February to March Landscaping Tips

As you know, the weather is very unpredictable. One moment it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside. The next day, 2 inches of rainfall, followed by freezing weather. As confusing as North Texas weather can be to us, it’s confusing to the plants too.

When we have consistent warm temperatures for 2-3 weeks straight, warm-season plants awaken from dormancy. This is often resulting in vulnerability to freeze and pest injury. Many pests begin to emerge. Just last week, I noticed aphids feeding on the underside of Live Oaks. Other pests like winter weeds will eventually break through the pre-emergent and become noticeable.

To prepare, our professionals are focusing on the following items:

Employ pre-and-post emergent herbicides to manage winter weeds and thwart warm-season varieties. While granular products are accessible at local garden centers, for optimal results, seek assistance from a licensed pesticide applicator.

Contemplate applying insecticides as a preventive measure against fire ants once they commence foraging.

Trim back ornamental grasses, aiming to complete this task by the 2nd or 3rd week of March.

In early March, prune Liriope grass and other groundcovers, being cautious not to cut excessively to avoid stunting or injuring new growth.

Divide perennials and replant them in different areas before they emerge from dormancy.

Conduct corrective pruning on shrubs to manage their shape and size before spring growth occurs. Consult with a local horticulturist to determine if your shrubs require corrective pruning.

Scrutinize your flowers, especially pansies, as aphids tend to feed on them during this season. Apply a liquid fertilizer with systemic insecticide and fungicide to maintain flower health.

Remove old blooms by deadheading flowers to encourage new growth.

With abundant rain, external watering isn’t necessary. Only consider watering if there’s a 2-3 week rain hiatus, checking soil moisture before deciding. Manually water if needed and remember to inspect and adjust your irrigation system before late spring.

Limit pruning of oak trees from February through June. If pruning an oak tree is unavoidable, apply pruning sealer immediately afterward.

Apply high-quality mulch in beds and around trees at a thickness of 3-4 inches to deter weeds and maintain optimal soil temperature. Ensure not to cover the base of plants with mulch, as excessive mulching around trees and shrubs is a common issue.


Written by: Ronny Nelson, Horticulturist, Board Certified Master Arborist and President of Simply Horticulture, LLC.