Oregon residents, here’s your February garden “to dos” from the OSU Extension service –
First consider cultural, and then physical controls. The conservation of biological control agents (predators, parasitoids) should be favored over the purchase and release of biological controls. Use chemical controls only when necessary, only after identifying a pest problem, and only after thoroughly reading the pesticide label. Least-toxic choices include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides, organic and synthetic pesticides — when used judiciously.
Tune up lawn mower and garden equipment before the busy season begins.
Have soil test performed on garden plot to determine nutrient needs. Contact your local Extension office for a list of testing laboratories or view EM 8677 online.
Select and store healthy scion wood for grafting fruit and nut trees. Wrap in damp cloth or peat moss and place in plastic bag. Store in cool place.
Plan an herb bed, for cooking and for interest in the landscape. Among the choices are parsley, sage, chives, and lavender. Choose a sunny spot for the herb bed, and plant seeds or transplants after danger of frost has passed (late April-early May in the Willamette Valley and Central Coast; June-July in Eastern and Central Oregon).
Plan to add herbaceous perennial flowers to your flowering landscape this spring. Examples include candytuft, peony, penstemon, coneflower.
Maintenance and Clean Up
Repair winter damage to trees and shrubs.
Make a cold frame or hotbed to start early vegetables or flowers.
Fertilize rhubarb with manure or a complete fertilizer.
Incorporate cover crops or other organic matter into soil.
Prune and train grapes; make cuttings.
Prune fruit trees and blueberries.
Eastern Oregon: Prune and train summer-bearing and fall-bearing raspberries.
Western Oregon: Prune deciduous summer-blooming shrubs and trees; wait until April in high elevations of eastern and central Oregon.
Western Oregon: Prune and train trailing blackberries (if not done prior late August); prune black raspberries.
Western Oregon: Prune fall-bearing raspberries (late in Feb or early March).
Western Oregon: Prune clematis, Virginia creeper, and other vining ornamentals.
Plant windowsill container gardens of carrots, lettuce, or parsley.
Plan to add herbaceous perennial flowers to your flowering landscape this spring: astilbe, candytuft, peony, and anemone.
Good time to plant fruit trees and deciduous shrubs. Replace varieties of ornamental plants that are susceptible to disease with resistant cultivars.
Plant asparagus if the ground is warm enough.
Plant seed flats of cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts), indoors or in greenhouse.
Western Oregon: Where soil is dry enough and workable, plant garden peas and sweet peas. Suggested varieties of garden peas include: Corvallis, Dark Green Perfection, Green Arrow, Oregon Sugar Pod, Snappy, Knight, Sugar Snap, Oregon Trail, and Oregon Sugar Pod II.
Western Oregon: Good time to plant new roses.
Pest Monitoring and Management
Monitor landscape plants for problems. Don’t treat unless a problem is identified.
Use delayed-dormant sprays of lime sulfur for fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs.
Remove cankered limbs from fruit and nut trees for control of diseases such as apple anthracnose, bacterial canker of stone fruit and eastern filbert blight. Sterilize tools before each new cut.
Control moles and gophers with traps.
Western Oregon: Elm leaf beetles and box-elder bugs are emerging from hibernation and may be seen indoors. They are not harmful, but can be a nuisance. Remove them with a vacuum or broom and dustpan.
Western Oregon: Monitor for European crane fly and treat lawns if damage has been verified.
Houseplants and Indoor Gardening
Pasteurize soil for starting seedlings in pots or flats, or use clean, sterile commercial mixes.
Central Oregon: Gather branches of quince, forsythia, and flowering cherries; bring indoors to force early bloom.