Plant: Select ornamentals and trees for adaptability,
permanence and durability, not just for fast growth. February
is the month to begin spring gardens with crops such as asparagus,
beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower (transplants only),
Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce (leafy), mustard, onion
plants, Irish potatoes, radish, spinach and turnip. A good method
of getting the jump on the normal spring season is to grow portable
transplants of recommended tomato and pepper varieties. For specific
Try the virus-resistant tomato variety named 'Tomato 444'. Use
disease-free transplants of recommended short-day onion varieties
such as 1015Y, Granex (Vidalia) and Grano. Onion transplants can
be mail-ordered from http://dixondalefarms.com/
if plants cannot be found in local nurseries. Use a pre-plant
application of a slow-release fertilizer analysis at the rate
of 3 pounds per 100 square feet of planting area. This is the
ideal month to plant roses; be sure to include a 'Belinda's Dream'
rose in your planting.
Prune: Finish pruning started in January in
February. Do any major fruit or ornamental tree and shrub pruning.
Spring pruning of roses in South Central Texas is normally done
between the third week of February and-the first week of March.
A complete explanation of rose pruning and best varieties for
South Central Texas can be found at:
"Scalp" the lawn late in the month to remove winter-killed
stubble. Set the mower down one or two notches. Remove browned
tissues from Asian jasmine, liriope and mondograss. Reshape lanky
nandinas by pruning the tallest one-third of canes back to within
2 inches of the ground. New shoots will fill in from beneath.
Fertilize: February is the ideal time to fertilize
healthy trees. A simple calculation is based on trunk diameter
- use one pound of a high nitrogen fertilizer (slow-release type
such as 19-5-9) per inch diameter of tree trunk. Spread the fertilizer
evenly throughout under the drip zone of the tree. Fertilize evergreen
trees, such as live oak, at the rate of 1-3 pounds of nitrogen
per 1,000 square feet of root area. One pound of nitrogen is equivalent
to 8 pounds of 13-13-13. Fertilize deciduous trees (oaks, cypress)
at the rate of 3-6 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Fertilize
winter bedding plants such as pansies, snapdragons, calendulas,
dianthus with a complete-and-balanced fertilizer at 1 pound per
square feed of bed area. Wait at least another month to fertilize
On the Lookout: Wait for a time period which
will ensure temperatures above freezing for at least 48 hours
to apply a dormant oil spray to euonymus, hollies, oaks, pines,
pecans, and fruit trees which are prone to scale. To prevent damage,
cover any actively growing flowering annuals or overseeded lawn
areas to avoid contact with the dormant oil spray. Follow label
directions carefully to ensure good results without damage. Apply
pre-emergent herbicide such as Team, Betasan, Balan, Amaze Grass
& Weed Preventor, PreM, Surflan, A.S., Weed & Grass Preventor,
or Weed Stoppere to prevent crabgrass and grassburs. Apply broadleaf
weed killer on warm days to eliminate henbit, chickweed, dandelions,
clover and non-grassy weeds. For the complete prevention program
for grassburs (sandburs) see:
Odd Jobs: If you want to treat for ball moss,
February is the idea month. Ball moss does not kill trees. Divide
summer-, fall-blooming perennials, including cannas, mallows,
fall asters, mums, coneflowers, lythrum and perennial salvias
before growth begins.
February Calendar by Dr. Tom Harris
· Do not cut back the daffodils until the leaves turn brown.
It doesn't matter with tulips. They are an annual here.
· Lightly fertilize pansies again this month for continued
·Begin planting gladiolus every two weeks for a long season
of blooms. Also plant amaryllis, Tigridias, Montbretia and dahlias.
Continue planting roses, shrubs and trees.
Shade Trees and Shrubs
· Dig the hole as deep as the container and 2-3 times as
wide. Add back the native soil with no more than 10 percent additional
organic matter and cover with 3 inches of mulch. Consider cedar
elm, Chinese pistache, bur oaks, Montezuma cypress, Arizona cypress,
Monterrey oak, and desert willow for planting. Water deeply once
· Use oak leaves for mulch in the gardens or add them
to the compost pile.
· Use Bt to control caterpillars on mountain laurel.
· Wait until they finish blooming to prune spring-flowering
· Perk up your garden with the addition of rotted manure
or compost. Two to four inches spread over the surface and tilled
to a depth of 8-12 inches will improve the spring garden.