February is here, and it’s time to get ready for spring!

bulbsFebruary begins to herald the change to spring here in North Texas, and while we often get some of our hardest freezes in February it’s also the time when your garden will begin to wake up. Most plants use a combination of available sunlight, as the days grow longer, as well as soil temperature to decide when to come out of dormancy. Now is also the time to begin planning your spring garden. But what needs to be done now?

This is the perfect time to prune woody trees and shrubs, except for oaks, while they are still dormant. Any remaining ornamental grasses and perennials should also get a trim to be ready for spring, although there are some exceptions: plants like wisteria set their buds in the fall and should not be trimmed until later in the spring after flowering. If there are any deadfall, loose brush, or annuals that have run their course, it is time to do a deep cleaning in your garden and pull all that out. It’s not too late to plant new trees and shrubs, but it’s wise to prune by as much as 50% (depending on species) them when they are planted. Nandinas, for example, whether new or existing should be severely pruned back with the tallest canes taken back all the way to ground level. This will encourage more bushy growth and prevent them from becoming too leggy.

If you are starting anything from seed they should be planted indoors for now so that they are ready for planting when the soil temperature warms up a bit. Certain perennials should also be planted, or at least get them ready to be planted, such as mallows, gloriosas, fall asters and salvias. Cool season annuals can also be swapped out for iceland poppies, larkspur, and sweet alyssum.

Pruning and trimmingYou can begin to fertilize your trees and shrubs right now, but hold off a little bit on any cold-sensitive plants. They should wait until late March or just before Easter before being fertilized. By the same token your lawns should be scalped, fertilized (depending on the species, it’s still to early to fertilize your warm weather lawns such as St. Augustine) and possibly amend with peat moss towards the end of this month. If possible, make sure to bag the clippings and use it in your compost or as mulch. Remove any winter seeds and start looking to use a pre-emergent weed killer later this month or in early March depending on the weather. If you need to aerate your lawn to help reduce soil compaction this is a good time for that as well.

Remember that we can get hard freezes even through late March and early April, so try not to get overeager and be prepared to use frost cloth to protect your sensitive plants from early spring cold snaps. This is an exciting time of year for gardeners as the warmth of spring is just barely in sight. Consult your local nursery to see what plants are in stock and appropriate to be planted right now, and don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call for a consultation specific to your garden goals.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Maybe you just need a helping hand to protect sensitive plants from freeze and frost. Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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