‘Real’ Gardeners Start in February: Here’s How


February is one of those months that gardening enthusiasts never know what Mother Nature is going to have in store. It could be sunny and in the 70’s one day … and then a freak cold blast the next. However, Mother Nature and her issues aside, there are things that any green thumb can do in hopes of spring. Tommy Phillips, county extension agency with Van Zandt County, provides these timely tips.


  • Continue to plant evergreen shrubs, fruit, nut and shade trees.
  • Plant asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, collards, English peas, lettuce, kohlrabi, onion transplants, parsley, potatoes, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnips.
  • Plant early spring-blooming annuals like dianthus, petunias and alyssum in late February.


  • Complete pruning of oak trees before February 15
  • Prune other shade trees and woody shrubs as necessary to remove dead wood and improve structure.
  • Finish pruning pecan trees and fruit trees before spring bud break.
  • Prune all standard roses, except climbing varieties, by about 50 percent by mid- February.
  • Prune tall Nandinas, if necessary, to improve fullness, by removing one-third of the tallest canes at 2 to 3 inches above ground level (late February). Repeat the next two years.
  • Trim or mow grassy groundcovers such as liriope and mondo grass, if needed, due to freeze damage or ragged appearance, before spring growth begins.

Plant Care

  • Apply horticultural oil to fruit and pecan trees, and to scale-prone shrubs such as euonymus and hollies, when temperature is 45 to 65 for two weeks (mid-February). Check the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service website bookstore for the pamphlet “Homeowner’s Fruit and Nut Spray Schedule.”
  • Fertilize cool season grasses such as fescue and ryegrass with a slow release fertilizer.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides to established lawns to control warm season broadleaf and grassy weeds, such as dandelions and crabgrass no later than early March.
  • Fertilize pansies and other winter annuals with your favorite fertilizer.
  • Continue to protect tender plants from hard freezes

For more gardening information, contact the Van Zandt County Extension office at 903.567.4149.

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