15 Duties To Do in February For a Thriving Spring Backyard

As winter provides technique to hotter climate, February presents an important window of alternative for backyard duties that can lay the groundwork for a flourishing spring. This month is the proper time to organize for the upcoming rising season by pruning perennial vegetation, nourishing your soil, and making ready vegetable seeds. 

Even when a lot of the panorama nonetheless appears to be asleep, February backyard chores could make or break your spring success. It’s a good time to take hardwood cuttings whereas timber are nonetheless dormant. The absence of leaves additionally permits you to clearly see the place to prune to encourage robust flower and fruit manufacturing. On the similar time, it’s vital to scrub backyard particles to stop illness and completely mulch your pathways and beds to stop early spring weeds

Seize your finest mud boots, and let’s dig into 15 backyard duties you received’t need to skip this February.

What Backyard Chores Ought to I Do In February?

February is a pivotal month for gardeners to organize for spring by pruning fruit timber, propagating perennials, transplanting naked root vegetation, beginning seeds indoors, sharpening backyard instruments, cleansing plant particles, and stopping points with weeds and ailments. 

An important backyard chores are those that straight affect your yields. For instance, if you happen to overlook to prune dormant fruit timber or shield early blossoms, you could miss out in your favourite apples, cherries, or plums. Equally, if you happen to neglect to scrub up withered plant particles, fungal pathogens might trigger illness points later within the season.

15 Vital Duties for a Thriving Spring Backyard

Spring gardening doesn’t really start on your final frost date; it begins many weeks earlier than when the climate remains to be chilly, and there should still be snow on the bottom. The timing of those duties will fluctuate primarily based in your rising zone and the whims of this 12 months’s climate.

It could take a bit extra effort to place in your winter backyard gear. Nonetheless, skipping these chores in late winter and early spring might trigger extra issues when spring comes round.

Prune Fruit Timber

Close-up of a gardener's hands in multi-colored gloves pruning the branches of a fruit tree in a sunny garden. She trims the branches using black pruning shears.
At all times prune fruit timber for shaping and stronger yields.

Essentially the most important process for February gardeners is fruit tree pruning. When you didn’t prune your timber in January, you completely must get it completed this month. February is a perfect time for shaping fruit timber and selling stronger yields as a result of the timber are nonetheless dormant and leafless. Nonetheless, in case your fruit timber haven’t but produced buds, it may be tough to inform the place to chop them for essentially the most advantages. Test together with your native extension workplace for regional and varietal-specific pruning info. 

That is the prime time to form your timber and prepare them in case you are rising an espalier, for instance. Because the harshest a part of winter is over, pruning presently ensures that the tree can shortly heal the pruning wound utilizing its early spring surge of vitality. 

It’s additionally vital to take away useless or diseased branches to stop the unfold of pathogens within the heat, moist climate of spring. February is often nonetheless chilly sufficient to attenuate illness unfold whereas pruning. The timber are completely “hardened” and certain healed any open wounds, making it harder for pathogens to enter the bark.

Bear in mind to use sharp, sanitized instruments. Lengthy-handled loppers, pruning saws, and a pair of hand pruners are perfect candidates for the job.

Shield Fruit Blossoms

Close-up of a fruit tree wrapped in white cloth to protect it from frost in the garden. There is a green lawn around the tree and several green benches stand against a blurred background.
Early blooming in February can result in fruit loss from late frost.

In areas with unpredictable spring climate, typically a burst of sudden heat can set off fruit timber to flower as early as February. This will appear thrilling, however it could really be devastating to fruit yields if a late frost happens within the weeks after blooming begins.

Citrus timber are notably fragile, however this will also be a serious problem with peaches, cherries, apples, plums, blueberries, pears, and even strawberries.

If flower buds or open flowers are uncovered to freezing temperatures, they could wither and fall from the plant, which implies they may produce little to no fruit.

To guard fruit blossoms from late spring freezes, you may:

  • Make a protecting A-frame tent or low-tunnel with wooden or PVC and a plastic greenhouse cowl
  • Wrap a number of layers of row cowl across the budding stems
  • Use a big frost safety cowl for an entire shrub or younger tree
  • Use burlap to cowl the tree and lure heat air
  • Place a cloche or critter cowl frost blanket over low-growing vegetation like strawberries

If this can be a common drawback in your space, contemplate planting extra late-blooming varieties and rising your fruiting vegetation near a constructing or sun-facing brick wall that may lure extra radiant warmth. 

