February is a time of excited anticipation. This month a gradual heralding of early spring begins in the lower parts of the region and steadily advances through the entire area.
Detailed planning of areas of general development should be completed by the middle of the month. In fact, any plan work not well in hand by now may very easily be crowded out entirely by more pressing programs. Detail planning means the actual decision necessary as to placement, quantities, and space allotments for the various plants to be used this season.
This is the last call for planting of dormant trees and shrubs. Growth activity will begin by the end of the month and later planting will hamper the ideal development of these plants. Give the plants a chance to reward you with their season’s growth without being stunted by late planting.
Rose planting should begin about the 15th of the month. Great expectations are kindled in a gardener when he receives his order of rose bushes for the season, and one can easily dream of the warm days ahead when the lush foliage, beautiful blooms and perfume will fill the garden.
Steps for Successful Rose Planting
- Unpack carefully and prune away any broken or damaged stems or roots; prune plants for shape and paint the end of each cane to prevent damage.
- Plunge the roots in water, preferably overnight, making sure that all the roots (including the bud union) are completely immersed. The roots soak up a full amount of water and are ready to resume growth activity.
- Dig a deep hole sufficiently large enough to accommodate all roots without crowding.
- For each rose bush, add one gallon of peat moss mix thoroughly by digging in sides and / or bottom of hole.
- Plant bush with roots extending downward and pack soil securely around bush for about two-thirds of the depth.
- Fill the hole with water and pull in more topsoil around and upon the bush into a mound up to 12 inches in height. This mound will prevent dehydration of the canes which is caused by frequent high winds in this region and also will protect the new plants from undue cold weather that may occur for the next few weeks.
- After growth begins, gradually work the mounds away and carry on regular maintenance.
For general planting activities the above procedure is recommended for all deciduous trees and shrubs (those that lose their leaves during the dormant season) including those whose leaves and flowers are used in making dried potpourri recipes. Use a general all-purpose fertilizer. Other fertilizers may have to be resorted to, especially if your soil is deficient in any particular nutrient.
If this important job has not yet been done, by all means do it now. Get the planting areas for the seasonal color plants ready. Scatter a balanced fertilizer (5-10-5) and spade it in as deep as possible then wet-down. A light mulch of rotted organic material over the shrub beds now will give a good supply of nitrogen for spring growth.