What To Do In The Garden In February

Although gardening activity in February may not be so frenetic as during the summer months, there's still plenty to be done and here at the Garden Centre we are already receiving new stock in readiness for spring which is just around the corner. David Coton suggests the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.

Created by David Coton on Monday, 29th of January, 2018.


You may have taken a break from gardening over recent weeks but in February its definitely time to get back outside.

Clear Any Snow 

If we do have snow, don't let it remain on trees or shrubs as the weight might break delicate or weak branches and stems. Brush or shake it off and bank up soil around the shrubs to add a little extra strength. Check any stakes and ties for any winter damage or slippage.

When the ground isn’t frozen, plant bare rooted hedges and trees, shrubs and roses. Soak before planting and sprinkle mycorrhizal fungi over the roots to encourage a really effective root system. Follow up with a mulch to assist moisture retention.

Don't tread over your vegetable plot if it's too wet, but you can use a plank to stand on in order not to compact the soil. Spread organic matter so that worms can work it into the earth and dig in any green manure, don't let it go to seed. 

If you haven't done so already, clean out and tidy up the greenhouse. Use a soap and water or a sterilizing liquid. Seed trays and pots should also be cleaned thoroughly.

Pruning and Thining

Prune autumn fruiting raspberries close to the ground. Summer fruiting raspberries, blackberries an loganberries will have formed new canes last season, so make sure these are tied onto supports and cut old canes out completely.

Prune summer flowering clematis to the lowest pair of strong buds. This will encourage bushy growth and prevent it from becoming top heavy with a bare base. Also prune dogwoods hard for new growth and the best colour next winter, willows, elders and lavatera can receive the same treatment.

Mop-headed hydrangeas flower on the previous year's wood, only old wood should be thinned out by a third to encourage vigorous new stems and remove dead, diseased and damaged stems. 

Remove any damaged or old stems from roses and any stems that are congesting the middle of the bush. On hybrid roses cut back stems to about four buds, on floribundas not quite so hard. For climbers, prune back side shoots to two buds. Always use using sloping cuts with a sharp pair of secateurs.

Treat hedges like old friends and give them some attention. Clear away any weeds and a lay down a compost mulch every year with a dusting of good general fertilizer. Regular trimming will keep them neat and also encourage compact growth. Make sure there is a camber or 'batter' on each side of the top that allows light in and deflects rain and enables snow to be more easily brushed off before any damage is done to the shape. If the hedge is more informal, cut out dead or old branches to encourage new growth and improve shape.

It's worth inspecting variegated plants and ornamental trees to see if there is any reversion, prune out the offending stems, this won't cure the problem but will keep it under control.

Prepare For Spring

If you have left the skeletons of last year’s perennials in the ground, now is the time to cut them down close to the crown of the plant before any new shoots appear.

Clear the space around plants, picking out any weeds and mulch with about 2 - 3 ins of organic matter. Mulching will seal in moisture, warm up the soil, and, when worms work it in, feed the soil with goodness. Do not mulch over weeds and any that take their chance can easily be removed.

Buy seed potatoes for next year's crop and start chitting in egg boxes. If left in the light at about 50F each tuber should produce three – four strong shoots. What you don't need are lanky pale shoots that are produced in a dark, warm environment.

Instead of complaining about the lack of colour currently in the garden, order this year's seeds and plants from those colourful catalogues and websites that promise so much. With good weather and hard work the produce so well photographed can be yours.

Towards the end of the month warm up the soil with either cloches or polythene. It will be then be welcoming for planting out seedlings. Slower growing hardy annuals and perennials can be started off on a window sill or in an unheated greenhouse, and sow summer bedding such as petunias, geraniums and verbena in a propagator to be planted out In May.

Sow summer bedding such as petunias, geraniums and verbena in a propagator to be planted out In May.

Pond Maintenance

February is more often than not the coldest month of the year and you need to make sure you've taken measures to prevent your pond and live stock from suffering.

You should always keep an eye on the water level and if needed top up the pond to ensure that the depth of the pond is the maximum it can be. This helps prevent the pond from freezing solid, as shallow water can easily freeze completely into a block of ice causing fatalities for fish and plant life.

Keep a check on the weather forecast and if your pond is liable to freeze over, you will need to keep a small area free from ice with a pond heater. It will heat up just enough to keep a small gap open in the water allowing vital oxygen to enter and harmful gases to exit the pond.

Pond heaters are available in many sizes from a small 150 watt heater to some larger 2kw heaters, of course the one you choose will depend on the size of your pond and budget you have available.

Turn Off Your Waterfall

There will be no point in running a waterfall at this time of year as it will be subject to freezing and that could cause your pond pump to burn out due to back pressure. Your best bet would be to raise the pump off the bottom of the pond if you haven't already and bypass the waterfall but leave your biological filter connected as it needs moving water to survive.

Biological filters will become mechanical filters below 4ºC because the bacteria cannot normally survive below this temperature. Mechanical filtration is better than no filtration of course and the moving water will be oxygenated, keeping the remaining bacteria alive in the pond and helping fish to survive.

Do Not Feed Fish

At this time of the year your fish will most likely be right at the bottom of the pond in the deepest part hibernating. Leave them well alone and do not feed them as their digestive system will have shut down, any food they eat will break down inside their intestines causing harmful internal bacteria to form.

Towards the end of the month I would advise testing the water using a pond test kit as the rising temperatures will promote the break down of organic matter in the water, this can lead to water quality problems and these will only get worse if not treated early.

 

Related Articles

What To Do In The Garden In January

What To Do In The Garden In January

Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Friday, 29th of December, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In October

What To Do In The Garden In October

In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 2nd of October, 2017.

Party Night with Forest Garden Products at Hampton Court

Party Night with Forest Garden Products at Hampton Court

Robert Hall was recently invited to the party night at Hampton Court as part of Forest Garden Products demonstration event. There they presented their exciting new gardening products, some of which are available now to purchase on GardenSite and others coming relatively soon ready for the next season.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Tuesday, 4th of July, 2017.

Supplier Spotlight: Forest Garden at Hampton Court Flower Show

Supplier Spotlight: Forest Garden at Hampton Court Flower Show

As a yearly visitor to the Hampton Court Flower Show, I'll be enjoying much of the show's inspiration and fabulous florals this year, but I'm equally excited to see the fantastic gardening range provided by Forest Garden Products.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Friday, 23rd of June, 2017.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

David Coton

Partner at GardenSite

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Planned Gardening Programmes 2018

Planned Gardening Programmes 2018

There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, tips and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2018.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 13th of February, 2018.

What To Do In The Garden In January

What To Do In The Garden In January

Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Friday, 29th of December, 2017.

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Arthur Terry Winter Concert

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Arthur Terry Winter Concert

Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 21st of December, 2017.

New Street Station Christmas Tree And Selfie Competition

New Street Station Christmas Tree And Selfie Competition

It was quite an honour for GardenSite to be asked to supply the Christmas Tree to Birmingham New Street Station this year, and to celebrate we're offering a Champagne High Tea to the winners of a seasonal selfie competition.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 19th of December, 2017.