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FEBRUARY Landscape & Garden Tips
These tips apply to those in USDA Zone 8 of Georgia but may apply to other regions in the southern United States. With Spring just around the corner, there's always lot's to do in the landscape and gardens. So here's some tips and reminders to keep you busy in the great outdoors!
1. Apply pelletized lime at this time to Fescue, Bermuda, and Zoysia lawns. Lime is not a fertilizer, however, you may notice after applying it that your lawn greens up quickly. This is due to the correction of the soil pH, which can allow the roots of your grass to absorb fertilizer and nutrients applied in the past.
If you have never applied lime to your Bermuda, Fescue or Zoysia lawn, an application of one 30 LB bag of LIME RITE Pelletized Lime per 6,000 square feet of lawn area, or 40 lbs standard pelletized lime per 500 -1,000 square feet of lawn area, usually corrects soil pH to a level sufficient for these grasses to thrive and for fertilizers applied to be readily absorbed by the roots. Make sure to use "pellitized" lime as it activates instantly.
NOTE: Soil pH correction usually lasts for several years. You can test your soil pH with a soil test kit available at the nursery or buy soil testing kits online here. Your local extension service may provide soil testing services as well.
2. Feed established fescue lawns in mid- to late- February with a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer. If you have a fescue lawn now is a good time to apply a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer to get it hopping. Nitrogen is the first of the three numbers on a bag of fertilizer. If you're on a Wilson Bros DIY Fescue Lawn Care Program, it is now time to apply Step 2: the application of a lawn fertilizer containing a weed preventer to control late winter and spring weeds.
CAUTION: If you intend on overseeding your Fescue lawn, DO NOT apply a fertilizer that contains a weed preventer or weed killer. Instead, use a lawn starter fertilizer that contains a higher percentage of Phosphorus: the middle of the three numbers on any bag of fertilizer.
TIP: Since lawn fertilizers are sold by how much square footage they will cover, it's a good idea to know the total sqaure feet of your lawn before prucashing and applying the fertilizer. To measure square footage, simply multiplying the length x width of the area(s) to be covered. For example, if your lawn is 100' long by 75 feet wide the equation would look like this: 100' x 75' = 7,500 Total Square Feet. If you have several lawn areas measure each and then add them.
3. Feed your vegetable and flower garden soil. It's much too early to be planting warm season vegetable and flower gardens, however, if you haven't already done so, you can begin the process of feeding your the spring and summer plants by tilling in a 1/4-inch layer of compost to the soil of your garden beds now. If you don't make your own compost, at the Nursery we carry mushroom compost, composted cow manure and organic compost in bulk that you can use to replenish your garden soil with the rich organic matter plants need to provide you with abundant flowers and produce.
SEE: How To Prepare Vegetable Garden Soil for a New Garden >
SEE: How To Make a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden >
SEE: How To Plant a Flower Bed >
4. Fertilize roses after pruning. In the South, you can hard-prune your roses in mid to late February. Rose pruning tips are further below. We like to prune roses while they're still dormant, but it's okay to prune them right when you see new growth starting to emerge. After pruning, fertilize with a well-balanced rose food. Alternatively, you can feed your roses with an all-purpose natural or organic fertilizer.
SEE: Rose Fertilizers
1. Seed fescue lawns in mid to late February. If you plan on seeding a new fescue lawn or overseeding an existing fescue lawn, mid to late February is a good time to do so. The earlier the seed sprout the longer the grass has to develop a good root system before summer arrives.
TIP: There are two basic types of fescue seed: Turf-Type Fescue, and KY-31 Fescue. We recommend using turf-type fescues or a mixture of the two. We think turf-type fescue is better suited for lawn use because the blades are thinner, grow more upright, and can be cut at a lower height of 4 inches. On the other hand, Ky 31 fescue is best suited for use in pastures, thriving best when cut at 6 inches or higher. It is best to broadcast fescue seed with a rotary-type walk behind or shoulder spreader. Feed newly seeded fescue lawns with a lawn starter fertilizer containing plenty of phosphorus (middle number).