In a last-ditch effort to save lots of fruit buds and blooms from a late frost, you may flip in your sprinklers in a single day and moist the tree. This will heat the world and probably create an insulative layer of ice (severely!) over the flower buds. The skinny movie of ice will hold the tree proper at 32°F (0°C) so the frigid temperatures outdoors don’t harm the blossoms. You may flip the sprinklers off at dawn because the temperatures rise.

Prune Perennial Ornamentals

Close-up of a gardener's hand in a white glove pruning a hydrangea branch in a winter garden. Hydrangea has vertical, strong brown stems at the tops of which there are spherical inflorescences of dry brown four-petaled flowers.
Pruning ornamentals and herbaceous perennials promotes new progress and flowering.

Along with fruit tree pruning, this is a crucial time to reduce ornamentals to advertise new bushy progress and stimulate extra flower manufacturing. Woody and semi-woody shrubs like rosemary, lavender, hydrangeas, ceanothus, and roses profit from February pruning, relying in your local weather. For shrubs that flower in the summertime, it’s vital to chop them again earlier than new progress begins.

Herbaceous perennials and decorative grasses additionally want pruning presently. When you didn’t reduce useless foliage within the autumn, you’ll want to give your vegetation a pleasant haircut near the bottom to stimulate new progress when the temperatures heat. That is useful for stopping ailments and decreasing the quantity of hiding locations for slugs or rabbits. 

Take away Lifeless Particles from the Backyard

Close-up of a gardener removing plant debris and leaves from the garden. A gardener uses a broom and dustpan to collect dry branches and leaves. She puts debris into a wheeled cart filled with dry leaves.
Clear backyard particles to stop plant illness unfold earlier than spring heat.

Talking of pruning, it is vitally useful to take away plant particles from the backyard whereas the whole lot remains to be dormant. Fallen fruit tree leaves, outdated stems, withered flowers, rotten tomato suckers, and leftover useless foliage are sometimes breeding grounds for plant ailments because the spring climate warms and rain begins to fall. It may be good to go away some withered plant residues within the backyard as mulch or for wildlife worth over winter, however cleansing the particles in very early spring helps stop pest or illness points.

Bear in mind, essentially the most aggressive plant ailments usually overwinter within the fallen leaves and particles of their host vegetation. If there are not any indicators of illness, you may take useless plant residues to your compost pile. When you discover molds, spores, or spots on fallen plant residues, take them to a burn pile or throw them within the trash. Sanitize your gloves, boots, and wheelbarrows afterward.

Any gardener who has struggled with aggressive pathogens like late blight, powdery mildew, or scab is aware of how devastating these points will be. A correct February clean-up can stop main complications and crop loss down the road. 

Transplant Dormant Perennial Shrubs and Timber

Close-up of a gardener's hands planting a bare-root blackcurrant bush in the soil. This bush has dry, branched roots and a single trunk with rough brown-gray bark. The gardener is wearing black gloves with open fingertips.
Transplanting dormant perennials in cool, moist soil permits simpler settling.

In case your backyard soil is workable, this month is a superb time to transplant dormant and bare-root perennials. Whether or not you bought them at a nursery or propagated them your self, perennial vegetation are possible nonetheless dormant of their pots. This implies there is no such thing as a seen progress on the plant. 

For herbaceous vegetation, they could look useless as a result of their progress is concentrated within the roots. Semi-woody and woody vegetation might seem like naked twigs. Both means, dormant transplants have a a lot simpler time settling into their new house whereas the climate remains to be cool and moist. 

With so many various kinds of perennial backyard vegetation, these common guidelines of thumb are useful for figuring out one of the best planting time:

  • Spring-blooming and summer-blooming perennials must be transplanted within the fall.
  • If the plant blooms in late summer season or fall, transplant it within the spring.

Any time you might be transplanting a perennial, do not forget that it wants at the least 4-6 weeks of progress earlier than any main stress occasion, comparable to intense summer season warmth or the primary fall frost. A beneficiant layer of mulch and ample water will assist vegetation regulate shortly.

