March in the Garden

by Jane & Wilson Grahame
Spring is here. It’s time to get into fourth gear.  Cleanliness is very Important at this time. It reduces the incidence of slugs, snails and cutworms. So get rid of old leaves and debris from the lawn and beds.
Weeding – don’t let weeds go to seed. All those perennials that were not cut back last fall can be cut back now.

Perennials can be divided and moved. Trees and shrubs may also be moved.

Apply balanced fertilizer and a compost/manure dressing or mushroom manure. Don’t put mushroom manure around your rhododendrons. It contains lime and Rhododendrons are acid loving.

Pot up your tuberous begonias.
Towards the end of the month plant summer flowering bulbs and corms – i.e. montbretia, lilies, gladioli, dahlias and nerines.
March is rose pruning month (St. Patrick’s Day). First clean up all the leaves under rose bushes before pruning and put them in the garbage. Apply a thin 1” layer of compost or aged manure to the base of each rose. Try under planting roses with garlic or chives to reduce incidence of aphids and black spot.
Prune early flowering shrubs after flowering – i.e. forsythia, winter jasmine, weigela, flowering currant, philadelphus (mock orange), ceanothus (California lilac)
Lavender, senecio, santolina and other grey, woody shrubs can be clipped hard removing last year’s flower spikes and most of last year’s growth.
Prune summer flowering shrubs – i.e. caryopteris, buddleia and lavatera. They can be cut back aggressively because they flower on new growth.
Clematis: Type A – those that bloom early (Armandii/Montana) DON’T prune; Type B – those that bloom in May & June prune lightly in March; Type C – those that bloom late from July to September prune hard to within 30” of the base.
Cut down ornamental grasses.
Deadhead and feed (fish fertilizer) spring bulbs when they have finished flowering. Leave the leaves.
Lawn rejuvenation starts now; moss removal; aerating; weeding; fertilizing; liming; seeding of bare patches.

Posted in Gardening Tips