Welcome to February. This is the month when our early daffodils and saucer magnolias start to bloom. It’s also the month when we traditionally get hit with ice and snow storms, so don’t be fooled by the big-box store setting out transplants of tomatoes and peppers for sale. Remember that your grandmother told you that it wasn’t safe to plant tender transplants around here until after Easter. Curb your enthusiasm to plant things ahead of schedule and concentrate on what you need to be doing this month.
Here’s your to do list:
— Plant onion sets and sow radish seeds early in the month. Also, plant greens, sugar snap peas, carrots, beets, turnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
— Plant cool season annuals like pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, Iceland poppies, stock and calendula.
— Plant bare-root roses, strawberries, gladiola corms, cannas and ornamental grasses.
— Prune trees before new growth starts. Fruit trees should be pruned into bowl shape. Important: Never top any tree.
— Prune back your ornamental grasses to about 1 foot.
— Starting at Valentine’s Day, prune shrub roses. Remove deadwood and crossing branches and cut the remaining canes back by about two-third’s, cutting at a 45-degree angle just above an outward-facing bud.
— Renew the mulch on your flower beds to ensure a 4- to 6-inch layer. It’s much easier to do this now while most plants are dormant than after everything starts to sprout and bloom
— Treat aphids on ornamentals with a strong spray of water or insecitcidal soap.
— Treat green loopers on broccoli, greens, cabbage and lettuce with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis)
— Clean, sharpen and oil your tools. Make sure they are in great shape for spring and summer.
— Check your irrigation system for missing and/or broken sprinkler heads. Clean the filters. You want to make sure you’ll be using water efficiently as the weather gets warmer.
— Get your lawn mower and power tools serviced and tuned up.
— Mid-month put out a couple of hummingbird feeders to attract the scouts. You can follow the northward migration of the hummingbirds at this web site https://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps.
Join the Smith County Master Gardeners for their library series at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Tyler Public Library, 201 S. College Ave. Master Gardener Debby Watkins will present “Protecting the World One Garden at a Time — What is YOUR Rose and What Can YOU Do?” This program is free and open to the public.
The Smith County Master Gardener program is a volunteer organization in connection with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.