Tips for March – the month that begins the gardening season

March Gardening Tips

Flowers

  • Fertilize bulbs after blooming with balanced fertilizer or a mixture of bonemeal and dehydrated cow manure

  • Fertilize perennials as they start to grow; especially heavy feeders like astilbes, daylilies and peonies with 5-10-5 organic fertilizer or aged manure

  • Divide perennials as needed

  • Cut-back grasses, coneflowers, sedum heads, liriope, evergreen ferns, and other perennials

  • Prune roses and fertilize

  • Direct sow hardy flowers like poppies, larkspurs and sweet peas

  • Plant ground covers and perennials

  • Prune hybrid tea roses to the 3 to 4 strongest canes to form a “vase” shape

Garden

  • As soon as ground thaws and is dry enough, start tilling or turning beds. Add compost, balanced fertilizer, or manure.

  • Check for any over-wintering diseases or pests and remove

  • Plant bare-root berry bushes, strawberries,fruit trees, grapevines, asparagus

  • Prune established berry bushes and grapevines

  • Remove winter mulch from strawberry plants when growth starts, but keep some for frost protection

  • Direct sow cool-season plants (beets,carrots, broad beans, mustard, peas,spinach, arugula)

  • Transplant seedlings of cabbage and broccoli after hardening them off

  • Fertilize established plants with balanced organic fertilizer

  • Check for cutworms; if present place collars on plants

  • Do not add wood

Lawn

  • Remove debris, aerate and / or dethatch when soil is dry enough

  • Plant grass seed or plugs for new yards or restore existing ones; keep moist until established

  • Control Japanese beetles with milky spore or parasitic nematodes

Trees/Shrubs

  • Prune evergreen hedges (keep base wider than top), shrubs, and trees before growth starts; prune deciduous shrubs and trees before growth starts; remove all dead or diseased branches and do not compost or keep in yard

  • Put organic fertilizer on shrubs and trees if there are any signs of stress, slow growth, or poor leaf color (do not fertilize one year old trees)

  • Prune flowering shrubs and trees after bloom

  • Plant and / or transplant shrubs and trees; mulch around base for protection (but keep mulch 2-3” from base)

  • Check for overwintering insects and diseases; apply dormant oil if needed

  • Check for any bagworms you might have missed in the fall

 

If you haven’t had a soil test in the last three years, stop by the Loudoun County Extension Office for a kit, or contact the Loudoun County Master Gardener Help Desk with your questions:  703-771-5150 or loudounmg@vt.edu