MARCH GARDENING ACTIVITIES
on’t feed azaleas or rhododendrons until after they bloom. Then, give them a fertilizer that is specially formulated for plants that prefer acid soil. And don’t forget to throw old coffee grounds around the base of these blooming beauties!
Begin removing protective mulch from around rose bushes.
Prune trees and vines but stay away from birch and maples as they often bleed sap at this time of year if pruned.
As soon as your compost pile thaws, start to turn it with a fork as best you can.
March is prime time for feeding shrubs and perennials that bloom in the Summer months.
Start slow-growing and cool season seeds such as onions, leeks, parsley, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant and peppers.
It’s also time to start tomatoes, lettuce, and many other vegetable seeds indoors. Try and plant your peas on St. Patrick’s Day.
As a general rule for most warm weather annuals, delay sowing until after the final frost.
TEST YOUR SOIL
Get started early if the weather allows. Test your soil for pH to see if any amendments are necessary.
A general rule of thumb is to add 4 lbs. of lime per 100 sq. ft. of garden for every pH point below 6.5, or 1 lb. of sulfur per 100 sq. ft. for every pH point above 7.5.
Sawdust, composted oak leaves, wood chips, peat moss, cottonseed meal, and leaf mold lower the pH while ashes of hardwoods, bone meal, crushed marble, and crushed oyster shells raise the pH.
EARLY LAWN CARE
Get the rake out and start clearing away old grass and debris from the lawn (that is, if the temperatures have warmed up and the snow has all gone!).
If you did not do so in February, apply a pre-emergent herbicide (that prevents crabgrass) to established lawns before March 15th.
If you plan to seed fescue lawns, do not apply a pre-emergent. It will prevent the grass seed from germinating.
Treat and seed bare spots in the lawn for faster greening when the soil warms up.
For best selection, buy summer bulbs like gladiola, cannas, irises, dahlias and lilies. Wait until mid- to late-April to plant.
House plants 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.
Transplant and fertilize sprouting seedlings after a light rain when the ground is much easier to till.
For plants that need protection from heat and wind, plan your planting on a cloudy day or late in the afternoon.