February is the reason that I moved to Southern California. After a few years of traveling here on business, and friends that had moved to entice me, the weather was the final punch that knocked me onto the left coast. I love NY don’t get me wrong, but February’s cold and slush can get old and now here I am giving gardening advice to my friends, clients, and fellow garden lovers in February. Lucky me.
1. Rose Pruning – Super bowl Sunday has been a benchmark for me regarding rose pruning. It’s an easy way to remember when to prune here in Southern California (as long as you don’t go by the lawn janitor’s timing). I know, the Giants are playing this year, however I think you can take some time in the morning to prune your roses. Don’t forget to apply that dormant spray!
2. Fruit Trees – You can plant bear root fruit trees and you can even plant citrus, they will benefit from our winter rains (if we ever get any) to help them establish. If you are planting subtropicals (like citrus and others) make sure that you think about frost protection. Leave some room between the trees and sink some 1”x1” wood into the ground on all four sides so you can drape some frost cloth around them should there be frost warnings. Make sure that you cover at night and uncover in the morning so they can get the benefit of the beauteous sunshine we have here! You can also use the Christmas light solution – stringing some around to raise the air temp – but don’t use both methods at the same time; I think the frost cloth is probably combustible!
3. Save Money on Roses – Bare root roses might still be available, buy some now and save a bundle. Once they are in cans they will be pricier! Take a look at my bare root primer post.
4. Don’t Fight the Muck – Buy some new rubber boots or shoes. With the weather we have the stores think that it is springtime and lots of the winter gear is going on sale. Take advantage of it!.
5. Prune Winter Bloomers – By the end of the month some of your winter blooming shrubs and vines like hardenbergia and ceanothus may have finished blooming. If they have, you can prune them. If not or you hear it is going to be cold again… wait a little while.
6. Peach Leaf Curl – If you haven’t sprayed for peach leaf curl and your peach is less than 10% in bloom, you can still spray. If more than 10% – you missed the window.
7. Pruning Tip – You can prune your peach and nectarine trees now, even if they are in bloom. If you are planning to prune for size to create a backyard orchard that is easy to maintain – now’s the time. Take a look at my Backyard Orchard Culture Post for some insights.
8. Cool Season Color – You can plant cool season annuals like primrose and pansies, just remember they will still need to replaced when it warms up – but don’t worry they will let you know it’s time.
9. Plan Ahead – If you plant summer veggies from seed (and not seedlings) you can start some seeds now.
10. Get Healthy! – You can still get another crop of baby greens in. Select fast growing varieties or ones that you like to eat small. Mesclun, mache, and sorrel are some of my favorites. My pup dug up a bunch of sorrel a couple weeks ago, but I just shoved it back in and it seems to be doing well. I guess his toy wasn’t underneath my plants after all!
11. Time to Prune? – If the weather holds through the month, you can prune evergreen shrubs as far north as Santa Clarita, Lancaster & Palmdale – I’d wait a little bit.
12. Enjoy the weather! If it is sunny and warm, take your beverage and a book outside and enjoy, if it’s raining thank the rain g-ds and curl up on the couch.