Plant cool-season Bonnie Plants vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, greens, lettuce, etc.
Replace spent herbs in your garden with Bonnie plants.
Establish or renovate the lawn as needed. Resod or replant with turfgrasses 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.
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.
Divide and transplant ornamental grasses as soon as the soil is workable.
Plant tender bulbs such as caladium, dahlia and tuberous begonia after all danger of frost has passed.
Beware of closeout sales on bare-root trees and shrubs. The chance of survival is rather low on bare-root plants this late in the season. Your best bet at this time of year is to depend on container-grown or balled-and-burlapped plants for landscape use.
Repot houseplants that are pot-bound.
FYI: Sulphur, sawdust, wood chips, peat moss, cottonseed meal and leaf mold lower soil pH while lime, ashes of hardwoods, bone meal, crushed marble and crushed oyster shells raise the pH.
If your lawn’s soil is acidic, you may need to apply lime. The best way to tell if you need lime is with a soil test that will let you know exactly how much to apply. But if you didn’t get your soil tested in the fall, use the general guideline of 15-20 pounds of lime per 100 square feet of lawn area. Pelletized lime is less messy and easier to apply than the white-powdered kind.
Don’t jump the gun and feed your summer lawn too early. In most areas, it’s best to wait another month or two when the grass starts actively growing.
Begin fertilizing trees and shrubs once growth starts.
Fertilize pecan trees with 1 pound of 10-10-10 + zinc for every inch of trunk thickness.
Fertilize roses every four to six weeks from now until September.
As camellia and azalea plants finish blooming, fertilize them with azalea-camellia fertilizer. Follow label instructions.
Fertilize established perennials as soon as new growth appears.
Fertilize bulbs after blooming with bone meal, bulb-boosting fertilizer or compost.
In your pond, divide and fertilize water lilies.
As soon as your houseplants begin to grow, you can begin a schedule of fertilizing and resume a regular watering schedule.
Clean up and prune trees and shrubs broken by winter storms, but hold off on pruning frost and cold damage until growth starts, so you can see what’s able to recover.
Continue pruning nonflowering trees and shrubs. You can also prune summer- and fall-flowering trees and shrubs such as crape myrtle and butterfly bush. Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons after they bloom.
As soon as the first leaves surface on your butterfly bush, you can pinch them back to spur new growth and bountiful blooms. This may be an April task depending upon how early or late spring is this year.
Prune winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) after it blooms or it could get out of control.
Hold off on pruning birch, maple, and other bleeding trees until after the leaves develop.
The traditional heavy pruning practices for roses are appropriate for hybrid teas, but most antique and shrub roses require less-severe methods. Weak or dead canes should be removed or shortened to healthy tissue any time during the year.
Cut back the old leaves on Lenten rose (Hellebores).
Don’t remove the foliage on early-blooming bulbs until they turn yellow or brown and fall flat, called ripening. The foliage replenishes the bulb with nutrients needed for next year’s blooms.
Pinch back spindly houseplants and root the cuttings.
Install drip irrigation and sprinklers to prepare for summer watering.
Perform a check on your existing irrigation system to detect any damage. Make repairs and adjust the system.
March 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.
Resume your lawn irrigation schedule as soon as warm-season grass begins to grow.
Check the plants under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see if they have sufficient moisture.
Start watering trees and shrubs planted in the fall as soon as new leaves appear. Newly planted trees and shrubs need supplemental watering for a FULL YEAR to stay healthy.
Water all bulbs during times of growth and especially during foliage and bloom development.
Carefully increase watering of tender succulents/cacti in preparation for blooming.
Follow instructions on pesticide labels carefully.
Apply pre-emergent broadleaf herbicides if you didn’t apply them last month. Read the labels carefully and be sure your weeds are listed.
Dandelions will begin to make themselves known in your lawn this month; get them now before they make seedheads.
Be careful not to get lawn herbicides too close to trees. Weed-and-feed-type fertilizers are notorious for killing young shade trees.
