New England

February, 2012
Regional Report

Start Leek Seeds

Start seeds of leeks ten to twelve weeks before the last frost date for your area so you'll have hardened off transplants ready to set out in the garden two weeks before the last frost date.

Get Ready to Apply Dormant Oil Sprays

Dormant oil sprays on fruit trees and other plants help control overwintering scales, mites, and aphids. Wait for appropriate weather conditions. Pick a calm day when the temperatures are at least 40 degrees F and there is no chance of rain or freezing temperatures in the following 24 hours. Some kinds of plants can be injured by oil sprays, so be sure read and follow all label instructions and precautions.

Prune Dormant Fruit Trees

Prune dormant fruit trees before the buds swell. Pick a dry day after the coldest winter weather is past -- in our region February or March are generally good times. Remove water sprouts, suckers, and any dead, diseased, broken, or rubbing branches and those growing in toward the center of the canopy. Then thin to open the canopy of mature trees to more light and air.

Fertilize Houseplants

Begin fertilizing houseplants after the days begin to lengthen and the plants enter into active growth again after their winter lull. It's also a good time to repot plants if needed.

Cut Back Grasses

Cut back ornamental grasses and other perennials left standing over the winter before the new growth begins to emerge. Bring a board into the garden to stand on when you're grooming plants. It will spread your weight and help reduce soil compaction, especially if the soil is still on the wet side.

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