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Northwest: February Backyard To-Do Checklist

The month of February is usually a little bit of a problem for gardeners within the Pacific Northwest. Throughout this month we regularly have a few of our coldest days, plenty of rain, and some days of snow. When it’s one of many clear, chilly days of this month, bundle up and head outdoors to deal with just a few of this stuff. Simply bear in mind the place you planted all these bulbs within the fall, and keep away from stepping on super-saturated soils; it may destroy the soil construction and create extra issues down the highway.

bare-root fruit trees
Go to your native nurseries now for bare-root fruit bushes. Picture: Fionuala Campion

Go to native nurseries for one of the best choice of bare-root bushes and shrubs. Many native nurseries and backyard facilities carry an amazing choice of decorative and fruiting bushes and shrubs. Naked-root bushes and shrubs are economical and straightforward to move, they usually have a smoother time adjusting to the native soil in your backyard than potted ones. Simply bear in mind to plant your picks as quickly as doable to make sure survival and to keep away from letting roots dry out. In case you should retailer them, maintain them in moistened sawdust in a cool storage or basement for lower than two days. Some nice and infrequently seen heirloom fruit tree varieties could be discovered at Raintree Nursery. They ship their bushes and shrubs bare-root. In case you’re feeling adventuresome, name them to rearrange a go to to their backyard middle, which is in Morton, Washington.

Carding Mill® rose
Think about Carding Mill® rose as a lovely, disease-resistant option to make February cleanup time simpler. Picture: Jason Jorgensen

Prune your roses. Late February is the time to prune roses (Rosa spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) within the Pacific Northwest. Many gardeners use President’s Day as a marker. Remember to use clear instruments whereas pruning. Learn to prune various kinds of roses right here. If a prized rose specimen is diseased, think about eradicating it and changing it with a brand new, more healthy cultivar; if it’s an absolute keeper, clear your blades between every minimize to stop spreading illness. I’ve had good luck with most of the David Austin roses in my backyard and my shoppers’ gardens. Considered one of my all-time favorites is the Carding Mill® rose (Rosa ‘AUSwest’, Zones 5–11), which has an incredible scent and exquisite, long-blooming peachy-orange flowers.

‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel
‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’, Zones 5–8) is a blaze of yellow petals in February, heralding the return of spring shade. Picture: Jason Jorgensen

Add witch hazels to your backyard. Among the many massive shrubs and small bushes I typically see on my walks this time of yr are some quite massive witch hazels (Hamamelis spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9). Their vivid, cheery blooms are an amazing reminder that spring is coming. February is a superb time to pick witch hazels. There are such a lot of varieties and colours obtainable now within the commerce; sometimes those you will see that within the nursery are hybrids of the Chinese language and Japanese witch hazels (Hamamelis mollis and Hamamelis japonica, each Zones 5–8). Some hybrids will maintain their leaves on till the brand new spring progress begins; that is referred to as marcescence. Whereas this isn’t an issue for the witch hazels themselves, it might be an issue for you the gardener to have a transparent view of the blooms. For that cause, it’s greatest to pick a range in particular person on the nursery whereas the witch hazels are in bloom.

Defend your backyard from snails now, as their harm can get uncontrolled earlier than you already know it. Picture: Michelle Gervais

Begin with slug and snail remedies this month if they’ve been an issue prior to now. The tiniest of slugs will make your hostas (Hosta spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), lilies (Lilium spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), and dahlias (Dahlia spp. and cvs., Zones 9–11) appear to be Swiss cheese in a short time. I favor utilizing Sluggo. Whereas I don’t sometimes advocate utilizing pesticides, this is among the greatest ones to cease a whole infestation of slugs and snails. I’ve additionally used one other product, Slug Gone Wool Pellets, with success. Wool pellets swell and develop to create a dense mat that’s irritating to slugs and snails. That is an all-natural product. Month-to-month focused functions of both product are wanted to cease infestations.

Big leaf hydrangeas
Bigleaf hydrangeas like this one bloom on outdated wooden. Picture: Jason Jorgensen

Prune your hydrangeas. Be sure you’re conscious of the kind of hydrangea (Hydrangea spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9) you have got in your backyard. Hydrangea pruning strategies fluctuate enormously relying on the species. Incorrect pruning can result in a yr with out flowers or—greatest case state of affairs—very late flowers. Clean hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens, Zones 3–9) must be minimize near the bottom to make sure that sturdy new stems will bloom on new progress in the identical season. Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–11) ought to solely be pruned gently, as they bloom on outdated wooden. Take away final yr’s flowers, and prune to the primary or second set of buds. Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata, Zones 3–8) could be pruned to swimsuit the dimensions of the house and can bloom on the present season’s progress. See extra on pruning hydrangeas right here.

—Jason Jorgensen is a panorama designer in Seattle.



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