February is the beginning of the growth season for many ornamental plants. Pruning tasks should be completed before roses, crape myrtles, and others begin their seasonal growth.
Bushy Roses (Knockouts): Ideally, we remove half of the top growth, we reduce the height and remove any weak internal canes by making a cut with sharp shears just above a bud that faces out from the center of the bush to encourage open growth.
Don’t top them! Your crapes will bloom much better and likely year round in some cases if we simply remove any suckers from the base, branches that are growing into the house or crossing, and simply clean them up. It’s better for the plant, the appearance and your wallet!
Evergreens, Nandinas and Ground Covers
Now is the time to shape up the evergreen shrubs and trees. We want to remove the tallest canes to the ground this month. We will leave a few shorter stems to nurse the plants back to vigorous compact growth. Mondo grass and Lilirope can be cut back to 4” or 5” with a weed-eater this month to reduce their overall size. It is also a great time to reduce their numbers if desired.
We need to “scalp” (not literally) the lawn later this month down a little shorter and bag it up. This will remove any top growth and prep the lawn for the pre-emergent weed control and a quick green-up.