Horticulture Tips for February

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Consider the following Tips for your February landscape.
  • If you haven’t done so recently, take a close look around your landscape for accumulated leaves. Tall fescue lawns (especially) can deteriorate when leaves become matted down. While it is not crucial to remove all the leaves, at least rake them around so the turfgrass can get some air and a bit of light.
  • February is the time to control those pesky winter weeds. Herbicide control is much more effective if an application can be made before explosive spring growth occurs. See OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6601 Broadleaf Weed Control for Weeds in Oklahoma (PDF/Mobile) and Fact Sheet HLA-6421 Controlling Weeds in Home Lawns (PDF/Mobile). As always, remember that all pesticides are only effective if used properly. Always follow label directions and do not hesitate to call the Payne County Extension office if you have questions concerning proper use.
  • Winter tree pruning should be completed as soon as possible. February is NOT the time to prune most shrubs. Spring flowering shrubs such as flowering quince, forsythia, winter honeysuckle, and winter jasmine all bloom on last year’s growth. Wait until these plants have completed their spring flowering before pruning or cutting back. If you are really itching for spring to be here, clip a few of these twigs off now, drop them in a vase, and enjoy spring color indoors a few weeks early.
  • Ornamental grasses and grass-like Liriope should be cut back in February. These plants share a common trait that deserves mention. The leaves that develop will remain on the plant throughout the growing season. If you wait until spring growth has started and remove the tip of the leaf, the plant will look bad all season. Look closely before pruning and clip just above the growing point of the new leaves.
  • Delay pruning for summer flowering shrubs such as crape myrtles and roses until they begin to break bud. This allows you to assess the winter damage (If any) so you can prune as needed.
  • Dormant oil, an old standard for controlling some pests in ornamental and fruit trees, should be applied before buds begin to break. See Fact Sheet EPP-7306 Ornamental and Lawn Pest Control for Homeowners.
  • Cool season vegetables like carrots, lettuce, peas, potatoes, and cabbage can be planted about mid-month. See Fact Sheet HLA-6004 Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide (PDF/Mobile). Perennial garden crops such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, asparagus and grapes should also be planted towards the end of the month. While blueberries and raspberries can be grown successfully in our area, Payne County is far from their ideal climate so you can expect some challenges.

For more information on this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at
keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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