To Do in the Garden – March

03 2013-03-21 Plants emerging 018It may not feel like it, but spring is coming!  You might have to bundle up, but it will be nice to get outside and tackle some projects in your yard.  Whether it’s cleaning up from winter storms, pruning some of your trees and shrubs, or turning over your vegetable beds, there is plenty to do outside this month!

 

 

 

 

Your Entire Property

  • Remove protective burlap covers from shrubs.

 

Lawn

 

Trees and Shrubs

  • If you have storm damage, prune broken branches in trees and shrubs so they will heal properly.
  • Call a reputable tree care professional if you need assistance, especially with large trees.
  • Inspect hemlocks for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.  Woolly egg masses might be most apparent in March, but will be present at other times as well.  Look for them on underside of needles where they attach to the twig.  HWA control is somewhat complicated, but it is doable.  Depending on the extent of infestation, you might need to spray or apply a systemic control.  Please come in with questions and we would be happy to provide guidance.
  • Now is a great time to prune many ornamental trees.  The exception is trees such as birch and maple that have running sap; they will “bleed” if pruned now.  These should not be pruned until after their leaves are fully developed.  Late fall is another great time to prune these and other hardwood trees, as you can really see the shape of the tree once the leaves have fallen.
  • In March or April, before new growth starts and as needed to improve shape, prune non-flowering and late-summer flowering shrubs (including Spirea, Rose of Sharon, and PG Hydrangeas).
  • Do not prune blue or pink hydrangeas, as you will cut off this year’s flower buds.
  • Cut back buddleia and caryopteris to 18-24” from the ground, in a rounded shape to encourage an attractive mounded form for the plant as new growth comes in.
  • Prune hybrid tea roses, floribundas, and grandifloras, but wait until after flowering on climbers and ramblers.
  • For spring-blooming shrubs such as azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs, quince, and forsythia, wait until they have finished blooming before you prune them (typically sometime in June or July).
  • If you’ve left your ornamental grasses up for winter interest, now’s the time to cut them back to the new emerging shoots.
  • Now is a good time to fertilize any trees or shrubs that you planted last fall.

 

Perennial Beds, Bulb Plants, Roses, etc.

  • Weed, rake, and edge beds before perennials start emerging.

 

Annuals – Containers and Beds

 

Houseplants and Tropicals

 

Vegetables and Fruits

  • Prepare your garden by pulling out any remaining plant matter from last year.
  • Turn over your beds and add compost and any other amendments you might need for good drainage and pH.  Compost and Organic Plant Magic help establish populations of beneficial microbes.
  • Don’t till your garden when the soil is wet.  It will form clods which are difficult to break up and interfere with cultivation during the summer.
  • Thin plantings of raspberries, blackberries, etc. to increase air circulation and reduce diseases.
  • Now is the ideal time to start seeds indoors to get a head start on spring.  Many cole crops and other cool-weather crops require about six weeks from planting seed indoors to transplanting seedlings outside, which works for transplanting in April or May.  Warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, winter squash, and basil need about eight weeks before they can be transplanted outside in early June.
  • It’s traditional to plant peas (direct seed in the garden) on St. Patrick’s Day in the middle of March.