6 Essential February Lawn and Garden Tips
Consider these six essential February lawn and garden tips for a beautiful close to winter and a healthy, and robust Spring season ahead.
1) In February, continue protecting plants from frost and freeze damage. While the threat of frost and freezing temperatures vary on average the last freeze day in Jacksonville is February 15 and January 23 in coastal Jacksonville Beach. However, on January 30 Jacksonville Beach reached a low temperature of 31 while at Jacksonville International Airport (JIA) they recorded a low of 22F with the lowest temperature ever recorded on that date being 20F back in 1966. Where you live has a significant bearing on the risk of frost and freezing temperatures. JIA recorded six below-freezing temperature days in January, whereas there was just one on the 30th at Craig Airport. Even with a warmer than usual Winter resulting from La Nina January was unpredictably cold. The News4Jax Insider reports that forecast models suggest that, “starting Feb. 23, the Eastern U.S. should begin to warm and warm considerably, pointing to an early start to spring.” With the damage already done, there will be many people shopping to replace plants in the coming months. Don’t be blindsided by another frost or freeze!
2) Rake, mulch, or compost leaves, but don’t leave them unattended on your lawn turf. While many deciduous trees drop leaves in Autumn and Winter, the evergreen Live oak typically sheds its leaves over several weeks between February and March and then immediately flushes out a crop of new leaves. After shedding their leaves, oaks follow up by dropping male flowers (catkins), which are loaded with pollen and have the texture of steel wool that can easily clog pond and pool filters. When unattended leaf litter and catkins can smother your lawn turf. While proponents of native landscapes aren’t concerned with grass in the landscape some community HOAs, for instance, require lawns to be well maintained and millions of families enjoy a beautiful well-kept lawn. While we provide lawn care services we appreciate landscaping with Florida native plants that are adapted to area climate and soil conditions and have landscape designers ready to work with you in developing whatever your preference of lawn and garden.
3) Keep weeds on your lawn under control by hand pulling or use of a pre-emergent herbicide before average temperatures reach 65-70F. As temperatures warm heading into Spring, the threat from the Winter weeds is replaced by the emergence of warm-season weeds. In our temperate climate, there is some crossover in the seasonal varieties of lawn weeds.
-Florida perennial weeds include buttonweed, clover, dallisgrass, dandelion, nutsedge, and dollarweed.
-Florida annual weeds include chickweed, crabgrass, beggarweed, pulsey, goosegrass, and spurge.
Earth Works Lawn Care division eliminates these concerns with weed spraying and fertilization services.
Weed And Feed products typically include pre-emergents. UF recommends March 1 for the earliest Weed and Feed applications in North Florida. “You will not injure your lawn by waiting to fertilize but you can certainly injure your lawn by fertilizing too early,” writes Larry Williams, the Residential Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Okaloosa County. Difficulties in avoiding too late applications of pre-emergent herbicides and too early fertilization give some credence to using herbicides and fertilizers separately. Read more about When Should I Apply Weed And Feed.
4) Do not forget to water your lawn throughout February when receiving less than two rain events per week. Consistent with La Nina weather forecasts, Jacksonville’s rainfall for January was below average, receiving only one inch of precipitation compared to the annual January average of three inches. We are under once per week irrigation restrictions in Duval County until the second Sunday in March, according to Chapter 366 of the City’s Ordinance Code. However, there are exceptions for new landscaping and there are no restrictions on hand watering.
5) Throughout the Winter months, including February, it’s recommended to plant cold-hardy annuals such as alyssum, delphinium, dusty millers, ornamental kale, and cabbage, along with violas that hold up to our coldest temperatures. “Trees and shrubs that will be in bloom include red maple, star magnolia, and spirea,” according to the University of Florida. “Despite the cooler weather, some gardeners can begin to plant warm-season crops, while others should stick to plants that can survive the cold.” Areas around the St. Johns River, its tributaries, and the beaches stay significantly warmer than other inland areas.
6) Regularly inspect houseplants and those brought indoors during the winter. Be watchful for pests such as Spider mites that form webs along leaf margins. Spider mites and various other pests can be effectively treated with Neem oil. Rotate plants to provide them 360-degree access to inspect and for them to get the best use of available light sources.
Don’t neglect plants brought indoors that might be bunched together, not allowing adequate light and inspection access. Watch for signs of too much or too little water and sunlight. Some plants such as the Heart-shaped, Hoya kerrii will turn yellow from too much light or too little water. Succulents can begin turning purple from various causes, including sudden light and temperature changes, too much light or the wrong wavelength provided by certain grow lights. If having an issue with your indoor plants, take photos and bring them in to speak with an associate at the Earth Works garden center.
We hope the February lawn and garden tips benefit your efforts and for comprehensive solutions to all your specific lawn, garden, and landscaping needs, contact us at 904-996-0712.
Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.
Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.