Saturday, March 10, 2012

FAQ: What Garden tasks should I do in March?

Among the most frequently asked questions, "When is the best time to...", is near the top of the list. Here are a few gardening tasks for March organized by region.

Northeast States: Frost is possible. Continue pruning dormant deciduous trees, shrubs, vines; but avoid removing spring flower buds. Maintain house plants, checking for disease and insects. Feed the birds. Browse seed catalogs and nursery web sites. Order spring flowering bulbs, onion sets, strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus, if you haven’t already. Check bulbs and roots in cool storage; throw out rotten ones. Add mulch to planting beds, if needed. Plant bare-root trees and shrubs. Sow warm-season annuals and vegetables in cold frame. Clean and oil garden tools.

Mid-Atlantic States: Frost is possible. Continue pruning dormant deciduous trees, shrubs, vines. Avoid removing spring-blooming flower buds. Spray dormant oil on dormant fruit trees, if you haven’t done so yet. Refill bird feeders often. Add mulch to planting beds, if needed. Take soil samples to your local Cooperative Extension Service for analysis. Adjust pH, if necessary. Sow warm-season annuals and vegetables in cold frame. Plant bare-root trees and shrubs. Clean and oil garden tools.

Mid-South States: Late frost is possible. Continue pruning dormant deciduous trees, shrubs, vines. Spray dormant oil on dormant fruit trees, if you haven’t done so yet. Continue planting and transplanting broadleaf and evergreen trees and shrubs, perennials and ground covers. Continue to irrigate shrubs and trees as long as weather is above freezing. Fertilize trees and shrubs when dormant, if you haven't done it yet. Add mulch to planting beds, if needed. Take soil samples to your local Cooperative Extension Service for analysis. Adjust pH, if necessary.

Lower South and Gulf States: Finish dormant pruning of deciduous trees, shrubs and vines. Do not spray fruit trees with pesticides if flowers are in bloom. For that matter, don’t spray any flowering shrub or tree with pesticides while flowers are in bloom. Plant both cool and warm season herbs and vegetables. Plant summer-flowering bulbs and tubers. Continue dividing perennials. As spring blooming bulbs complete flowering, allow foliage to yellow and dry before removing. Fertilize shrubs, trees, perennials, and small fruits. Begin lawn care and maintenance: adjust lawn pH to 6.5, fertilize, mow grass to a low level, dethatch, aerate. Begin rose care program.

Plains and Rocky Mountain States: Follow the same regimen as for Northeast States.

Pacific Southwest and Desert States: Follow regimen for Lower South and Gulf States.

Pacific Northwest States: Follow the same regimen as for Mid-Atlantic States.

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