Divide and transplant summer-blooming perennials.
If you want flowers on your cactus, try planting it in a small pot. Most cacti bloom sooner if rootbound.
Repot houseplants too large for their containers. Cut back leggy plants to encourage compact growth. Root the cuttings in moist media to increase your supply of plants or to give away/trade.
Set out herbs such as rosemary, chives and thyme – but not tender basil!
Set out summer- and fall-flowering bulbs.
Transplant Bonnie onions, shallots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards and asparagus crowns to the garden.
Plant gladiolus every two or three weeks if a long blooming season is desired.
Plant tuberous begonias in pots.
Sow hardy vegetables such as carrots, beets, kohlrabi, radishes, leaf lettuces, and turnips.
Start planting blackberries. Remember, if weather conditions prevent prompt planting, heel the plants in by placing the root system in a trench and covering the soil.
Seeds of summer annuals started indoors last month may be transplanted from the flats into peat pots and given diluted fertilizer.
Establish or renovate the lawn as needed. Re-sod or replant with turf grasses adapted to your part of the state and suited to the planting location (shade or sun).
It’s too early to plant Bermudagrass. You would be better off waiting until April.
Plant container-grown trees and shrubs as soon as possible.
In areas receiving shade where grass is difficult to grow, consider planting a dependable groundcover such as English ivy, Asian jasmine, vinca, hostas or ferns.
Fertilize shrubs and trees if this wasn’t done in February.
Use an acid-type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs.
Wait until new growth appears before you fertilize warm-season grasses.
Fertilize any bulbs that have finished blooming with bone meal or bulb booster.
Begin fertilizing houseplants again with a diluted solution of soluble houseplant food.
It is best to get a soil test before fertilizing to determine needs. Your local Co-op store has the testing material needed.
Fertilize pecan trees with one pound of 10-10-10 for every inch of trunk thickness.
Pinch off tips of chrysanthemums when they are four inches tall to promote branching.
Prune winter jasmine, forsythia, quince and winter honeysuckle after flowering. Cut honeysuckle vines back to three feet.
Remove all spent blooms from spring bulbs, but leave the foliage in place. You can cut tulip foliage down as soon as it is unattractive because they probably won’t come back.
Roses can be pruned this month. Severe pruning results in nicer, long-stemmed flowers and more compact bushes.
Houseplants will react to longer days and brighter light at this time by putting out new growth. The end of this month is a good time to pinch them back to generate new growth and to thicken them.
A severe pruning now of overgrown beds of groundcovers will remove woody stems and induce new, compact growth from the base whereas later pruning will retard growth.
Remove winter-damaged plants once you can distinguish the dead wood from the greenwood.
When peaches are the size of your thumb, thin them to one fruit every four to six inches of stem. If you don’t thin, you will have a tree full of small fruit and broken branches.
Now is the time to prune giant holly shrubs back to a manageable size. You can cut them to 18 inches tall and they will come back.
Trim over-wintered houseplants to remove lanky growth before moving them outdoors.
Check the plants under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see that they have sufficient moisture.
March is a good time to note areas of poor drainage. If there are pools of water in your yard that do not drain, fill in the low spot or scoop out a channel.
Check out the automatic lawn sprinkler system for leaks, broken pipes or heads, or wasteful misting.
Water all bulbs during times of growth and especially during foliage and bloom development.
Watering may not be necessary for established lawns. However, lawns started within the last year are especially susceptible to winter desiccation injury and need supplemental, cool-weather irrigation.
Mist or spray your houseplants to clean away the winter’s dust, prevent spider mites and add a little humidity.
Watch new growth on roses for aphids. Begin a spray or dust program.
Spray apples, peaches and pears affected with canker problems.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide before lawn weeds get started. These work by preventing the seed from germinating. Therefore, it is important they are applied in early spring, before growth of the weed seedlings.