Typically, the size of the rising season in your area is a greater indicator of when to plant than the bloom time. If you understand your fall is longer and milder than spring, plant then.

Take Hardwood Cuttings

Close-up of several grape cuttings planted in plastic bottles filled with soil. Cuttings of grapes are slender, woody stems. The appearance of grape cuttings is characterized by their brownish bark, with visible scars from previous growth, and several young leaves. Grape leaves are large, heart-shaped leaves with a distinctive appearance characterized by their smooth, shiny texture and deep green color.
Use hardwood cuttings of dormant vegetation for propagation earlier than spring progress.

Propagation is yet another process to contemplate earlier than your perennial timber and shrubs burst their buds in spring. When vegetation are nonetheless dormant, you may take hardwood cuttings to root in your greenhouse and develop new vegetation. This is a superb technique to propagate your favourite styles of fruit timber and woody vines like kiwi or grape.

To propagate a plant with hardwood cuttings:

  1. Discover twigs which are about pencil thickness
  2. Make sure the stems are from the present season’s wooden (one-year-old progress)
  3. Discover the junction the place one-year-old progress joins the two-year-old wooden
  4. The bottom of the stem could have a node and extra dormant buds to turn into roots
  5. Use sharp, sanitized pruners to take cuttings 6-10” lengthy, leaving at the least ¼” beneath the bottom bud
  6. Use a pointy knife to scrape off the bark of the underside finish of the bud
  7. Dip the underside of every chopping in a rooting hormone to stimulate faster root progress
  8. Insert cuttings right into a potting combine or a 50/50 mix of peat moss and sand
  9. Depart ¼ to ⅓ of the chopping uncovered above the soil line
  10. Preserve steady dampness, however don’t overwater
  11. Place cuttings in a greenhouse, chilly body, or shiny windowsill
  12. Wait a number of weeks to months till you see seen progress, then up-pot or transplant

Fortuitously, if you happen to don’t have time to propagate in February, you may all the time wait to take softwood cuttings as soon as new progress emerges in March and April.

Clear, Restore, and Sharpen Backyard Instruments

Close-up of a gardener in gloves sharpening a pruner using a black whetstone in the garden. Secateurs are blue with red elements. The whetstone is rectangular in shape and black in color. The gloves are green with white polka dots.
Sanitize and sharpen gardening instruments for spring season preparation.

All this pruning and chopping must be a poignant reminder of the significance of sharp, clear instruments. As your backyard slowly wakes up from winter, it’s a good time to scrub out your software shed and put together your instruments for a protracted season of use. You may:

  • Use a sharpening stone to sharpen pruners, scissors, and knives
  • Test that the blades of your hoes and shovels are sharp and away from particles
  • Restore any damaged handles, {hardware}, or wheelbarrows
  • Sanitize your propagation supplies, together with seed beginning pots and domes, with a diluted bleach spray
  • Clear your greenhouse or develop mild tables
  • Set up potting mixes and soil blends in containers
  • Test that fertilizer and compost bins are sealed and protected from pests
  • Restore any damaged raised beds or construct new raised beds

These duties are a lot simpler to do in late winter earlier than your vegetation begin rising and require way more consideration.

Begin Chilly-Season Greens Indoors 

Close-up of a man planting seeds in a seed starter tray on a wooden table, in a bright room. The gardener is wearing a beige T-shirt. The starting tray is made of peat and has several cells filled with soil. In his hand he holds tiny tomato seeds.
Sow seeds indoors in February for early vegetable planting outdoor.

Even when your final frost date is a few months away, a number of greens profit from a head begin indoors round February. Sowing these seeds in cell trays will guarantee you’ve wholesome, thriving seedlings to transplant outdoor round your final frost date. This will prevent some huge cash on the nursery and prevent quite a lot of time within the backyard. 

Make sure to create a correct seed-starting setup earlier than you plant all of your favourite varieties of their containers. When you don’t have a greenhouse, a shiny south-facing window or a shelf with develop lights will do. Don’t overlook the well-drained seed beginning combine and sturdy seed beginning trays with drainage holes. A germination heating mat is a bonus for warm-weather crops.

