What to do in your garden in February

Sunset

PLANTING

Blueberries. These healthful berries come on plants prettyenough to grow as shrubs, hedges, or container specimens. Pottedplants are available in many nurseries this month. In lowerelevations, look for a variety that needs little winter chill, like'Georgia Gem', 'Misty', 'O'Neal', or 'Sunshine Blue'. Beforeplanting, amend the soil generously with peat moss to raise soilpH. Or grow the plant in a container filled with an azalea-camelliaplanting mix.

Rabbitproof color. There are, believe it or not, floweringplants that rabbits dislike. If bunnies are eating most of yourblossoms, try growing these plants: agapanthus, catmint, daylilies,euphorbia, feverfew, gazanias, lantana, monkey flowers,nasturtiums, pelargonium, penstemons, salvia, society garlic, andvinca.

Summer bulbs. In coastal and inland gardens, continue toplant caladium, callas, cannas, gladiolus, nerine, Oriental lilies,tuberous begonias, and other summer-flowering bulbs. Summer crops.In the low desert ( Sunset climate zone 13), you can plant peppers, tomatoes,and other warm-season crops late this month. But be prepared toprotect seedlings from late frost by covering with row covers orhot caps.

Winter crops. In coastal, inland, and high desert gardens(zones 22?24, 18?21, and 11, respectively), you can still plantcabbage-family crops like broccoli from nursery starters or beginbeets, carrots, celery, onions, peas, and turnips from seed. Orgrow quick, leafy crops that will be ready to harvest in 20 to 45days, such as arugula, leaf lettuces, radish leaf, spinach, andupland cress.

MAINTENANCE

Dormant pruning. Before new growth emerges, prune deciduousfruit and ornamental trees, grape and wisteria vines, roses, andwoody, summer-blooming shrubs such as butterfly bush, fuchsia, Lavatera thuringiaca, and Mexican bush sage. Wait to prunespring-flowering shrubs such as azaleas and camellias until afterbloom. Don't prune hibiscus or other subtropicals; it's still toocold to encourage new growth.

Fertilize. Feed groundcovers, shrubs, perennials, trees, andother permanent plants with a slow-release fertilizer such asbonemeal, cottonseed meal, or well-rotted manure to provide gradualnutrition throughout the season. Or scatter a granular completefertilizer. Also feed cool-season lawns such as tall fescue. And ifyou live within 10 miles of the coast, fertilize avocado and citrustrees.

PEST AND WEED CONTROL

Manage ants on citrus. To keep aphids, mealybugs, and othersucking insects under control on citrus trees, stop the ants thatfeed on the aphids' honeydew. To keep trees free of ants, wrap thelower trunk with a thick strip of cloth, cover the cloth withplastic wrap, then apply a sticky pest barrier such as TreeTanglefoot Pest Barrier. Renew the plastic and the coating everyfew weeks.

Stop weeds. To prevent weed seeds from germinating, apply acorn gluten-based product like Concern Weed Prevention Plus toflower beds and mixed borders; it won't harm existing plants. Alsoapply it to warm-season turfgrasses like Bermuda and St. Augustineto prevent the emergence of crabgrass and other annual weeds.

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