If the ground is not frozen, plant pansies, plant and transplant boxwood, plant fruit trees, dogwood, magnolia, deciduous trees and shrubs, bare root shrubs after soaking for several hours, and divide perennials
Pruning and Cleaning Up
Remember - Not so Clean Up: Most current Landscape Architects and Garden Designers encourage leaving as much spent material standing as possible throughout the winter months to provide cover and food sources for over-wintering insect and bird populations. Try to train your eye to see the architectural beauty of skeletal forms of tall perennials like echinacea and rudbeckia, and leave their seed heads intact for nuthatches, finches and mockingbirds to survive the winter months. Commercial seed is too limited and nutritionally empty to support them through the winter. So you’re not being lazy - you are doing a very important good to provide essential species survival!
You can prune Buddleia, caryopteris, artemesia (after buds break), perovskia and calicarpa in late February/early March.
Prune and shape late spring/early summer bloomers like althea, pind and red spireas, and abelia before new growth starts. You can cut ornamental grasses down to 6" and liriope to 3". Roses can be pruned when forsythia bloom. Remove old canes from raspberries.
Fertilize and Mulch
Fertilize only as needed. The up and down but fairly wet weather has continued to stimulate growth for many plants.
Pine needles, rotted sawdust, straw, and leaves make great mulch. If adding mulch, good to wait until after the ground freezes.
Probably a good time on nice days to clean up garden beds (but leave a little messy).
Clean out birdhouses.
Plan out your garden for the spring and order plants you need. Think about organic seeds and plants started without neonicotoids.
Tip for Every month:
Keep your tools clean. Clean your tools after every use. Take care of your hoses and watering cans.
Wear gloves. Use gloves for all of your gardening chores. Gloves will keep your skin out of direct contact with toxic plant substances (digitalis and nightshade families are toxic throughout the plant structure down to the roots). Remember, when handling peat moss you can avoid a serious fungal infection (sporotrichosis - also called 'rose gardener's disease') if you wear gloves.
Please Beware of Giant Hogweed. Giant Hogweed is in our area (Fredericksburg) It is a member of the wild carrot family native to Asia and can reach heights of 6-10 feet. It looks like a giant Queen Anne's Lace as it grows. It is highly toxic! Do NOT touch, pull, brush against, or weed-whack this plant. Do NOT handle this plant. Do NOT try to remove this plant yourself. Direct contact with this plant sensitizes the skin to the sun and leaves 3rd degree burns. If you see or suspect Giant Hogweed take digital photos of the leaf, stem, and flower and contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. (photo Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft.)