Plant Answers  >  Gardening Calendar: February

Gardening Calendar


Plant: Select ornamentals and trees for adaptability, permanence and durability, not just for fast growth. February is the month to begin spring gardens with crops such as asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower (transplants only), Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce (leafy), mustard, onion plants, Irish potatoes, radish, spinach and turnip. A good method of getting the jump on the normal spring season is to grow portable transplants of recommended tomato and pepper varieties. For specific information, see:

Try the virus-resistant tomato variety named 'Tomato 444'. Use disease-free transplants of recommended short-day onion varieties such as 1015Y, Granex (Vidalia) and Grano. Onion transplants can be mail-ordered from if plants cannot be found in local nurseries. Use a pre-plant application of a slow-release fertilizer analysis at the rate of 3 pounds per 100 square feet of planting area. This is the ideal month to plant roses; be sure to include a 'Belinda's Dream' rose in your planting.

Prune: Finish pruning started in January in February. Do any major fruit or ornamental tree and shrub pruning. Spring pruning of roses in South Central Texas is normally done between the third week of February and-the first week of March. A complete explanation of rose pruning and best varieties for South Central Texas can be found at:

"Scalp" the lawn late in the month to remove winter-killed stubble. Set the mower down one or two notches. Remove browned tissues from Asian jasmine, liriope and mondograss. Reshape lanky nandinas by pruning the tallest one-third of canes back to within 2 inches of the ground. New shoots will fill in from beneath.

Fertilize: February is the ideal time to fertilize healthy trees. A simple calculation is based on trunk diameter - use one pound of a high nitrogen fertilizer (slow-release type such as 19-5-9) per inch diameter of tree trunk. Spread the fertilizer evenly throughout under the drip zone of the tree. Fertilize evergreen trees, such as live oak, at the rate of 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of root area. One pound of nitrogen is equivalent to 8 pounds of 13-13-13. Fertilize deciduous trees (oaks, cypress) at the rate of 3-6 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Fertilize winter bedding plants such as pansies, snapdragons, calendulas, dianthus with a complete-and-balanced fertilizer at 1 pound per square feed of bed area. Wait at least another month to fertilize the lawn.

On the Lookout: Wait for a time period which will ensure temperatures above freezing for at least 48 hours to apply a dormant oil spray to euonymus, hollies, oaks, pines, pecans, and fruit trees which are prone to scale. To prevent damage, cover any actively growing flowering annuals or overseeded lawn areas to avoid contact with the dormant oil spray. Follow label directions carefully to ensure good results without damage. Apply pre-emergent herbicide such as Team, Betasan, Balan, Amaze Grass & Weed Preventor, PreM, Surflan, A.S., Weed & Grass Preventor, or Weed Stoppere to prevent crabgrass and grassburs. Apply broadleaf weed killer on warm days to eliminate henbit, chickweed, dandelions, clover and non-grassy weeds. For the complete prevention program for grassburs (sandburs) see:

Odd Jobs: If you want to treat for ball moss, February is the idea month. Ball moss does not kill trees. Divide summer-, fall-blooming perennials, including cannas, mallows, fall asters, mums, coneflowers, lythrum and perennial salvias before growth begins.

February Calendar by Dr. Tom Harris

· Do not cut back the daffodils until the leaves turn brown. It doesn't matter with tulips. They are an annual here.

· Lightly fertilize pansies again this month for continued blooming.

·Begin planting gladiolus every two weeks for a long season of blooms. Also plant amaryllis, Tigridias, Montbretia and dahlias. Continue planting roses, shrubs and trees.

Shade Trees and Shrubs
· Dig the hole as deep as the container and 2-3 times as wide. Add back the native soil with no more than 10 percent additional organic matter and cover with 3 inches of mulch. Consider cedar elm, Chinese pistache, bur oaks, Montezuma cypress, Arizona cypress, Monterrey oak, and desert willow for planting. Water deeply once per week.

· Use oak leaves for mulch in the gardens or add them to the compost pile.

· Use Bt to control caterpillars on mountain laurel.

· Wait until they finish blooming to prune spring-flowering perennials.

· Perk up your garden with the addition of rotted manure or compost. Two to four inches spread over the surface and tilled to a depth of 8-12 inches will improve the spring garden.


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