Listed below are some seeds to start out indoors this month:

  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes (zones 7 and hotter)
  • Peppers (zones 7 and hotter)
  • Perennial herbs

Beginning seeds indoors is especially vital for gardeners with quick rising seasons the place some crops battle to yield earlier than fall’s frosts arrive. Make sure to verify your seed packets and depend backward out of your final frost date to get the timing proper. 

For instance, most brassicas (cabbage-family crops) must be sown indoors 6-8 weeks earlier than the final frost date. When you backyard in zone 6 and your final frost date is across the first week of April, early February is the proper time to seed kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli in your greenhouse or underneath develop lights.

If Soil is Workable, Direct Seed Chilly-Hardy Crops

Close-up of spinach seeds sown in a trench in the soil in the garden. Spinach seeds are small, irregular in shape, light beige-brown in color. The soil is dry, loose, black-brown in color.
Thawed soil means it’s time to sow cold-hardy crops outdoor.

In some zones, your backyard soil might already be thawed out and able to go! The time period “workable soil” merely means that you would be able to put your arms in your backyard beds as a result of the bottom is now not frozen. If so, you might be all set to direct sow cold-hardy crops for further early harvests of scrumptious roots and greens.

Listed below are some cold-hardy crops that may germinate in soils as cool as 40°F (4°C):

  • Mache (corn salad)
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Claytonia
  • Watercress
  • Radish
  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Rhubarb (crowns)

Use a soil thermometer probe to verify the soil temperatures earlier than sowing. If you wish to heat the soil sooner, think about using a black plastic tarp to draw extra late winter solar rays. You can even develop in raised beds with a cloche, low tunnel, row cowl, or a chilly body to lure further heat.

Plan Your Vegetable Backyard Calendar

Close-up of a gardener writing notes on clipboard note paper indoors. The gardener writes with a pencil. On the table is a starter kit for sowing seeds: peat pots, soil mixture and a green watering can.
Draft your backyard with a seed-sowing spreadsheet for optimum success.

If there may be nonetheless a layer of shiny white snow protecting your backyard, don’t fret! You may nonetheless get your gardening repair by planning your vegetable progress calendar. Whether or not you’re a pastime gardener or commercial-scale natural farmer (like I used to be), crop planning is an absolute recreation changer for maximizing your vegetable yields. It’s a lot simpler to keep organized and monitor your seed-sowing dates when you have a roadmap in your backyard’s success.

One among my favourite methods to plan the backyard is to create a seed-sowing spreadsheet. This may provide help to hold monitor of primary dates and calculations to make sure you sow seeds and transplant seedlings on the correct time. It may possibly additionally provide help to reference your failures and successes to make subsequent season even higher. 

Right here is an instance of what to incorporate on a backyard planning spreadsheet:

Crop Sort Selection Days to Maturity Really useful Seeding Earlier than Final Frost Indoor Seeding Date Transplanting Date
Peppers Megatron Jalapeno 65 6-8 weeks February 10 April 7
Leek King Richard’’ 75 8-10 weeks February 4 April 1

Clear Houseplant Leaves and Test for Pests

Close-up of a woman's hands wiping dust from the leaves of a potted Ficus Audrey indoors with a cotton pad. The Ficus Audrey is distinguished by its large, glossy, oval-shaped leaves with prominent veins and a leathery texture.
Wipe off houseplant leaves to reinforce photosynthesis and verify for pests.

When it’s nonetheless too chilly to go outdoors, there are many gardening duties you are able to do from the coziness of your own home. Houseplant leaves often want a pleasant, mild cleansing after accumulating mud over the winter. You may wipe them with a tender material and water to assist them regain their shine. This may improve photosynthesis as they transfer out of dormancy and take in extra daylight by the home windows.

That is additionally a significant time to verify for pests like thrips, aphids, or mites. Examine underneath the leaves and across the soil floor for indicators of houseplant bugs and determine them earlier than taking any motion. As soon as you understand the precise insect you’re coping with, you may shortly treatment the state of affairs and forestall points as you progress into spring.

Set up Chilly Frames

Close-up of garden cold frames with growing young lettuce plants. Garden cold frames are simple, rectangular structures made of wood with transparent covers, hinged to open and close easily.
Chilly frames are important for maximizing yields in colder seasons.

