(1) Pruning: Trim, shape, and detail prune your plantings. Most of our plants can be pruned at this point. We want to be cautious not to prune too soon. The timing of pruning is determined by the weather (ideally we want to prune after the last freeze). Valentine's day is the historically safe day in Houston to prune Roses, Crape Myrtles and many other plantings. Your landscape staple plantings (Ligustrum, Wax Myrtles, Hollies, Yaupon, Boxwood, etc.) should be pruned and shaped at this point. Prune back ground covers as desired as well. Pinch back any Impatiens, Begonias, and other seasonal color that made it through the winter. Be sure NOT to prune any plantings that are about to bloom such as many Azalea varieties including the Indica Azaleas until after they have completed the majority of their bloom cycle.
(2) Feeding: It is also time to feed most of your plantings. Timing of the feeding depends on the product that you use. We recommend a high quality organic fertilizer such as one of the Microlife Fertilizers. Microlife can be used on all of your landscape beds (including Azaleas) at this time. Wait on feeding your lawn until the weather warms a bit more (typically late March or early April).
(3) Weeding: weeding and cleaning your beds at this time will make your bed maintenance much easier as you get into the warmer Spring months. You can follow up your weeding with a weed preventative such as Corn Gluten Meal to reduce weed seed germination and further reduce your spring weed problems. The Corn Gluten Meal can also be installed in your lawns at this time to help reduce weeds in the lawn.
(4) Mulching: you should still have a good layer of a high quality Native Hardwood Mulch (such as Nature's Way Resources), Pine Straw, Cedar Mulch, or layer of Leaf Matter from your own yard. It is, however, still a good idea to touch up your mulch with a fresh layer as needed to ensure a steady supply of nutrients (and humic and fulvic acids that leach into the soil from mulch and help improve the soil). The mulch also helps to keep your soil temperatures more even, reduce weeds, and it just looks nice too!!!
Remember, Valentine's day is just around the corner, and not only will your wife appreciate a beautiful, well kept yard, but it will make your life easier as you get into spring and summer!