Central Plains Gardener's February Checklist

We’re on the cusp of gardening season, and if you are excited there is a lot to do. But if you are a lazy gardener, like me, you do not need to do anything in the dirt just yet. February is the perfect time to find some major architectural work done on your landscape — function that will help your plants flourish and provide more wildlife value for one to appreciate come summer.

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U. of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Prune shrubs and trees. There are just two reasons February and March are good pruning months: 1. You can see the branches, since there are no leaves, and two. The plants have not awakened yet, so the sap is not flowing and harm is not as likely. Birch is one of the first trees to begin flowing, so get to it early.

Redtwig dogwoods are simple to maintain; just snip out one third of the oldest twigs near ground level to rejuvenate the shrub and ensure more young twigs winter. The twigs do not possess a color that is as vibrant and are the thickest.

Do not prune Spiraea species, that bloom on last season’s growth — wait till early summer. In fact, most shrubs that bloom in spring should be trimmed after the bloom.

Craftsbury Kids

Rustic Branch Hooks – $14.95

A general rule would be to cut branches on younger trees so the underside twenty-five of the back is just backward, no branches. This aids growth go up the tree toward the top, where it is most needed. Use a sharp pruning saw for larger twigs and branches, and a bypass pruner for smaller shoots and twigs.

This photo is of a few awesome coat hooks, but I put it here to show you where to not reduce the branch. See that grey arc at the bottom of the coat hook on the back? That’s called the branch collar that’s where you should cut. Saw the branch off at the exact same angle the collar is about the back, having the top of the cut meet at the top of the branch collar.

What else should you trim on a young tree?
Make sure that the tree has a single central leader branch — if it has two, cut the one that isn’t straight up and down, looks darker or will be coming off the other side of this trunk.Remove any crossing branches that are rubbing each other. Rubbing branches peel off protective bark and may result in disease.If you are pruning crabapples, go simple. The more you prune the trees, the more ugly water sprouts you will get (those thin branches that go up in the atmosphere ). My advice is not to make more than a few cuts each year.Read longer on winter tree maintenance

Paintbox Garden

Don’t birdhouses. Clean them out if you can. Though some birds keep warm in plants that are interior birdhouses, it will not be long before spring migrants will be looking for a new residence.

UP insides

Speaking of birds, feeders may add nice architectural flair to a garden. If you do not have one, consider where it may look nice — if it hang or be on a pole? It’s best not to have more than two feeders on a tiny suburban lot.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Watch for emerging blooms. Here in zone 5a, crocuses will be looking at the end of the month. I’ve hundreds. Can you plant any fall? They’ll spread gradually each year, eventually giving you a late-winter yard your neighbors will envy. They’re also one of the very first pollen and nectar plants for insects who are ahead of the match.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Perhaps the groundhog saw its shadow; perhaps it didn’t. In any event, the snow and ice will melt think of the occasion such as a rainbow, a promise of renewal and hope.

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