In most areas it is still possible to do dormant spraying of fruit trees until the 15th. After that, dilute the spray by half. Application should be done when temperatures are above freezing (35-45 degrees) and the weather forecast calls for non-freezing temperatures for at least 24 hours. It is important to make thorough coverage when you spray, taking care to spray bark crevices and cracks where insects may be overwintering. Dormant oil is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at your local Quality Co-op.
Keep an eye out for cabbage worms on your cole crop plants (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, broccoli and turnips). Cabbage worms can be controlled with bacillus thuringiensis or Bt. It is a naturally occurring bacterium found in the soil. It won’t harm humans, beneficial insects or earthworms … only worms/caterpillars.
Remain vigilant in watching for insects and pests on your houseplants. It is much easier to win a "bug war" if you are aware of the infestation in its early stages.
Weeding really needs to be accomplished before they have a chance to flower and go to seed. Once the weeds go to seed, you can be fighting them for up to seven years or more. Most weeds can simply be pulled or cultivated out of the garden while they are young.
Follow instructions on pesticide labels carefully.
Apply pre-emergent broad-leaf herbicides if you didn’t apply them last month. Read the labels carefully and be sure your weeds are listed.
Examine the backside of euonymus and camellia leaves for scale insects. Thoroughly spray with horticultural oil if the pests are found.
We’ve all heard about filling a tuna or cat food tin with beer and snails and slugs getting in and drowning … and this really, really works. If you normally don’t have beer or don’t like the idea of buying it, another very effective alternative is boiling some yeast and honey in water. The proportions aren’t very critical, just mix some up, cool it off and put it in the tin. Empty and refill daily.
Remove spent camellia blooms from the bush and from the ground. You’ll prevent camellia petal blight.
You can spray fungicides while the trees are in bloom, but not insecticides. The bees are still pollinating your fruit trees and are susceptible to the sprays.
Dandelions will begin to make themselves known so get them now.
Help control iris borers by destroying old foliage before new growth begins.
Start a garden journal. Simply buy a ruled notebook and use it to keep your gardening information. Remember to rotate the vegetables in the garden to reduce insect and disease problems.
Pick a permanent spot for Bonnie herbs in the garden. You’ll be amazed at the variety offered and many of them will come back year after year.
To encourage your houseplants to have even growth, give them a quarter turn every week or so in order to assure all sides receive relatively equal exposure to sunlight.
Broken or weak arbors, fences and trellis should be repaired now as you will only be getting busier in the coming months.
If you haven’t done it already, check stored tools and outdoor furniture for signs of rust. Remove any surface rust with steel wool and paint with rust-inhibitive paint.
Turn the compost pile.
Clean out your birdhouses ASAP, so they will be ready when birds are ready to nest.
When your vegetable garden is dry enough (feels crumbly like chocolate cake, not squishy like Play-Doh), it’s time to till and prepare it for planting. Add organic matter before tilling.
Avoid walking on wet soil in the garden.
Mulch tree and shrub plantings up to four inches deep, keeping mulch away from trunks.
Repot houseplants you plan to move outdoors. Their roots will need more room as they grow rapidly in more sun.
Mow your lawn a half inch lower than normal to remove winter debris. Do not scalp.
Wildflowers will begin blooming this month. Remember, they must be allowed to mature their seeds if you want new plants next year.
Check and repair sprayers, dusters, lawn mowers and tillers.
As they emerge, gradually pull mulch away from perennials to allow the soil to warm around them. It’s always better to remove mulch late than to remove it too early and expose your plants to a cold snap.
Early spring is the right time for two special turf treatments, if needed: vertical cutting or thinning to remove thatch and aerification or coring to reduce soil compaction. Special equipment is available for each operation. Consult a lawn-care specialist, or rent the equipment and do-it-yourself.
If you have a greenhouse, it is time to take cuttings of wintered-over plants such as coleus, chrysanthemums and geraniums.
Take a little time to prepare the vegetable garden soil for planting. The addition of well-rotted manure, processed manure, peat moss or compost is good for building humus in the soil.