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February Organic Maintenance


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FEBRUARY

Plant*:

  • Trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines and perennials. One of the best planting months.
  • 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, hardy hibiscus, asters, mums and salvias.
  • All planting areas and turf with a natural-organic fertilizer at approximately twenty pounds per thousand square feet. If the soil is already healthy, the rate can be reduced to ten pounds per thousand square feet. For preemergent weed control, apply corn gluten meal at twenty pounds per thousand square feet. It has to be applied before the weed seed germinate.
  • New organic gardeners can apply dry molasses at twenty pounds per thou- sand square feet. It gives fertilizer value and helps run off fire ants.
  • Cool-season flowers with earthworm castings, fishmeal, cottonseed meal, alfalfa, bat guano, or other organic fertilizers at ten to twenty pounds per thousand square feet.
  • Spray growing plants with Garrett Juice. Drench root zone of newly planted or transplanted plants.
  • Treat problem areas with compost and compost tea.
  • Feed interior plants with coffee grounds and Garrett Juice.


Prune:

  • Shade and ornamental trees lightly (if necessary) to remove 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 percent to encourage 45° angle growth. Grapes, by 80-90 percent. Other fruit trees as needed. Pecans need little to no pruning. Do not prune crape myrtles 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 as needed. 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 and Persian ivy. Asian jasmine can be mowed to maintain low neat appearance.
  • Remove ground covers from bases of trees to expose the soil and root flares. Remove soil from root flares if needed. Homeowners can do the work with stiff brushes or hand tools if great care is taken.
  • Remove invasive plants such as privet, non-native honeysuckle, briars and poison ivy.


Water:

  • Winter annuals and any other dry soil areas as needed. Turf areas should be watered every few weeks during drought weather. Potted plants will need the most attention.


Pest Control:

  • INSECTS: Giant bark aphids need no treatment needed 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 “pink bud” stage. See the home page of dirtdoctor.com for a print out of the most current program.
  • DISEASES: Spray Garrett Juice with 16 oz. of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or BioWash added per gallon of spray.


Odd Jobs:

  • Adjust and repair sprinkler systems. 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.
  • 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.


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