Weekend Gardening: February Tips

February 18, 2018

Here are gardening tips for the month of February from your local Extension Service:


  • Re-fertilize cool season flowerbeds, using a liquid or granular form of fertilizer. Be careful not to apply excessive amounts and keep granules away from the base of stems.
  • Prepare flowerbeds for spring planting by adding and incorporating soil amendments like mushroom compost, manure or homemade compost. Till or spade the bed to incorporate the amendments with the existing soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Allow the prepared bed to lie undisturbed for 3 to 4 weeks before planting. This provides time for some important biological activity to take place, and new plants are less likely to suffer from stem and root rots as a result. Have a soil test done. Sometimes lime is needed. However, a lime application should be made only if the need is revealed by the test.
  • Replenish mulch in flowerbeds.
  • Prune rose bushes.

Trees and Shrubs

  • February is possible the best month for rejuvenation of old, overgrown shrubs. When pruned now, plants have an entire growing season to recover.
  • Prune summer flowering deciduous shrubs such as Althea and Hibiscus. Since they flower on current season’s growth, flowering can actually be enhanced by proper pruning
  • Do NOT prune the spring flowering shrubs yet. Azaleas, Spiraeas and Forsythia flower during early spring because buds were formed last summer and fall. Pruning in February would therefore remove most of the flower buds.
  • Cold damaged trees and shrubs should NOT be pruned until new growth appears. You want to preserve as much healthy plant material as possible.
  • Replenish mulch in shrub beds
  • Finish planting ornamental and fruit trees.

Fruits and Nuts

  • Fertilize established pecan trees. Use a “special pecan fertilizer” that contains zinc. Use 2 lbs. for every year of age of the tree up to a maximum of 55 lbs. Broadcast the fertilizer evenly beneath the tree.
  • Fertilize established peach, plum, pear, persimmon, apple and fig. Apply about 1 ½ lbs of a 10-10-10 (or similar) fertilizer for each year of age of the tree until a maximum of 10 to 15 lbs. per tree is reached.
  • Blueberries are very sensitive to nitrogen and can be killed easily, particularly when they are young. Fertilize only if your goal is to increase yield or berry size. An annual application of 2 ounces of a special “azalea/camellia” or “special blueberry” type fertilizer per plant in February is ample fertilizer on 2-year-old plants.
  • Prune muscadine grapes between mid-February to mid-March. A standard method is to allow 2 to 4 node spurs spaced every 6 inches of cordon. You may notice that pruning cuts bleed, but there is no evidence that this is injurious to the vine.
  • Grapes (bunch and muscadine) should be fertilized at the rate of 1 ½ lbs of 10-10-10 for each year of age with a maximum of 5 lbs per plant applied in late February.
  • Last call for planting fruit trees! Most fruit trees such as pecans, plums, persimmons, figs, peaches and nectarines are shipped bare roots and should be planted during the dormant season.
  • Apply a spray containing horticultural oils emulsion to dormant fruit trees and ornamental shrubs. Follow label directions carefully.

Vegetable Garden

  • Several winter vegetables can still be successfully grown by starting them this month. Plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, endive/escarole, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, parsley, English peas, radish and turnips.
  • Plant Irish potatoes. Purchase certified seed potatoes rather than using the grocery store kinds. Use 2-ounce seed pieces with eyes and plant them 3 to 4 inches deep.
  • Prepare spring vegetable and herb beds for planting by adding and incorporating soil amendments like mushroom compost, manure or homemade compost. Wait 3 to 4 weeks before planting.


  • Hold off on fertilizing the lawn. It is still too early for an application of nitrogen containing product. Cold temperatures and lack of plant response would likely result in wasted fertilizer. However, your winter weeds would benefit greatly.


17 Responses to “Weekend Gardening: February Tips”

  1. Lisa Segear on February 19th, 2018 7:59 am

    How can i control those broad leaf vines, the ones that totally engulf forests of trees along the roadside. I have them creeping into my common area of the yard and up my landscape trees

  2. Lisa Segear on February 19th, 2018 7:54 am

    I want to relocate a Styrex Fountain Bell tree, it is young (i just planted it last year) should I & could I do this now? Also is it time to prune my Kousa Dogwood?

