February Organic Maintenance
- Trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and perennials. One of the best planting months for permanent plants.
- Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, English peas, onions, potatoes, Swiss chard and other cold-tolerant vegetables, and strawberries for harvest next spring.
- Alyssum, calendulas, cannas, daylilies, English daisies, gladiolas, Iceland poppies, larkspur, pansies, petunias, pinks, primroses, snapdragons, and other cool season annuals.
- Fruit trees, grapes, pecans and berries.
Transplant existing landscape plants before the new spring growth begins. Do not trim to thin the plants. The idea that it compensates for root loss is nonsense.
- Divide and transplant crowded summer and fall-blooming perennials such as daisies, coneflowers, asters, mums and salvias.
FIRST MAJOR FERTILIZATION PROGRAM
- All planting areas and turf with a natural-organic fertilizer at approximately 20 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. If the soil is already healthy, the rate can be reduced to 10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
- An ideal choice is dry molasses at 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.
- Cool-season flowers can be fertilized with earthworm castings, fish meal, cottonseed meal, alfalfa, bat guano or other organic fertilizer at 10 - 20 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. in addition to dry molasses if desired.
- Spray and drench plant roots with Garrett Juice Plus and Bio S.I. by Alpha Bio.
- Treat problem areas with ï¿½ inch of compost and whole ground cornmeal at 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.
- Feed interior plants with coffee grounds, earthworm castings, Garrett Juice and other gentle organic products.
- Shade and ornamental trees lightly (if necessary) to remove damaged, dead, diseased, and crossing limbs. Remove limbs that are in the way and those allowing for more light to ground plants. Do not thin out trees for no reason. Do not prune lower limbs of trees, especially newly planted ones. The low limbs and foliage are important for the development of trunk diameter.
Peaches and plums by 40 - 50% to encourage 45ï¿½ angle growth. Grapes by 80 - 90%. Other fruit trees as needed. Pecans need little to no pruning.
Do not prune crape myrtle other than to remove ground sprouts.
- Evergreens and summer flowering plants if necessary. Remove the longest canes on large shrubs to reduce height and maintain a natural appearance.
Bush-form roses. Climbers and roses that bloom only once should be pruned after their primary flowering has ended.
- Winter-damaged foliage from liriope, purple winter creeper, Asian jasmine and other ground covers, except for English, Persian ivy and other easily damaged plants. Asian jasmine can be mowed to maintain a low, neat appearance.
- Remove ground covers from bases of trees to expose the soil and root flares. Remove mulch and soil from root flares if needed. Homeowners can do the work with stiff brooms. Tree care companies should use the air spade.
- Remove invasive plants such as privet, non-native honeysuckle, briars and poison ivy.
Winter annuals and any other dry soil areas every few weeks during drought weather. Potted plants carefully as needed.
- INSECTS: Giant bark aphids need no treatment in most cases.
- Horticultural oil can be sprayed for serious infestations of scale insects. Be sure to keep mixture shaken while using and follow label instructions carefully. Use sparingly if at all. Oil kills beneficials as well as pests.
- If needed, apply beneficial nematodes to help control grub worms, fleas, fire ants and other pests. Remember that most grubs found in the garden are beneficial because they feed on dead organic matter rather than plant roots.
- Start the Fruit and Pecan Tree Program at the ï¿½pink budï¿½ stage.
- Spray full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide or Bio Wash at label directions.
- Adjust and repair sprinkler system.
- Work on drainage problems.
- Sharpen hoes, pruning tools and mower blades.
- Add compost and top-dressing mulch to all bare soil areas. Also add to any unhealthy looking plants, but do not pile on the bases of plants.
- Cover tender plants during freezes with floating row cover.
- Turn the compost pile regularly. Add moisture during dry weather.
- Do not scalp the lawn.
- Feed and water the birds!
*Planting recommendations based on North Texas climate, which is zone 8. Check with your local nurseries and extension service for specific varieties and timing.