Horticulture Tips for February

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Before we talk about this month’s tips, we would like to announce an opportunity for some advanced garden training. The Payne County Extension office is offering a 4-session series “Home Grown: Gardening Success for Payne County”. This class will build on the foundations of our Master Gardener training and will be fine-tuned to the specific interests of the class attendees. For example, we’ll talk about the why behind some of the advice this column provides. Enrollment is limited to the first 25 so please act quickly if you are interested. See our contact info below or look for more information on this page. The class begins on Wednesday evening, February 13th.

  • February is the ideal 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 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 (there is likely to be some this year) so you can prune as needed.
  • 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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