Garden Calendar February 2017



It’s time to get your garden ready for the burst of spring growth.

Plant color annuals such as pansies, petunias, larkspur, primrose, poppy, stock, violas, alyssum, snapdragon and marigolds.
Plant native or desert-adapted plants such as desert marigold, penstemon, sage and evening primrose, which are hardy enough to withstand the cold nights but benefit from extra time in the ground to establish roots.
Start a new crop of cool-season vegetables, such as root vegetables, peas, leafy greens, kale and bunching onions.

Fertilize citrus, lawns, grapes and deciduous trees. Citrus fertilizers are formulated especially to provide a source of nitrogen.
Fertilize roses with a slow-release fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorous around mid-month to encourage blooms by April.
Fertilize non-native plants just as they begin active growth.
Wait to fertilize tender tropicals until danger of frost is over. Natives generally do not need fertilizer.

Tomatoes must be transplanted early enough to develop roots, flower and set fruit before hot weather arrives.
Plant mid-month but watch for frost and cover for protection until mid-March.

Water citrus deeply every three weeks.
Watch shallow-rooted newly planted
annuals, which can quickly dry out with spring winds.
Adjust watering schedule according
to winter rains.

Continue to harvest citrus. However, Valencia oranges are just starting to sweeten and grapefruit continues to sweeten for several months.

Wait until new shoots emerge
on frost-damaged plants. Cut back ornamental grasses.

Roses provide splendid color during the cooler months of March to June and then again from October to February. The hot weather between those seasons limits the size of flowers produced in the summer. Add a two-inch layer of mulch to conserve water and keep roots cool. It is almost impossible to overwater roses if they have proper drainage. Rose roots need to grow down because roots near the surface are exposed to desert heat. Deep watering will keep salts from accumulating in the root zone, causing brown leaf tips.
Buy only grade 1 roses, as these have the best chance to get established and survive our summers. Remember, heat resistance is more important than cold tolerance for Tucson gardeners. Select plants that are resistant to diseases and insects, and that will fit your specific space when fully grown. Buy and plant bare-root roses from January to mid-February. Make sure each bush has three strong, healthy canes. HG