don’t prune early-flowering shrubs until after they have bloomed.
Order flowers for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day!
Gather branches for forcing in the house from pussy willow, forsythia, flowering quince, and Sweet-Breath-of-Spring.
Biennials such as pansy, and hollyhock, canterbury bell, forget-me-not, wallflower, English daisy, and foxglove, may be planted for spring bloom provided yu buy well-established plants.
Cut a few tall stalks of nandina and mahonia to the ground to induce compactness.
Prune boxwood in early February before new growth begins.
Start a record on sowing and planting dates. This will help you avoid mistakes and to remember what you did when a crop does well.
Save plastic milk jugs to use as covers for baby plants; cut off the bottoms and use the bottom cut in strips as garden labels. Label with a permanent marker.
Coat your snow shovel with a non-stock cooking spray; the snow slides right off.
Check your corms, tubers, and roots stored last fall and discard those that are decaying. If decay is severe, move plant parts to a drier place. If roots and tubers show signs of shriveling, they are too dry, so slightly moisten the material in which they are stored. Bulbs of lilies and caladiums can be potted for an early start in the garden.
Study seed catalogs early this year and place orders before the spring rush. Check local catalogs for regional plants.
Mow Lirope (Monkeygrass) to remove windburned foliage.
Control wild garlic with 2,4-D amine spray (add surfacant).
Prune fruit trees. Strive to keep the height own and the tree open for good light peneration. Peach diseases are lessened when trees are pruned in late February.
Apply a dormant oil spray to fruit trees and ornamentals for control of overwintering insects and eggs. Do not apply to broad-leaf evergreens when freezing temperatures are expected.
Grape vines are subject to winter injury if pruned too early. Prune after most of the severe cold has passed, but before they leaf out. (Make a grape vine wreath with the trimmings!)
Prune bush roses. Thin to 3-5 good strong canes and shorten canes to 15 inches. (Prune climbers after they flower in early summer.)
Early in the month start plants from seeds by sowing indoors, under light. (14-16 hours of artificial light).
Service power equipment: change oil, replace filters, belts, spark plugs, and sharpen or replace mower blades.
Calcium chloride or fertilizer can serve as deicing salt on walks or patios.
Use the cold weather to replenish mulch in foundation plantings and rose beds.
Prune back Pampas Grass to within 10 inches of the ground now that the leaves are dormant. Late pruning could injure new emerging leaves. Ornamental grasses can be divided now.