March is the month of preparation, so take the time to prepare your garden for the growing season by checking soil pH and cleaning up winter debris is a perfect way start.
March is the best time for pruning trees and shrubs, especially for fruit and shade trees.
If you have fruiting or flowering trees, bring in a few pruned branches and place in water with flower preservative, and watch spring to begin to bloom inside as well.
Week One
• Deadhead fall pansies to encourage reblooming as the weather warms up.
Apply Espoma’s Flower-tone at the suggested rate to encourage larger blooms.
• Mist your houseplants every day or two with water at room temperature.
Be sure to groom them often, removing all dead or yellowing leaves. Remember, pruning and deadheading encourages new growth.
Cut back any foliage plants that are not producing new growth and repot them in new soil.
Week Two
• Wild onion and wild garlic are emerging, use Weed Beater Ultra to spot spray.
Unlike many other weed killers, this product works in cooler temperatures.
Another method would be to use Kleen-Up by Bonide and equal amounts of water in a coffee can plus one third of a teaspoon of liquid Woolite or Joy.
Then paint this mixture on the plants with a sponge brush.
• Rhododendrons are evergreen shrubs that require proper feeding and pH.
These plants require a pH of 4.0 to 5.5.
Be sure to test at the dripline of the shrub, apply Garden Sulfur by Espoma to lower pH.
Rhododendrons are light feeders, so do not apply commercial fertilizers!
I suggest you use Holly-tone or Cottonseed meal by Espoma.
Week Three
• Slugs and snails have not surfaced yet, but if warmer temperatures prevail, they may be coming sooner than later.
Diatomaceous Earth (DT) is a natural control that works well in dry soil, but is not effective in moist soils.
Use Sluggo in these areas.
You can also use beer in shallow aluminum pans to kill them.
• Fruit tree pruning should be done now.
Be sure to rake up all the pruned branches, fallen leaves, and unused fruit and debris from under and around the trees.
Discard or burn all the debris and do not compost.
A little extra work now could save you hours of work later on in the season.
Week Four
• Replace or sharpen the blades on your lawn mower as part of your spring servicing.
Dull blades will pull and tear the grass, resulting in an unsightly lawn.
• Ground covers like Ivy, Liriope, Mondo grass, and Plumbago benefit from early spring shearing.
A mower set at the highest setting will work.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)