If you had a lot of crabgrass last year, you may want to consider applying a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass seeds from germinating. This is most effective when done before the end of March.
The most dreaded task of all is weeding, but it is one that really needs to be accomplished before the weeds have a chance to flower and go to seed. Remember, once the weeds go to seed, you can be fighting that weed’s progeny for decades!
Gather and dispose of fallen camellia blooms to prevent blight from developing and spreading.
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.
Grubs become active this month and feast on grass before molting. Check with your local Co-op store to learn which treatments work best in your area this time of year.
You will start to see more slug activity this month as they become more active. Set out bait.
A wide variety of caterpillars may soon begin appearing throughout the landscape and garden. Check tender foliage on such plants as petunias, broccoli, kale, lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower.
Aphids can become a major early spring insect problem on tender spring foliage. Use an insecticidal soap, Neem Oil Spray or an insecticide such as Malathion or Orthene.
Keep up the spray regimen with roses. Orthene and Funginex are the favorites.
On houseplants, inspect for insects and diseases such as spider mites and scale. Address problems as soon as you spot them.
Start a garden journal. Simply buy a ruled notebook and use it to keep an account of your daily activities.
Attend a flower and garden show. You can learn about new plants, garden design and solutions to landscape problems.
Remember to rotate the vegetables in the garden to reduce insect and disease problems.
Bermuda lawns may benefit from a scalping to remove the tall brown stubble of winter. Scalping is not necessary but can make the grass softer and easier to mow in summer. Gradually lower your mower blade to a final mowing of about 1 inch and remove the clippings. DO NOT scalp other types of grass.
Build a cold frame to acclimate seedlings and tender plants to ready them for transplant in April and May.
Gently wipe or spray houseplants to remove winter dust. For fuzzy-leaved plants like African violets, gently brush clean with a soft, dry cloth.
If you haven’t been monitoring it, turn your compost pile now. Dampen it and begin turning it regularly to get it to heat up so you can enjoy the production of good compost faster. If you haven’t started a compost pile, start one this month using refuse from the garden and, in a few weeks, grass clippings.
March 20 marks the Vernal or Spring Equinox, when day and night are the same length. Don’t be fooled by the calendar! Freezing weather can, and often does, persist well past the official start of spring.
Observe your lawn and garden during the spring thaw and rains, and address any drainage problems.
Prepare beds for planting warm-season flowers and vegetables.
Remove any extra winter mulch from perennials gradually now the worst of the freezing weather has passed.
Repair and paint fences, trellises, arbor and garden furniture.
Spring is a good time to add soil to low areas and to patch bare spots in cool-season lawns. Heavy seed planting is most successful in the fall.
Test leftover garden seed for germination. Place 10 seeds between moist paper towels. Keep seeds warm and moist. If fewer than six seeds germinate, buy fresh seed.
When a shovelful of soil crumbles in your hands, the soil is considered workable. If it’s still soggy enough that a handful mushes into a ball, you should wait before plowing or digging.
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.
Wildflowers will begin blooming this month. Remember, they must be allowed to mature their seeds if you want new plants next year.
Clean debris and muck from the water garden and add it to your compost pile.
The single best thing you can do to save time and energy in the garden is spread mulch. A 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of mulch will stop many weeds from growing. It also helps the soil stay moist during hot, dry periods this summer.
Feed your pond fish when the water temperature hits 50 degrees.
Check garden tools and equipment. Clean, sharpen and repair everything before you need it.
Have you had the mower tuned up and the blade sharpened? Tarry much longer and you’ll have to wait two weeks to get your machine back.
If you don’t have tulips or daffodils blooming because you didn’t plant any last fall, put it in your garden journal to buy some bulbs in the fall.
If you have a greenhouse, it is time to take cuttings of wintered-over plants.
Make maintaining your garden easier with raised beds. You can add high-quality soil to solve any problems with clay or sand. And you don’t have to bend down so far to weed, plant or tend to your plants.
Clean out, inspect and repair birdhouses for the spring-nesting season.