March is a bridge month in the garden. Some activities must be completed before month’s end; others are just revving up. Here’s help prioritizing your spring chores.
Do It Now
- If you haven’t pruned these yet – DO IT NOW! Roses, Butterfly Bush, summer blooming Hydrangea and Rose of Sharon
- Finish pruning evergreens early in the month. Cut to shape, control plant size and thin out some bulk to let light in.
- Fertilize your plants this month. Fertilize acid living Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Camellias, etc with HollyTone; All others with Dr Earth All Purpose Fertilizer or Ferti-lome.
- Also trim Mondo Grass, Liriope, and other ornamental grasses before new growth appears. Cut English ivy back hard. When new growth emerges in spring, it will be strong and healthy.
Prepare for Upcoming Chores
- Wait to prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees until after flowering.
- Fill bird feeders and clean birdhouses to offer room and board to returning migratory species. Feeders can stage a fascinating show as birds wing their way north to summer breeding grounds.
- Clean up rose beds, removing any fallen leaves from last season. Refresh mulch around roses. Feed plants with Dr Earth Rose and Flower Fertilizer. As new leaves emerge, start weekly sprays for black spot.
Plan for Color
- Shop now for summer- and fall-flowering perennials. Eye-catching bloomers include Purple Coneflower, Coreopsis, and Hardy Hibiscus for summer color; Autumn Sedums and Asters for fall blooms.
- Tuck tender bulbs, such as Dahlias, Tuberous Begonias, and Gladiolas, into the garden this month. If you can’t get enough glads, plant some weekly until mid-June to ensure a season-long show.
Grow Your Own Edibles
- Save money by growing your own food. It may be easier than you think to grow fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. And now’s a great time to start.
- Plant cool-season varieties, such as lettuces, radishes, peas, lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower as soon as you can work the ground — they’ll survive frosty weather.
- Wait to plant warm-season annuals such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra, sweet potatoes, and watermelons, after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to about 60 degrees F (a temperature in which you can comfortably walk on soil in bare feet).
- Berries: March is a great time to plant berry crops. This list includes strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries, currants, and raspberries.
- Here’s a hint: Make maintaining your new garden easier with a raised bed. You can add high-quality soil to solve any problems with clay or sand. And you don’t have to bend down so far to weed, plant, or tend to your plants.
Tackle Lawn Chores
- Grubs become active this month and feast on grass before molting. Check with your local extension office to learn which treatments work best in your area this time of year.
- Get the jump on crabgrass and goosegrass by applying Jonathan Green Crabgrass Preventer, a pre-emergent herbicide. Time applications to coincide with forsythia flowering.
- Check out our lawn care calendar.
Refresh the Water Garden
- Clean debris and muck from the water garden, adding it to your compost pile.
- Feed fish when the water temperature hits 50 degrees F.
- The single best thing you can do to save time and energy in the garden is spread mulch. A 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of mulch will stop many weeds from growing. It also helps your soil stay moist during hot, dry periods this summer.
Make More Plants
- Keep your perennials healthy and looking good by dividing them every few years. Divide most perennials in spring once their new foliage has grown a couple of inches tall.
Prune Spring Shrubs
- If any of your spring-blooming shrubs or trees (including Dogwood, Lilac, Forsythia, Spirea, Flowering Quince, or Saucer Magnolia) need a cut back, prune them right after the flowers fade. This helps ensure that you get plenty of blooms next year.
Deadhead Your Flowers
- It sounds harsh, but deadheading is simply the act of cutting spent flowers from your plants. It will make your plants look better, help reduce problems with pests and diseases, and may even encourage your plants to bloom more. Hydrangeas are a good example of what to dead head now.
- Here’s a hint: Allow any flowers that self seed (such as bachelor’s button, spider flower, or calendula) or bulbs you want to naturalize to form and drop seeds. That way you can be sure they’ll come back next year.