Early Spring Gardening Chores: March is Time to Get Back Outdoors!
March is a great month for trimming and tidying. Get it done now because a month from now you’ll be busy cleaning dirt from under your fingernails.
March is one of the most important months of the year for fertilizing because it is the start of the growing season. Feed (16-16-16) fruit and ornamental trees, ground covers, shrubs, perennials and annuals that have been in the ground at least six weeks. Feed your container plants also
Shrubs and Trees
o Remove the winter mulch from existing roses and prune as needed. Consult a good rose book for the best methods to trim your type of rose since timing and methods vary
o Prune your trees especially fruit trees (except walnut, maple and birch trees). Do not prune flowering shrubs.
o Fertilize deciduous and evergreen trees. Protect deciduous trees from mites, scale and aphids by treating with horticultural oil.
o Start watering trees and shrubs that you planted in the fall. Begin when you see new leaves appear. A slow, steady watering is best. Try using a hose on a slow trickle or a soaker hose to water deeply and well
o Plant new fruit trees, rose bushes, berries, spring flowering shrubs and other deciduous plants. Not the best time to transplant unless tree or shrub is still in dormant stage.
Flower and Bulb Beds
o Test the pH levels in planting beds. Adjusting the pH level of soil is the single most important garden task you can perform to get healthy plants.
o Cut back perennials that you left standing for winter
o This is a great time to buy and plant perennials as the soil is still cool. Also if you are ordering in bare root plants from mail order, this should be done early in month. When things arrive, bare-root woody plants will take priority in planting, so think ahead.
o Bulbs such as lilies and Canna should be planted now for summer and fall color.
o Annuals that enjoy the cooler weather March offers may be planted. These include pansies, snapdragons and calendulas.
o Tulip and daffodil bulbs require a light application of fertilizer (a high- nitrogen, quick-release fertilizer)
o Cut smooth hydrangeas all the way to the ground. Thin last year’s growth on peegee hydrangeas, and remove dead wood at the base of oak-leaf hydrangeas
o Get a step ahead by edging and weeding your beds. Dig them, roots and all, before they set seed which will lessen their numbers later
o Now is when you should cut back your ornamental grasses. Hold or tie the old growth with twine and cut the grass 4-6 inches from the ground. New growth will appear in a few weeks.
o Check garden tools. Fix, sharpen or replace them as necessary.
o Clean out your birdhouses get them ready for spring nesting
o Take the mower in for a tune-up.
o Broken or weak arbors, fences and trellis should be repaired this month
o Cleaning and repairing drip irrigation lines
o Remove leaves from the bottom of ponds or other water features
o Start over seeding bare spots in the lawn. Seed once a week and water lightly twice a day until spots fill in. But don’t fertilize until Memorial Day. Apply pre-emergent crabgrass control to your lawn
“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” – Doug Larson
L.B. Masoero is an avid gardener and bird lover. If you are looking for outdoor patio furniture, decorative birdhouses, outdoor garden fountains, tuned wind chimes and much more for your backyard go to YourGardenRetreat.com. To discover ideas for your backyard living such as grill recipes,gardening tips, attracting wildlife, lawn care, decorating and maintaining your outdoor living space, go to My Backyard