  3. Margielu on February 19th, 2018 7:39 am

    @ Glenda Davies: Store potatoes are usually treated with a chemical to inhibit growth; seed potatoes aren’t. You can grow from store potatoes, but it won’t produce near as well or produce as well as a seed potato

    @ Vicky Tisbertth: carrots don’t transplant well at all. Their root is so delicate that any handling of it -even to transplant – usually damages the root (the future carrot) into a twisted or deformed vegetable, if it survives transplant at all. Best to sow those seeds directly into a loose sandy bed of soil.if a cold snap comes, just cover them with a plastic ground cover and some straw mulch. Be sure to uncover as soon as the freezing weather passes.

  4. nettie bizelia on February 19th, 2018 7:03 am

    I’m interested in potatoes. I grow them in pots.
    any advice?

  5. Janet Bullock on February 18th, 2018 10:36 pm

    Thanks for your help. I have so much to do around here. New home and this place was so neglected I’m worried where to start …. Grapevines are out of control and growing everywhere. Pear tree is very old and needs proper pruning. Ivy was completely out of control. Beautiful yard but just neglected. Trying to find out just what some of these flowers and bushes are. Where would you start and what would you do????? Thank!!!!

  6. Dennis Tamagni on February 18th, 2018 10:28 pm

    I started my tomatoes and peppers on heat mats and fleurescent lights a few week ago. Did I jump the gun? I live in NN.

  7. Barbara carsella on February 18th, 2018 10:15 pm

    Yay yu! Your information is so helpful.useful reminders such as what bushes not to trim.i want to be a good gardener&yu help me.thank yu

  8. NANCY BANDY on February 18th, 2018 9:35 pm

    I also look forward to you answer about the hibiscus tree, Hardy in zone 8b. Followed the rules and would like my lovely to come back this year.

    Also, my hydrangea …already have buds on them 8, why are they so early, they usually don’t emerge til late, late March. The buds look great…but they are such finicky beast. They are emerging out of the mulch, should I top them a little more, 40 to 50 nights 60 to 70 days. Ground temp 56 steady.

  9. Confused1 on February 18th, 2018 8:58 pm

    As far as fertilizing pecan trees, do I have to till the soil around it or just spread it on top and water it?

  10. Eresha O'Briant on February 18th, 2018 7:35 pm

    Learned quite a bit. I appreciate your putting it out. I want fruit trees, nuts and veggies! Thank you!

  11. Linda Denning on February 18th, 2018 2:48 pm

    Thank you so much for all the useful information! I do have a question; Last year I planted two bare root hibiscus plants in two separate whiskey barrels. They did amazing and were huge by the end of fall. I cut them back in late fall, per plant instructions. When should I begin to fertilize them? I paid quite a bit for them and they were so beautiful last year, I would hate to lose them! Thank you in advance for your help! Linda

  12. anne 1of2 on February 18th, 2018 12:19 pm

    As the newer evergreens like Leland Cypress get a newer, deeper bag of soil to spread their roots, I plant winter vegetable seeds right on top. By the time they finish producing the evergreen are ready to put on their summer growth. Everything in those circles are fed, watered and good producers, even those growing on the shadier side. These Leland’s are only four feet tall right now.

  13. Vicky Tisbertth on February 18th, 2018 10:46 am

    thanks great info should I start my carrots ECT inside it’s still cold here

  14. Patricia Rucker on February 18th, 2018 10:38 am

    Thanx for the heads up!

  15. GLENA DAVIES on February 18th, 2018 10:13 am

    What’s wrong with planting store Irish potatoes

  16. Sanxy on February 18th, 2018 10:00 am

    Thanks for the timely information. Was not aware that I could start these gardening chores in February.

  17. Brenda L Wileski on February 18th, 2018 8:55 am

    Great info. I have a question..
    I have a new home ,have a garden area that had dirt with LOTS of weeds in it. Weeds are going to grow like made. What can i do to reduce all that grow that will come. ???

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