FEBRUARY PARKS AND GARDENS MAINTENANCE TASKS

This is the FEBRUARY installment of Horticulture Week's month-by-month guide to essential maintenance and management tasks for parks, gardens and grounds maintenance staff.

Office
Continue planning Easter events
Update staff training records and research local courses
Order fertiliser and pesticides

General
Try to keep off wet ground as much as possible to avoid causing compaction
Check all machines are serviced and ready for work
Sharpen all tools that cut, including hoes
Clean tools and equipment with pressure washer when necessary
Clean pathways, paved terraces and steps for public safety

Trees, shrubs and hedges
Inspect for wind damage and check ties and stakes
Continue planting bare-root deciduous trees and shrubs, including roses providing the soil is not frozen or too wet
Continue pruning trees and shrubs to improve shape and health
Hardy shrubs, like Buddleja davidii, that flower on new wood in the summer, can be cut down to encourage new growth
Hardy evergreens, such as Prunus laurocerasus, can be pruned now but leave the more tender ones well alone for the time being
Trim winter-flowering heathers
Brush snow off hedges
Prune overgrown or misshapen hedges

Beds and borders
Dig over when conditions allow
Feed herbaceous plants with an organic-based fertiliser
Check stakes and ties
Pot up dahlia tubers
Divide snowdrops
Deadhead winter pansies

Wall plants
Prune late-flowering clematis towards the end of the month
Prune jasmine
Plant new climbers

Bulbs
Check stores
Containers
Plan for summer containers and sow annuals indoors as required
Top dress potted shrubs

Greenhouses and conservatories
Check for panes loosened by gales
Ventilate on mild days
At end of month, prune tender perennials such as fuchsias that are overwintering
Sow hardy annuals or order plug plants

*Jobs should only be undertaken when ground and weather conditions are suitable and will vary according to location and may vary significantly from year to year. And remember that while the year nicely divides into 12 months, activities often overlap.


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