March Gardening Calendar
March brings with it a sense of change, a feeling among all that there is light at the end of the tunnel. While there will still be plenty of cold days and nights ahead, and undoubtedly some more snow before it is all finished, all can sense that true Spring is just around the corner.
While most of us might hardly notice the passage of Fall into Winter, we all notice the first day of spring this month. Be it balmy or blustery, the first day of Spring marks a mental turning point: Warmer days are ahead. March is also a time when the pace starts to pick up for those of us who garden in the Southern Great Lakes region:
1. If the weather stays consistently moderate, gradually start to remove mulch from early flowering perennials as they break dormancy.
2. If you haven’t already done so, finish removing foliage and dead flower stems from your perennials beds. Also start trimming ornamental grasses: Remove the dried plumes and foliage. Place back any perennial that has heaved out of the ground.
3. Although it might be tempting, leave the mulch and soil mounds around roses for a few weeks longer. There are still plenty of opportunities for more cold weather and snow in the weeks ahead.
4. Continue to prune fruit trees and grapevines this month. Finish this task by the second week of the month at the latest.
5. When the temperatures are above 50, apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees and deciduous ornamental shrubs and trees.
6. Look around your yard and see where things are starting to grow. Look to see where similar plants are still dormant. These are microclimates, and by observing frost patterns and where plants break dormancy early or not, you can use this information when siting new plants.
7. Continue to start seeds indoors.
8. Towards the end of the month, start removing your windbreaks around such plants as your rhododendrons. Keep your hydrangeas macrophyllas covered a little while longer.
9. As leaves of your spring flowering bulbs start to emerge, scratch in a little bone meal or organic fertilizer in the soil around these plants.
10. Get the lawnmower and other power tools ready to go for the upcoming season. The time to mow will come sooner than you think!
11. Take advantage of pre-season sales to purchase yard maintenance equipment.
12. If you didn’t do this last fall, now is a good time to empty your soil from your pots and hanging baskets. Add the old soil to the compost pile or your gardens. Clean and sterilize your containers before using, and buy new containers while the selection is still good.
13. Get bids for any big landscaping projects. If you use a lawn service, now is a good time to get bids from several different services before the busy season begins.
14. Maintain your cold frame. Keep it open on warm, sunny days to prevent the plants from getting too warm.
15. Continue to take branches of early spring flowering bushes in for forcing. The closer to the time when they normally bloom, the easier they are to force.
16. Pot up some pansies for early outdoor color. They can stand it down to about 30 degrees. Bring them up to the porch or another protected spot if the temperatures threaten to dip lower.
17. Scratch in some cottonseed meal or other organic fertilizer around your azaleas and rhododendrons as their buds begin to swell.
18. Start your summer bulbs indoors such as dahlias and begonias the last two weeks of this month.
19. Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds!
20. Take in a flower show. Many cities host many home and garden shows. It is a great way to spend a weekend day. Also take a simple walk around the yard to see what’s cookin’. You might spy a crocus or more already in bloom!