Garden tasks for February
What to do this month:
This information is intended as a general guide only. Local conditions can vary and seasonal variations need to be taken into account. If in doubt, ask a horticulturist at your local nursery or garden centre. Go here for more information on climate zones.
- Encourage new flowers and foliage growth by picking roses from the garden for an indoor display. Tidy up by trimming back lightly to improve the visual look, but don’t prune heavily.
- Mulch well around rose bushes with cow manure topped-up with lucerne straw as this will not only protect their roots, but will also feed the plants slowly at the same time.
- Prune back fruiting trees after they have been harvested and only compost the disease-free shredded prunings.
- Avoid tough and inedible vegetables by watering them regularly to avoid heat stress during hot, dry conditions.
- Look out for signs of leaf spot, mildew and rot which frequently occur when conditions are humid. Check roses for black spot, as they are prone to this fungal problem at this time of year.
- Remove weeds to improve air circulation around the base of plants, especially roses.
- Use a general fungicide or remove leaves quickly from affected plants to prevent further spread.
- Avoid the spread of fungal spores by removing and destroying any affected foliage.
- Practice good garden hygiene as an effective preventative measure as this is better than resorting to chemical controls.
- Prune back spring-flowering shrubs using clean, sharp secateurs.
- Prune hydrangeas by removing the spent flowers back to two plump buds, then cutting out any dead or spindly wood.
- Mulch plants with well-rotted manure to provide a nutrient boost and help prevent weed growth.
- Cut back rampant climbers, such as wisteria, to prevent their tendrils becoming invasive and to promote healthier growth.
- Stake tall-growing autumn-flowering perennials to protect them from damage during windy storms.
- Fertilise plants as this very hot and wet month can result in nutrients being leached out of soils due to heavy rain.
- Use an organic mulch of manure and straw to provide a slow-release feed, and to help improve soil structure and drainage.
- Watch out for fruit fly on vegetables such as tomatoes and capsicum; careful hygiene is a good preventative measure. Check the plants daily and remove any diseased or affected fruit, spraying if necessary.
- Stake out large-growing dahlias or chrysanthemums so that as they gain height and weight, they won’t be damaged by bad weather conditions. Position stakes as unobtrusively as possible or use perennial cradles, which are more attractive supports.