From the garden: Neil’s maintenance tips for February

It may still be chilly outdoors this month, but the days are gradually getting longer, bringing with it the reassurance that spring is just around the corner yet again! Being the season of hope and rebirth, this signifies that your garden will soon be filled with fresh open blooms and plenty of colour.


However, unless you’ve kept up with the general maintenance of your garden for the last few months (such as clearing up fallen leaves and cutting back any dead leaves and foliage from your plants), there will be more tasks for you to take care of to ensure your garden or grounds are ready for the warmer weather to arrive.


Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to give your garden a new lease of life this February. As well as clearing up any damage caused by winter’s rain, wind, and chilly temperatures, you can get a head start on regularly moving your lawn again, or even start making the preparations to sow a new one.


In February, you should also keep an eye out for aphids, which will make a beeline for any new growth in your grounds or garden. Identified by their small pear-shaped bodies and long antennae, you should treat any plants you spot them on with by spraying them with a biological aphid control. Alternatively, aphids can be treated with a mixture of water and dishwashing detergent.


If you’ve planted snowdrops and they’ve flowered, this month is also the time for these to be divided. Congested clumps of snowdrops will need to be lifted, and replanted in damp soil when they’re ‘in the green’ (before they dry out and die down).


Neil Gallagher from our grounds maintenance division gives us his run down on top things to do in the garden this month…


Maintain your lawgardener digging up square sections of his lawn with a spaden


After giving your lawn its final mow for the winter in November, you should have spent the rest of the season caring for it by raking up any leaves, algae, and debris. This is because they can stop new blades of grass from emerging, as well as prevent water and air from being able to reach your grass. However, if the weather is warm enough now, you’ll need to start mowing again. This should only be done when the lawn is dry, and you should set your mower to the maximum cutting height.


If necessary, February is also the ideal time to start preparing for new lawns to be sown. Although this is a task that should be completed in April (when spring has just arrived), you should have already dug the lawn to bury weeds, added 1-2cm of coarse sand (if the clay is heavy), and used a rake to create a level surface. Now, you should ensure it’s ready by removing any pesky weeds that pop up!


Clear up the damage from winter


 Even if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to protect your garden from winter’s harsh weather conditions, there will still be some damage to clear up before spring arrives in full force. Although any plants that were either moved into the greenhouse or covered with bubblewrap or fleece should have been adequately protected from the elements, many perennial plants won’t have survived, and these will need to be removed to make way for your new spring planting!


a gardener tying some twine around some bamboo

You should also continue to remove leaves from your beds and borders (as well as your lawn), because these provide shelter for slugs and other pests that want to eat your plants. You should also check and repair stakes (if needed), and if snow does make an appearance this month, you should be clearing it off delicate branches and stems to prevent as much breakage as possible.


Know what to prune


 When it comes to pruning plants, there are a plenty of different species that will require your attention this month. This includes Wisteria, which will require its summer side-shoots to be cut to 2 or 3 buds. In February, you should also prune Winter Flowering Jasmine and continue dead heading Winter Pansies and Violas. This is because removing the dead flowers will prevent them from rotting, which will encourage plenty of blooms!


When it comes to ornamental vines and ivy, such as Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper, these should also be trimmed back when necessary to prevent them from getting out of hand. These types of vines grow fast, and if you fail to control them, they could clog your gutters, as well as cause damage to buildings by spreading to their windows and rooftiles. Not only that, but regularly pruning them will ensure they always look their best, as well as help the healthy growth retain more nutrients.


At PHS Greenleaf, we have over 25 years’ experience of providing our exterior and interior planting services for businesses across the UK. Contact us for more information!