Discover helpful tips and things to be aware of while tending to your garden or yard this season.
One can frost seed in February, the idea being late snow and frost heaving will provide good seed to soil contact. The seed will lay there and wait for the soil to reach suitable temperature to germinate.
A mild winter day can be a good time to pick up any late leaves that have fallen or blown into your lawn. Most lawnmowers have a bag attachment allowing it to pick up many of the leaves. One might get an odd look from the neighbors if mowing the lawn in January.
The last half of February is ideal time to prune fruit trees and grapes, and if it stays cold early March is excellent as well. Ideally, it’s best to wait until all damaging winter weather has passed, that being weather where ice accumulation or heavy wet snow might damage woody tissue. An exception to this is if one had fire blight on apple or pear trees the previous spring/summer.
Fire blight bacterium is in remission during very cold weather, thus pruning during this period reduces the chance of spreading the disease. However, one should still sterilize pruning tools with one part bleach and nine parts water in between cuts (dry tools at end of day). One can also try to snap off diseased twigs during the winter cold. (For gardeners struggling with fire blight the most critical time for prevention is applying streptomycin at flowering.)
Watch for rodent damage on fruit tree bark or for numerous holes at the base of the tree. Use baits or traps for control. Established fruit trees can be fertilized once the frost leaves the ground, typically at the end of February. Consider keeping any grape vine prunings to make into wreaths or other crafts, or give them to someone who would use them.
Anytime during these cold months is a good time to order bare root plants to establish in early spring. The companies will generally hold your order until the weather has warmed for safe shipping. With early establishment less pampering is needed when hot dry weather hits.