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FEBRUARY Plant Care Checklist

Pick up dropped camellias to avoid petal blight.  Photo: Annie Spratt, unsplash
Pick up dropped camellias to avoid petal blight. Photo: Annie Spratt, unsplash

Maintenance and prevention

  • Inspect irrigation system for leaks and non-functioning emitters and sprayers. Run the system for a few minutes, paying close attention to which emitters are not working. Straighten lines and use a pin or needle to free any trapped grit in emitters. Make any other needed repairs or changes.
  • Clean up old and dropped flowers from camellias and azaleas to reduce petal blight, a fungal disease. Do not add them to your compost pile.
  • Avoid working in or walking on wet soil.
  • Be alert to possible freezing temperatures and protect sensitive plants such as citrus and succulents. Learn more about frost.
  • Apply organic fertilizer to citrus if needed.
  • Repot houseplants and succulents in anticipation of spring growth.

Planting and propagating

  • Finish planting bare root trees, shrubs, and roses before they break dormancy.
  • Divide perennials such as daylily and yarrow.

Cutting and pruning

  • Finish pruning dormant plants. Wait to prune back frost-damaged plants until warmer weather when you see whether they have recovered.
  • Prune Japanese maples while they are winter dormant.
  • Prune woody shrubs and evergreen trees (spruce, firs, junipers, yews, redwoods, and cypress), hardy deciduous trees, dormant shade trees, summer blooming vines, and winter flowering shrubs just after bloom. Wait to prune summer blooming trees and shrubs until after they bloom.
  • Cut back woody shrubs to stimulate new growth. To rejuvenate leggy shrubs, cut to the ground one-third of the oldest stems each year.
  • Prune ornamental grasses.
  • Finish pruning roses and dispose of canes, leaves, and debris.
  • After pruning, be sure to clean tools.

Pests and weeds

  • Check plants for aphids as the weather warms. Remove infestations with a hard spray of water or insecticidal soap.
  • Stay on top of weeds. Hand pull them or cut off at the soil line.
  • Monitor tender new growth for snails and slugs. Hand pick or apply an iron phosphate bait which is safe to use around children, pets, and wildlife.

Edibles

  • Use dormant oil spray on fruit trees if needed.
  • Cut down cover crops if ready. Chop into pieces and dig into beds or put into compost pile.
  • Plant artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, leeks, onion starts, and rhubarb.
  • Learn more about crops to plant in February and other activities in the edible garden.