2. Plan for new spring plantings. With spring right around the corner, February is a good time to think about new spring plantings and developing a plan to implement them. Click on a link below to get helpful landscape and garden design tips and ideas...
3. Plant shrubs and trees.
Contrary to popular belief, January and, in fact, the entire winter season is a great time to plant most ornamental shrubs, trees, roses, or groundcover plants in Georgia and other states in the South. Winter planting of most shrubs and trees allows the plants to acclimate to their new environment over the winter. Too, when temperatures are above 45 degrees F the roots of plants will grow. Then, in spring, winter-planted shrubs and trees will benefit from the early-spring root flush, which means less attention to watering come summer time. There is absolutely no danger at all from planting most shrubs and trees in January in Georgia. Our landscaping installers plant through the entire winter!
SEE: Planting Instruction Articles From Our Experts >
SEE: Winter Flowering & Color Shrubs >
4. Plant perennials. Most perennial plants are dormant right now which means it's a perfect time to plant them. Too, this time of year we and other local nursery and garden centers are offering deeply discounted prices on leftover perennial plants from last year to make room for this seasons new arrivals, which are already starting to arrive!
SEE: How To Plant Perennial Plants in a Garden Bed >
5. Transplant shrubs and trees. Have some shrubs or small trees in your landscape that you'd like to move to another location? If the shrubs or trees you would like to move are still in winter dormancy (not actively growing) then February is a good time to transplant them.
TIP: Whenever transplanting shrub or trees it's a good idea to water them in with a good Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.
SEE: How To Transplant and Relocate a Shrub or Tree >
NOTE: Some plants, such as established conifers and junipers, simply do not respond well to relocation.
1. Prune shrubs and trees. February is a great time to prune many types of shrubs, and trees, such as Crape Myrtle. That said, wait to prune any types of spring flowering shrubs such as Forsythia, Azalea, Rhododendron, until after they have finished blooming. You can and should remove any damaged or dead plant parts from any type of plant. When doing so, cut back just beyond the origin of the break or dead part. Click on the link below to find pruning instructions for many specific types of shrubs and trees.
SEE: Pruning Instructions From Our Experts >
CAUTION: DO NOT prune perennial Lantana shrubs until you see new growth begin to emerge in mid spring.
2. Prune roses. February is a good time to hard-prune roses. We usually wait to prune our roses until the 2nd or 3rd week in February. Click on a link below to find specific pruning instructions from our experts.
3. Cut back the dead parts of perennial plants and ornamental grasses. If you haven't already done so, now is a good time to prune away all the dead plant parts from last years growth on your herbaceous perennial plants and ornamental grasses. It's much easier to do now than to wait until too much new growth has emerged.
SEE: How To Prune Ornamental Grasses >
Other Tips & Reminders
1. Control weeds in your lawn and landscape now. Take measures now to kill and prevent weeds in your lawn and landscape. If you allow existing weeds to keep growing they'll produce and scatter their seeds everywhere...and that just means more pulling and or spraying you'll have to do later!
If weeds have already sprouted in your Bermuda, Zoysia or a Fescue lawn use a weed killer such as Top Shot MSM Lawn Weed Killer to kill them now. That said, don't apply any chemical to a Fescue lawn you intend on overseeding within 60 days. If you have a Centipede or St Augustine lawn, use Atrazine Lawn Weed Killer to kill existing weeds.
If you want to prevent weed seeds from sprouting in your lawn you'll need to apply a lawn weed preventer, such as Lebanon Team 2G Lawn Weed Preventer, which is Step 1 on the Wilson Bros DIY Lawn Care Programs.
TIP: Most weed preventers are sold by how many square feet of lawn area they will cover. So it's a good idea to measure your lawn to determine total square footage. To do so, simply measure and multiply the length by the width of your lawn. For example: if your lawn is 100' long and 50 feet wide the equation would look like this: 100' x 50' = 5,000 Total Square Feet.
