Gardening Tips for February 2012
Start the New Year off by not letting garden pests and diseases get you down.
Many pests can survive over winter and lay eggs, these eggs may stick on the stems of plants to hatch out later so pruning now might help remove them.
By checking your plants now and dealing with the problems as they occur, you can help prevent them from getting out of control.
If your fruit trees have had a lot of problems with pests and diseases it’s worth spraying them with tar oil winter wash over the trunk and branches. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and make sure not to spray on a windy day
Do not prune roses until next month, as it may encourage new growth and frost will burn the new cuts. On the other hand now is an ideal time for planting new roses, but do not plant roses where they have been growing before and you will avoid Replant disorder.
Keep picking off the dead heads from winter flowering pansies and primroses to keep them looking attractive. Change any plants such as Cyclamen which have been damaged in the winter months, plants such as Primrose and potted bulbs are very good for filling in the gaps.
Garden Ponds are best left alone at this time of year as the frogs and other creatures are hibernating, and should not be disturbed.
In freezing conditions, float a tennis ball on the surface to keep the surface from freezing over completely. Never clear a frozen pond by breaking the ice, you can melt a hole by holding a pan of hot water on the ice.
Tie up Cordyline leaves to enclose and protect the centre. When snow or frost is likely, cover with fleece. Last year’s winter weather damaged a lot of Cordylines. Snow will spread the leaves apart, allowing the frost to enter the plants centre and kill a lot of plants. If there is a heavy snowfall, remove snow from trees and shrubs to prevent damage to branches.
It is a good time to start off the slower-growing half-hardy annuals and perennials. Pelargonium, Begonia can be easy to grow from seed if you have a warm windowsill or some heat in a glasshouse. Some seed may take two to three weeks to germinate, which will bring you into March and the days will be getting longer.
Sow seeds of Broad Beans and Sweet Peas in a cold greenhouse or outdoors in a cold frame with some protection.
Prune Acer and Birch trees now, while they are still dormant. This will avoid the danger of ‘bleeding’ (excessive sap loss) if they are pruned in spring when sap is rising, best to wait until all leaves have fallen