February Gardening Tips

Cut branches of early blooming shrubs and trees to force inside. The earliest blooming plants, such as Forsythia, Witch Hazel and Pussy Willow can be forced in February, but it is better to wait until March for Serviceberry, Crabapple, Magnolia and Redbuds. Choose a day when the temperatures are above freezing and select branches with buds that are round and plump. Be careful to remove only branches that won't harm the shape of the plant. It is preferable to cut a branch all the way to where it joins another branch, rather than cutting a branch partway along its length. Place the branches in a container of water, mist them with a spray bottle several times a day and change the water daily.

February is a good time to service your lawn mower, sharpen tools, and start planning for tree health care needs.

Towards the end of the month, begin to prune fruit trees and shrubs. Prune to provide strong limbs, good air circulation and exposure to sun. Fruit trees should have well-spaced scaffold branches along either a central trunk or a vase shape. Remove 1/3 of older growth of berry bushes. If growing ever-bearing, you can cut the entire plant down low to the ground.

Hellebore and Witch Hazel could be in bloom by the end of the month.

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