When you don’t have house for a greenhouse however you continue to need to maximize your yields within the colder seasons, a chilly body is a should! These easy contraptions improve your raised beds into simply accessible mini greenhouses. Most of them are made with wooden and glass or greenhouse plastic.

They embody a hinging mechanism to increase them up for air flow when the climate begins to heat. You may simply shut the frames at night time or within the occasion of an sudden late frost. We’ve got 20 DIY chilly body plans that you would be able to construct in your storage in late winter to organize for an additional early spring begin to the backyard season.

Unfold Compost and Mulch

Close-up of a gardener in a plaid shirt and white gloves spreading compost onto the soil in a raised bed. He scoops up compost from a black plastic bucket. Compost has a soil-like structure and is dark brown in color.
Add compost and mulch in February to stop spring weeds and nourish crops.

As soon as snow and ice have melted, February is an superior time to unfold compost and mulch. It is a essential step in weed prevention as a result of most spring weeds have but to germinate. A thick 4-6” layer of compost over your raised backyard beds will suppress weed progress and nourish early spring crops. Heavy mulch like wooden chips, leaves, straw, or pine needles is ideal for pathways the place you need to stop grass and perennial weeds from taking on.

Benefit from this dormant buffer season to roll your wheelbarrow round, heat up these winter muscle tissue, and rake mulch over any naked backyard surfaces. As a bonus, this can nurture your soil and forestall erosion or mud throughout moist spring climate.

Fill Chook Feeders

Close-up plan of a wooden bird feeder in the form of a house in a winter garden. The feeder is filled with seeds. Great tit eats seeds in a feeder. The roof of the feeder is covered with a layer of snow.
Welcome native creatures by filling chook feeders close to timber or porches.

Wildlife-friendly gardeners ought to actually contemplate how they may welcome native creatures as they emerge from dormancy or migration. Filling your chook feeders can welcome the earliest species again into your backyard for a vibrant feathery present.

I prefer to hold chook feeders close to the porch or again in taller timber to make sure I’m not attracting birds straight to my vegetable beds. If there are any leftover seed heads or berries on my backyard perennials, you may depart them in place or rake them up so as to add to your feeders. 

Chit Your Potatoes

Chitting potatoes, a common practice before planting, are characterized by their appearance of small, sprouted eyes or buds on the surface of the tub potatoers. Closeup of potatoes with small greenish sprouts.
“Chitting” seed potatoes encourages early sprouting for faster yields and emergence.

The time period “chitting” is colloquial for pre-sprouting your seed potatoes. This course of encourages the tubers to ship out their stubby inexperienced shoots to organize for planting. Pre-sprouting potatoes helps them take off extra shortly as soon as they’re within the floor.

It breaks their dormancy to encourage sooner plant emergence and earlier potato yields within the spring. This will jumpstart your potato harvest by as much as 2 weeks! It additionally reduces the danger of rotting your seed potatoes within the floor.

To pre-sprout seed potatoes:

  1. Begin chitting potatoes 1 to three weeks earlier than planting.
  2. First, verify that every seed potato or chunk of potato has 2-10 buds or “eyes” the place they’ll sprout. That is the place the shoots will develop.
  3. Prepare the seed potatoes in a flat single layer over newspaper in a ventilated tray.
  4. Put the potatoes in a heat space with mild, comparable to a windowsill or porch.
  5. Depart them in place for a number of weeks till the soots are ½” to 1” lengthy.
  6. Lanky white shoots are sometimes a sign that there isn’t sufficient mild. The shoots must be deep inexperienced or purple (for pink and purple potato varieties).
  7. Gently deal with chitted potatoes when planting to keep away from breaking off the sprouts.
  8. Plant the seed potatoes with the sprouts going through upwards.

Closing Ideas

Benefit from the dormant limbo land between winter and spring by pruning, cleansing, and making ready your backyard for an plentiful season. Duties like fruit tree pruning, particles removing, and hardwood chopping propagation are perfect whereas vegetation are nonetheless dormant. Cleansing and sanitizing your instruments will stop illness unfold and frustrations later within the spring. 

You may sow many seeds indoors and, in case your soil is workable, direct sow outdoor, so long as you correctly time your plantings primarily based in your estimated final frost date. Don’t overlook to create a backyard calendar to maintain monitor of your planting dates and reference your successes for subsequent 12 months!

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