If you want to give the trees in your garden the best chance of thriving, you need to care for them year round.
The end of winter is on the horizon, so brave the weather and give your trees a helping hand into spring.
There are lots of things you can do to care for your trees this February – our guide shows you how.
Get rid of weeds from around the bases of young trees.
Check tree ties and stakes, and replace or adjust them if necessary.
Inspect newly planted trees to see if they’ve been lifted from the soil by strong winds or frost heave. If they have, firm them back in.
Make sure protective coverings on newly planted or borderline hardy trees remain secure until the risk of frost has passed.
Tie up splayed-out conifer branches that have been damaged by strong winds or snow.
Pruning and training
February is a great time to prune most trees.
When pruning your trees, focus on removing dead, dying or damaged branches, crossing stems and overcrowded growth. Try to create an open centre which air can circulate through. This will discourage pests and diseases.
Be careful not to damage your trees when sawing off thicker branches. If your trees are too large for you to prune alone, you may need a tree surgeon.
Mulch and feed your trees after pruning. This will give them energy for the resulting growth spurt.
Avoid pruning deciduous flowering Prunus species (ornamental cherries, almonds and plums) in February. These species can be vulnerable to silver leaf disease if pruned before mid-summer.
Propagation, planting and moving
If you collected any tree seeds in the autumn, now is the time to sow them.
You can plant young trees throughout February. If you do, add stakes and rabbit guards to prevent damage to the bark and root ball.
February is also a good time to move established deciduous trees, provided the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.
Just like us, trees can get sick in winter. Check yours carefully for signs of disease.
Phytophthora root rot causes root and stem base decay on mature trees. Wet winter weather and waterlogged soil create ideal conditions for this disease on susceptible trees.
February is a good time to check for bracket fungus, as it’s more visible at this time of year.
Inspect unhealthy-looking box and holly trees for signs of blight. Symptoms include brown leaves, dying branches, fungal growth on the undersides of leaves and black streaks on stems.
Check deciduous trees for coral spot; it’s usually easier to see in winter when trees have no leaves. This problem can be caused by congested, un-pruned twiggy growth and poor ventilation.
If your tree is badly affected by a disease it may be worth calling in a tree surgeon for a professional opinion.
How to help your trees flourish in February – conclusion
Hopefully this guide will have given you some idea as to why late winter / early spring is such a crucial time to pay attention to your garden, and in particular, your trees.
If you’d like any more information on how to help your trees flourish in February or are looking to a tree surgeon in London, then do get in touch.