February Planting & Fun
Posted in Monthly Landscape Tips on February 3, 2014
It’s time to start getting ready for spring with a bit of cleaning, prep and planting. Follow this handy guide about February planting and you’ll be set for warmer weather!
Show Your Lawn Some Love
Weeds are a wicked problem. A good pre-emergence herbicide applied from mid-February to early March to nip that wicked problem in the bud. We suggest applying BEST Dimension, according to the label directions; a simple, fast, all-in-one product that’ll feed your lawn while bringing the hurt to the weeds in your turf.
Perfect Time for Prepping
Muck out your water gardens and put that dirt and debris in your compost heap for later. It’s also the right time to mulch your garden. Add about 2-3 inches of mulch; maybe your compost heap can contribute! If you don’t have your own homemade compost, we suggest adding Malibu Biodynamic Compost and/or a mix with an Organic Amendment for Vegetable beds and Organic Gromulch for trees, shrubs, ground cover and roses. If you’re experiencing a snail invasion, fight back with organic or inorganic bait. Sluggo Snail Bait is a great organic product for this very purpose!
Break out the pruning tools and clean up your woody and overgrown perennials. A quick check of the plant’s base will tell you if it needs a trim. If there’s new growth, it’s safe to prune away the dead stuff. Likewise, give your ornamental grasses, such as monkey grass (liriope), and mondo grass a trim. It’s best to take them to just a few inches high. Evergreens are included in the February cutting schedule, too. However, don’t prune them again later in spring or summer.
Want to know a secret? A power hedge clipper makes all of these pruning projects a piece of cake.
Now that you’ve prepped, it’s time to plant.
Choices, Choices: What to Plant
February in SoCal is the perfect time for planting bare-root artichokes, rhubarb and strawberries.
It’s also the right time to plant nursery plants, such as warm-season annuals (think marigolds, petunias, tomatoes and peppers). The important thing is to get your plants in the ground after the last frost but before summer’s heat. Depending on where you’re at in SoCal, this can be tricky.
Some basic truths:
- Plant by mid-February in hotter desert areas.
- SoCal has some widely varied microclimates. Planting conditions can be different areas that are only a few miles apart. Believe it or not, some microclimes change in just a few blocks!
- If you can comfortably go barefoot, your soil is warm enough (around 60F) to plant heat-loving seeds like corn, cucumbers, green beans and squash.
- You’re usually safe if you wait two weeks after the last average frost date.
- Your local Hydro-Scape can always give you good advice.
Trees and Shrubs and More for the Win!
February is game time for planting container-grown favorites like perennial herbs and flowers, ground covers, trees and shrubs. We can give you a refresher on planting trees and shrubs.
“Feed Me, Seymour!” Fantastic Fertilizers
Fortunately, your plants require a more user-friendly fertilizer than that Broadway beauty.
- Roses and perennials need fertilizer at the end of February and watering going forward. Inorganic fertilizers such as Bayer All-in-one Rose and Flower Care or BEST Fertilizer brands are good choices. For the organic grower, try fish emulsion.
- Citrus, avocado, and deciduous trees in the low desert and hotter areas need fertilizer in February. Ask your local Hydro-Scape for the quality fertilizer. Their counterparts in cooler coastal and higher zones don’t get hungry until March, though, so it’s good to wait.
- Beds and borders will enjoy a pre-emergence weed killer later in February or early in March. You’ll avoid much of the dreaded weeding later in the season, but be careful not to apply it anywhere you want to plant seeds as it prevents them from germinating.