Time to dream about your garden!

Saturday, February 2, 2008


(USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7-A )

PRUNING...this is the time!

WEEDING...you got to be kidding

(Note: I am leaving up the January tips since the weather has been cooler than usual in our area).

  • This is still a good month for pruning those plants that do NOT bloom in the spring. Trim diseased, dead or undesired branches from shrubs.
  • Prune old flowered wood from deciduous flowering shrubs (those that bloom after midsummer).
  • Prune grape-vines and blueberries before new growth appears and after most of the severe cold has passed. Prune Boxwood before new growth appears.
  • Fruit trees should be pruned to keep height down and the tree open for good light.
  • Prune Camellias after they finish blooming.
  • Prune Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) back to three to four feet. Severe pruning of overgrown shrubs can be done in February as long as new growth has not started; however don’t remove more than 1/3 of total shrub. DO NOT PRUNE spring flowering shrubs until after they bloom. You don’t want to prune the buds before they flower!
  • Hydrangeas are one of the most confusing of all to prune.  DO not prune until you are sure how to do it (http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/ is a great site for recommendations.

      Look for those little weeds like henbit that are spreading through your garden and yank them out before they have time to flower and throw their seeds all over the place.  If you weed them out now you will save yourself a lot of trouble later.  I spent about two hours out in my garden today (yes, it was almost 60 degrees) and got rid of quite a few.  David Bare, garden columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal (journal.now, search David Bare) had a great article about this.  Check it out.

During February, only fertilize winter booming plants like Daphne and Lenten Rose. Trees and shrubs can be planted during the winter as long as the ground is not frozen. Apply one pound of  nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. to fescue lawn.

Trim liriope (Monkey grass) to remove old foliage. Trim ornamental grass to within two to three feet of ground. Cut back old growth on established perennials before new growth appears. When you rake up leaves from beds, deposit them into your compost bin.  Finished compost can be spread up to 3" on top of existing beds.  Remove any weeds that you see coming up.


Plant ground covers such as perennial geranium, epimedium, and liriope. Plant English peas, onions, Irish potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, turnips, and carrots. Start cabbage, collards, broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce indoors for later planting. Plant strawberries. At the end of the month, remove mulch from blooming plants. It is a good idea to have soil tested every three years. Winter is a good time to send amples into NCSU. Contact the Forsyth County Extension Office for instructions. Soil tests are free in North Carolina.

Sources:  Forsyth County Extension Office
               Bill Colvin, Master Gardener


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