If weeds have already sprouted in your mulched landscape beds and other non-lawn areas use a weed killer such as Hi-Yield Killzall to kill them. Killzall is the exact same product as Superconcentrate Roundup but about half the price! To avoid contact with your desirable shrubs and other plants, it's best to spray a weed killer on a calm day, or adjust your sprayer nozzle so that it sprays more of a stream rather than a fog, which can drift.
If you want to prevent weed seeds from sprouting in your mulched landscaped areas and other non-lawn areas, apply a weed preventer such as Hi-Yield Weed & Grass Preventer Herbicide Granules, which contains Treflan, which prevents weed seeds from sprouting for up to 1 year! Treflan works by killing weed seeds before they have a chance to germinate.
2. Spread some mulch. If you've already gathered up all the leaves, and sprayed any existing weeds growing in your landscape beds, now is a great time to get some mulch on the ground to freshen up the landscape. If you want to use an organic mulch that will decompose over time to add rich nutrients to the soil that your plants will love, there are basically two choices: shredded wood mulch or pine straw. You'll find both at the Nursery. We also carry stone products such as several sizes of pea gravel, egg rock, and lava rock. Call the Nursery before you come to make sure we have these in stock. (770) 954-9862.
The best type of pine straw is "long needle." It's needles are much longer than the short needle pine straw you find from many other suppliers, which makes it spread 20% further than short needle pine straw. Too, the long needle pine straw contains much more resin, which makes it last 4 times longer in the landscape than short needle. We usually have plenty in stock at the nursery. You can always call the Nursery at (770) 954-9862 to make sure we have it in stock.
SEE: How To Spread Pine Straw Like The Pros >
If you prefer wood mulch, you'll find red, black and brown shredded wood mulches as well as cypress mulch and pine bark nuggets at the nursery. We carry these in both bags and bulk, which can be picked up at the nursery or delivered to your home or job site. We usually have plenty of all types in stock, but you can always call the Nursery at (770) 954-9862 to make sure we have the type you're looking for in stock.
3. In case of snow. In the rare event we get snow during February, brush the white stuff off of branches of plants that have more brittle branches, which can snap if the snow were to become too wet and heavy. Otherwise, leave the snow on the plants as it can serve as an insulator if the temperatures were to plummet below 20 degrees.
4. Dormant spraying of fruit trees should be done now. Lime Sulfur Spray can be sprayed on the trunk and branches of dormant fruit trees. This concoction will suffocate insect egg cases. Only use this method while the tree is dormant, however, or it can kill the tree.
Scale insects are often a serious pest of fruit trees. Use of a dormant oil, such as Volck, at the rate of 5 tablespoons per gallon of water (8 fl. oz. per 10 gallons) just before green tissue appears is most effective against scale insects. Oil also helps in the control of mites and aphids. On peaches and nectarines, the application of a copper-containing fungicide before the buds swell in late winter prevents leaf curl disease. Some cultivars of peaches and nectarines are less susceptible to leaf curl than are other cultivars.
5. Clean out your fireplace. If your home has a fireplace, you can remove the ashes and use them to fertilize Iris and plants that like an alkaline soil.
6. Turn or till vegetable garden soil. This will expose insect eggs to the effects of winter and hungry birds. Too, if we have more freezing weather it will help to break apart heavy clods of dirt.
7. Clean houseplants. Don't forget to dust off your houseplants with a damp cloth. If your houseplants are actively growing give them a shot of liquid plant food, such as Jack's Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Plant Food. Also check your houseplants for insects. If you have a backyard greenhouse, check those plants too.
8. Clean garden tools. Get your garden tools ready for spring by sharpening and oiling them. Sharpen mower blades as well. Take your mowers, blowers, hedge trimmers and other power tools in for a tune up now. If you wait until these tools are needed in early spring, the outdoor power equipment shops will have a waiting list and it might take weeks to get your tools back.
If you can think of another good tip for us to add to this list please let us know! Use the Contact Us Form >