February Plant Tip: Prune, Prep & Plan

By Derron Schronce, DSBG Horticulturist

February can be a challenging month for the gardener…We don’t know what kind of weather to expect, we are anxious and eager for those first signs of spring, and thoughts turn to longer days of warmth and sun. And so, this month is the perfect time for what I refer to as “The 3 P’s”…Prune, Prep, and Plan!

PRUNE: Trees and shrubs, both ornamentals and fruit. This can include the cutting back of ornamental grasses as well. Rejuvenate large, outgrown holly shrubs with a hard pruning. Be sure to practice proper pruning techniques for various shrubs and trees, which will help to ensure healthy growth, development and performance.

PREP: Replace mulch as needed, and make a visual check of beds for plants that may have heaved. Start seeds of cool season vegetables and flowers. Are all your cutting tools sharp, blades cleaned, moving parts oiled? Be on the lookout for dead, damaged, diseased wood in trees and shrubs. Remove old, heavy, wet leaf debris from garden beds.

PLAN: Envision and map out your new vegetable plot, perennial bed, or that new shade garden you’ve been thinking of. Arrange garden pots and containers to get fresh ideas for new and unique plantings. Peruse seed catalogs, visit and investigate local nurseries, check out online resources for new cultivars and unique varieties of your favorite plants, trees and shrubs.

Remember, the month of February is the gateway to spring! Fresh ideas, fresh approach, and perhaps a refreshed perspective of your garden…don’t hesitate to make some changes and mix it up this year! Happy gardening!

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Debra Plosky