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What to do in March in the garden

  • March is such a welcome month to gardeners. The days are getting longer and the weather is warming up. There are enough rainy days to ease the burden of watering and there is inspiration all around.

    This is a good time to plant most shrubs and perennials with the exception of tropicals that will do better in warmer months. If you have favorites that do well in your garden consider propagating them this month from cuttings. They are eager to grow and will root quickly to give you more of what you already know works well. Looking for something new? Take note of spaces that need help and write down the cultural conditions so that you can do your homework and make choices that will be successful.

    Prune winter blooming shrubs and fertilize them. Use acidic fertilizers for camellias and azaleas to increase blooms next year.

    Start fertilizing shrubs and perennials that are getting ready to bloom in the spring and summer. Prune scraggly branches and start pinching back new growth on plants that tend to get leggy for compact growth and more blooms.

    Keep an eye out for snails and slugs and get them under control early in the season. Rainy days and cool night seem to make them more active. New growth may attract insects. Getting a head start on controlling them with easy organic methods such as a shot of water or releasing beneficial insects will result in not having to resort to more drastic measure later in the season to save a plant.

    The weeds are also starting to grow as a result of spring weather and getting a handle on them now before they take over will save work in the future. This is a good time to add mulch to the soil to keep them under control in the warmer months and cut down on watering requirements.