Peabody Preserve

Peabody Preserve

Butterfly on coneflower

Butterfly on coneflower

Timely Tips

What to Do in February 2024
Weekly Gardening Timely Tips from
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County

Feb. 17-23

Perennials: You can still order plants now from nursery catalogs and arrange for a later delivery. Place bulbs that have been forced in a cool room (if possible, around 50°F). Put them in a bright window or under lights, away from a heat source while they are developing in anticipation of flowers. Once the bulbs flower, keeping them under cool conditions (around 65°F) will help to prolong the blossoms.

Flowers:You may start seeds of annual larkspur, calendula, snapdragons and sweet alyssum indoors or wait until the soils can be worked outdoors and plant them directly. Wait to plant poppies and other cool season flowers that don’t transplant well until you can sow them directly in the garden outdoors.

Fruits and Vegetables: Observe areas in yard where the snow melts first. These are warmer microclimates, where you might plant a vegetable garden or a bed for less-hardy varieties. Sketch out this year’s vegetable garden, making sure to account for sun, access to water, plant height, growing cycles and ease of maintenance, among other factors. Contact your local Cooperative Extension for advice.

Trees and Shrubs: This is a good time to assess possible structural problems in trees and other woody plants. Is it possible to correct a problem with minor pruning? Small multi-stem shrubs such as ever-blooming roses, hydrangeas, and others benefit from thinning to remove old and weak growth and are forgiving of slight “mishaps.” If you are not sure what to do, contact your local Cooperative Extension. Save pruning of large trees for professionals, who can inspect for hazards and remedy the situation if possible. Check for spotted lanternfly egg masses on trees and many landscape surfaces. SLF is a major agricultural threat that can kill crops (grapes, fruit trees and others) and affect landscape plants. See sightings by sending an image to and crush as many eggs as you can find. Use a stiff card to scrape them off of surfaces into a sealable bag, squish and discard in trash.

Houseplants: Inspect houseplants for insects. Try to remove pests by hand or douse them with water. Pick up and discard dead foliage that has fallen on the soil. Contact your local Cooperative Extension for advice.

General: Register now to attend Landscaping and Garden Design in the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester 2024 Home Garden Lecture Series.

Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 10 to 11 am, remote on Zoom, $5.

Speaker: Raj Pande, Master Gardener Volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester. Raj will discuss the creation of landscape gardens, planning, design, site conditions, budgeting and scheduling, and examine the aesthetics of gardens as an art form, garden purpose, style, location, form, texture, color, and plant selection, with ongoing maintenance in mind.

Next in the series: Winter Injury: How Dead Is It? Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2023, from 10 to 11 am, remote on Zoom, $5

Speaker: Hillary Jufer, Horticulture Program Manager at CCE Westchester will discuss injury to evergreen, deciduous trees and shrubs caused by cold temperatures, winter weather, animals, and deicing salts. She will emphasize problems that Westchester County residents have reported in recent years. Management options to reduce these injuries will also be addressed.

For more information, contact or 914-285-4620. See

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Amy Albam
Horticulture Educator/Master Gardener Program Coordinator

Last updated February 16, 2024