dragonflyF15's WunderBlog

March to the Garden Beat

By: dragonflyF15, 9:35 PM GMT on March 02, 2013

Your gardening tasks for March
FYI: Mother nature overrules any to-do list when it comes to gardening. This information is a basic guideline. To actually work with mother nature and pest management, check out a great book called Coincide by Dan Orton. March is a guessing game in the garden. Will it warm up soon? Will it stay warm? Will the rains start/stop? About the only thing we can count on is that March too shall pass. So go ahead and push the envelope, but keep the row covers handy.
Everyone should have their seeds started, their trees and shrubs pruned and their tools ready to go. After that, the most important thing is to have patience. It’s tempting to take advantage of warm days, but even in Zones 9 & 10, spring gets the last word in the garden.

1)As day lengths increase, plants begin new growth. Repot root bound plants, moving them to containers 2 inches larger in diameter than their current pot. Check for insect activity and apply controls as needed. Leggy plants may be pruned now.
2)Two handsome houseplants that provide fragrant blossoms indoors this month are the Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and Japanese Pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira). Both thrive in average home conditions and are easy plants to grow.

1) Trees, shrubs and perennials may be planted as soon as they become available at local nurseries.
2) Dormant mail order plants should be unwrapped immediately. Keep the roots from drying out, store in a cool protected spot, and plant as soon as conditions allow.
3) Loosen winter mulches from perennials cautiously. Re-cover plants at night if frost returns. Clean up beds by removing all weeds and dead foliage at this time.
4) To control Iris borer, clean up and destroy the old foliage before new growth begins.
5) Fertilize bulbs with a "bulb booster" formulation broadcast over the planting beds. Hose off any granules that stick to the foliage.
6) Heavy pruning of trees should be complete before growth occurs. Trees should not be pruned while the new leaves are growing.
7) Seeds of hardy annuals such as larkspur, bachelor's buttons, Shirley and California poppies should be direct sown in the garden now.
8) Summer and fall blooming perennials should be divided in spring.
9) Apply a balanced fertilizer such as 6-12-12 to perennial beds when new growth appears.
10) Spring bedding plants, such as pansies and toadflax (Linaria sp.), may be planted outdoors now.
11) Ornamental grasses should be cut to the ground just as the new growth begins.
12) Apply sulfur to the soils around acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, hollies and dogwoods. Use a granular formulation at the rate of 1/2 pound per 100 square feet.
13) Gradually start to pull back mulch from rose bushes during the last week of March, temperature pending.
14) Check shrubs for damage.

1) Mow lawns low to remove old growth before new growth begins.
2) Apply broadleaf herbicides when you see the Forsythias blooming for control of cool-season perennial and annual weeds. These must not be applied to areas that will be seeded soon.
3) Thin spots and bare patches in the lawn can be over seeded at the end of March.


1) Any root crops such as horseradish, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, or carrots still in the ground from last year should be harvested before new green top growth appears.
2) Cultivate weeds and remove the old, dead stalks of last years growth from the asparagus bed before the new spears emerge.
3) Fertilize the garden as the soil is being prepared for planting. Unless directed otherwise by a soil test, 1 to 2 pounds of 12-12-12 or an equivalent fertilizer per 100 square feet is usually sufficient
4) Delay planting if the garden soil is too wet. When a ball of soil crumbles easily after being squeezed together in your hand, it is dry enough to be safely worked. (Only cool-season plants should be planted at this time, aka no tomatoes, etc)
5) Asparagus and rhubarb roots should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked.
6) Plant peas, lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, mustard greens, collards, turnips, Irish potatoes, spinach and onions (seeds and sets) outdoors.
7) Set out broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage and cauliflower transplants into the garden.
8) Plant beets, carrots, parsley and parsnip seeds outdoors. (Mid to Late March)
9) Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants indoors. (Late March)


1) Gradually remove mulch from strawberries as the weather begins to warm.
2) Continue pruning apple trees. Burn or destroy all prunings to minimize insect or disease occurrence.
3) Continue pruning grapes. Bleeding causes no injury to the vines. Tie vines to the trellis before the buds swell to prevent bud injury and crop loss.
4) Cleft and splice grafting can be done now. This must be completed before rootstocks break dormancy. (Beginning and mid March)
5) Apply dormant oil sprays now. Choose a dry day when freezing temperatures are not expected.
6) Spray peach trees with a fungicide for the control of peach leaf curl disease.
7) Aphids begin to hatch on fruit trees as the buds begin to open.
8) Mulch all bramble fruits for weed control.
9) Peaches and nectarines should be pruned just before they bloom


1) GET YOUR SOIL TESTED!!! http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/fac tsheet.asp?code=49
2) Set up nesting boxes for bluebirds.
3) Raise purple martin houses by mid-March. Scout will usually come around in Mid to Late March.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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40yrOld Horticulturist,which means I'm a plant/tree/shrub Geek.My work revolves around Mother N and weather.I love working,playing,resting outdoors!

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