Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Missouri Environment & Garden



AUTHOR

Donna Aufdenberg
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 243-3581
aufdenbergd@missouri.edu

Kate Kammler
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 883-3548
kammlerk@missouri.edu

Kathi Mecham
University of Missouri Extension
(660) 542-1792
mechamk@missouri.edu

February Gardening Tips

Donna Aufdenberg
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 243-3581
aufdenbergd@missouri.edu

Kate Kammler
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 883-3548
kammlerk@missouri.edu

Kathi Mecham
University of Missouri Extension
(660) 542-1792
mechamk@missouri.edu

Published: January 29, 2021



  • By mid-month, consider starting seeds of annuals flowers like ageratum, petunias, geraniums, impatiens, salvia, and others indoors. For more information, see MU extension guide g6570 Starting Plants Indoors From Seeds https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6570.
  • Start seeds that require a pre-chilling period. Seeds can be planted in trays and refrigerated for designated times. Examples include milkweed, liatris, shining blue star and blue false indigo.
  • Take coleus, begonia, geranium, and succulent cuttings now. For more information, see MU extension guide g6560 Home Propagation of Houseplants https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6560.
  • Remember to check your stored summer bulbs to be sure none are drying out or rotting. Discard any that show signs of decay.
  • Finish up any major pruning of woody ornamentals. For more information, see MU extension guide g6866 Pruning and Care of Shade Trees https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6866 and MU Extension guide g6870 Pruning Ornamental Shrubs https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6870.

  • To extend the life of Valentine flowers, recut the stems underwater with a sharp knife and remove any foliage that would be underwater. Use a flower preservative.
  • Late winter is a good time to air-layer house plants such as dieffenbachia, rubber tree, and corn plant. For more information, see MU extension guide g6560 Home Propagation of Houseplants https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6560.
  • Check all five growing factors if your house plants are not growing well. Light, temperature, nutrients, moisture, and humidity must be favorable to provide good growth. For more information, see MU extension guide g6510 Caring for Houseplants https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6510.
  • Repot any root-bound houseplants before spring when vigorous growth starts. Move plants up to a container no bigger than 1 to 2 inches larger than the present container.
  • If houseplants are showing new growth, it is time to start fertilizing. If no new growth, do not fertilize.

  • Do not work the soil when it is wet. The soil should be dry enough to crumble in your hand before you work it to prevent destroying soil structure.
  • Soil testing done now allows time for amendments to be applied before the gardening season. For more information on how to take a soil test, check out https://extension2.missouri.edu/programs/soil-and-plant-testing-laboratory/spl-soil-analysis/spl-garden-landscape-lawn-soil-test.
  • Consider using season extension techniques such as cold frames, hot beds, and floating row covers. This allows for an early start to the growing season. For more information, see MU extension guide g6965 Building and Using Hotbeds and Cold Frames https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6965.
  • Check any onions, potatoes and winter squash you have in storage. Use or dispose any that show signs of shriveling or rotting. 

  • Weather permitting, plant greens and spinach outdoors in February or March (depending on your location). For more information, see MU extension guide g6201 Vegetable Planting Calendar https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6201.
  • Crop rotation in the vegetable garden is a good practice to develop. Draw a map of your garden and make copies of it. Each year, take a clean copy of the plan and fill it in based on rotating vegetable families. Keep each year's plan in a three-ring binder for easy cross-checking of varieties, rotations, etc.

  • Begin pruning apples and pears with a central leader system and peaches and nectarines with an open center system. For more information, see MSU Bulletin on Training and Pruning Deciduous Fruit Trees https://ag.missouristate.edu/Assets/MtnGrv/B40TrainingandPruningDeciduousFruitTrees.pdf.
  • If you want to raise fruit in your garden, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries are good option. It is easier to succeed with them than with tree fruits, and you will get much faster results.
  • Fertilize fruit trees as soon as possible after the ground thaws, but before blossoming begins.
  • Grape and bramble fruit may be pruned now.
  • PRACTICE SANITATION. Remove any mummies and diseased plant parts on fruit plantings.
  • Invest in good pruning equipment. Consider a pruning saw, hand pruners, and loppers.
  • When pruning diseased branches, sterilize tools with a disinfectant between cuts. A 10% bleach, rubbing alcohol or Lysol spray can be used.  Remember to oil your pruners after using disinfectants to keep them from rusting.

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REVISED: February 8, 2021