Green Industry Resources
Hort Update- Seasonal Information for the Green Industry
March Garden Activities
- March 20 to April 20, clean lawn of debris (i.e. rocks, sticks, etc.). Mow lawn as short as possible and remove clipping debris. Alternatively and preferred- maintain Kentucky Bluegrass lawns at 2.5-3.5 inch mowing height throughout the season and return clippings to promot erooting and stress tolerance.
- Start tomatoes and peppers now for transplanting in May. Take steps to prevent damping-off disease in new transplants.
- Start sweet potato slips indoors for transplant later in spring after danger of frost has past. Sweet potatoes are tropical plants and sensitive to cold temperatures. 'Jewel' is a productive variety
- Plant peas and first crop of cool season vegetables. Don't work soil when wet.
- Cut down and burn, chip or bury pine trees suspected to have been killed by pine wilt before May 1.
- To flower branches of forsythia, crabapple, and spirea indoors, place freshly cut branches in a bucket of water. Locate bucket in a cool area (55-60° F) until buds show color. Then arrange in a vase for display.
- Complete the pruning of shrubs, ornamental trees before growth starts, except for spring flowering shrubs. Prune those which bloom in spring as soon as they finish flowering.
- Prune fruit trees and grapes in late February or early March after the worst of the winter cold is passed but before spring growth begins. Prune out Black Knot galls on plum, cherry and other members of the Prunus genus.
- Handpick last year's bags from juniper, spruce, fir and other plants affected by bagworms. Drop bags in soapy water to kill overwintering eggs.
- Apply sticky bands to hackberry trees to reduce damage by spring cankerworm. Prune summer flowering shrubs, hedges, trees, and tender fruit plants. Plant bare root stock now.
- Apply a soil drench treatment of imidacloprid on deciduous & evergreen trees to control aphids, such as ash leaf curl aphid & conifer aphid; bronze birch borer, elm leaf beetle, pine bark adelgid and lace bugs. Imidacloprid has a 60-day translocation delay and a 12-month residual. So a March treatment will be effective against insects by May and should only be applied once annually.
- Watch landscape plants, particularly conifers and broadleaf evergreens, for signs of winter injury.
- Don't remove mulch from strawberries or other perennials till bud growth begins. A warm day may make you think spring is almost here but there may be more cold weather yet to come.
- Fertilize established strawberry plantings before new growth begins in spring.
- Prune out last year's floricanes from red & yellow raspberries if it wasn't done in fall. Also remove any winterkilled branch tips. On black raspberries, reduce the length of side branches to 12 inches, and 18 inches for purple raspberries. Be prepared to remove a sizable amount of plant material, as the laterals may have grown to 8 feet or longer. This severe pruning improves both the size and quality of fruit.
- Plant raspberries in early spring, while they are still dormant, but the soil is dry and workable.
- Buy a notebook and use it to keep all your gardening information. List what you plant in the garden. Include the name of seed companies, plant name, variety, planting date, and harvest date. During the growing season keep notes on how well the plant does. If the variety is susceptible to disease, record what was used to treat any problems. All this information will be helpful in planning future gardens.
- Check stored bulbs, tubers, corms and rhizomes, such as dahlias, gladiolas, elephant ear, caladium, tuberous begonias and cannas. Discard any that are soft or rotted. If bulb-like plants start to shrivel, soak them in water for a short time to allow them to imbibe water and plump back up.
- Repair and paint window boxes, lawn furniture, tools and other items in preparation for outdoor gardening and recreational use.
- Remove old plant debris from garden area.
- Place birdhouses built this winter outdoors this month. Birds will begin looking for nesting sites soon.
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