March signals the beginning of spring and a time to get a lot of work done in our gardens. If shrubs and trees are not already pruned, it is time to finish the job. Remember DO NOT prune your spring flowering plants until after they bloom. Begin disease and insect control sprays on fruit trees. Be sure to follow pesticide manufacturers’ instructions completely. Remember: the label is the law!
March is also the time to fertilize your roses. Watch for insects on your plants and begin the process of controlling them. Summer gardens may be planted after the soil is warm and the danger of freezing is past. March 12-21 is the median time of the last freeze in our area. Covering the soil with black plastic or using row covers gives you a jump start on warming the soil.
If you plan to plant sweet corn, March 11 is the earliest recommended planting date in our area. March 25 is our earliest date for planting snap beans and peanuts. Look carefully at your ground cover. You can still clean up winter damage if you are careful not to harm the new growth.This is a good month to take a critical look at your lawn. If you have large patches of weeds, plan to renovate your lawn next month. If a thick thatch layer is present, approximately ½ inch or greater in thickness, rake out the thatch. If the area involved is large, rent a dethatcher from an equipment rental store. If crab grass is a problem, a preemergent herbicide can be applied mid March. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the strength and application rate.
March is a good time for dividing chrysanthemums, daylilies, yarrow, rudbeckia, monarda, hosta, herbs, canna, four o’clocks, coreopsis and elephant ears.
Do not dig, move, or mow the foliage of daffodils until at least six weeks after they have finished blooming..
Things to Do This Month
Randall Williams, MG
It is butterweed season and the fallow fields and roadside ditches area mass of yellow. Packera glabella is a native plant for most of North America east of the Rockies and for the next few weeks these yellow flowers will be everywhere.
Even though it is a north American native, this winter annual, or biennial member of the Asteraceae family is a troublesome weed for farmers. It favors damp, open fields and often covers the disturbed ground from edge to edge. The bright yellow flowers sit atop the hollow stems in showy clusters, but be warned, each small plant is capable of producing hundreds of seeds which are capable of spreading via the wind, like many of its relatives.
Butterweed is considered toxic to grazing animals such as cattle and sheep and care should be taken to remove it from their pastures, however deer have the good sense to avoid it. Wild turkeys tend to gather in the blooming fields, but it is unknown whether they enjoy the flowers or are eating the insects that are attracted to the flowers. Liver damage is reported in animals that consume quantities of this plant, but most abstain after a taste or two. Humans find this plant as unpalatable as livestock but since it has a similar appearance to various wild mustards, please be confident of your plant's identity if you plan to eat it.
I like gardening - it's a place
where I find myself
when I need to lose myself.