for a more beautiful garden
Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs:
In late March its not too early to put outdoors cool
weather annuals such as pansies, violas, and dianthus. Or you might try
the more unusual annuals such as linaria, calceolaria, mimulus,
nemesia, and sunscape daises. These plants can withstand
temperatures to around 30 or sometimes colder if acclimated to the
- Divide daylilies, hostas, astilbe, and dahlias
which need dividing.
If cold frosty nights should bother
your plants, never use plastic sheets as a frost protector. Use either
cloth sheets or newspaper. Try if possible to prevent any of the
covering touching the plants.
Its not a good idea to try to protect
exposed and opened blooms of daffodils, tulips. or hyacinths from the
cold since the weight of the covers will damage the flowers. Opened
flowers can withstand a few degrees of frost, while buds should be able
to cope with 20 degree temperatures.
Control iris borer by cleaning up and
destroying the old foliage before new growth appears
Remove mulch from roses and perennial
flowers if they begin to sprout.
Avoid mixing daffodils with tulips in your flower
arrangements. Daffodils contain chemicals which may damage cut tulips in
the same vase.
Lift and divide large clumps of herbaceous plants.
Remove the old woody stalks and add them to the compost.
Alternating thawing and freezing can tear plant roots
and even force the plant right out of its hole. If you notice any plants
that have heaved, push them back into the earth, and tamp lightly with
Vegetables and Herbs
vegetables can be planted in late March.
Day is the traditional time to plant peas and potatoes, but you may have
to wait a few weeks until the ground dries out unless you prepared the
soil last fall. Rhubarb, asparagus, and onion sets can also be planted
rich in vitamins A and C. Start some seeds indoors now for later
transplanting to a sunny corner of the vegetable garden
tolerate light freezes. Early planting normally produces larger yields
than later plantings. Successive spring plantings can be made every 10
days. Use a fence or string trellis for taller varieties. Dwarf peas
will support themselves. Create a planting row 2 feet wide; then scatter
the peas about 4 inches apart in all directions
carrots, Swiss chard, peas, collards, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce,
onions, parsley, parsnips, radishes, potatoes, and spinach when the
For more info
on starting seeds
is the foundation for plants, have soil tested before planting new
areas. Soil tests will give you important information like pH, % organic
matter, soluble salts, and major nutrients in soil. Recommendations for
amendments will also be provided
testing info click
- Begin spring clean-up by clearing out
dead leaves from gutters, planting beds and other planting areas
- When your garden is dry enough (feels
crumbly like chocolate cake, not squishy like Play-Doh), it's time to
till and prepare it for planting.
- Don't plow your garden when the soil
is wet. It will form clods which are difficult to break up and interfere
with cultivation during the summer.
- Cut back ornamental grasses to about 4
to 6 inches. Try to do this before new growth starts. Remove any dead
leaves or debris from the crown of the plant..
- Set mole traps between 4 - 6 p.m. for
best results, since this time coincides with active feeding time. Mole
repellents, such as Mole-Med or Mole-Exit, both containing castor oil,
also have shown some promise. Avoid other methods of mole control ...
such as broken glass, chewing gum, poison peanuts, gassing, windmills,
etc., since they do not work or are illegal.
- Fertilize woody plants before new
growth begins, but after soil temperatures have reached 40 F -- around
early March in southern Ohio and late March in northern Ohio.
Shrubs and Trees:
- Dormant oil can still be applied –
Check our tip sheet
sprays tip sheet
- Late March and early April is a ideal
time to transplant shrubs and trees. You can move shrubs and trees as
soon as the soil is workable, but before buds have swelled or broken
- Trees which bleed such as birch and
maple should not be pruned until after their leaves are fully developed
- Fertilize established rhododendrons,
azaleas, roses and other ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as fruit
trees. Follow the recommendations on the fertilizer bag
- Force branches of Pussy Willow,
Cherry, Quince, and Forsythia to bloom indoors. Prune twigs once flower
buds are swollen, place in vase of water and put in sunny warm location.
Branches cut at this time of the year respond very quickly.
Check tip sheet
- Plant trees and shrubs in March, while
they are still dormant. No nitrogen fertilizer is needed at planting
- Eastern tent caterpillars will hatch
from eggs on tree branches at about the time when red maples and
forsythias are blooming. Organic sprays of B.t. variety kurstaki, or
conventional pesticides such as Sevin, Diazinon, Orthene or Malathion
will easily kill young larvae infesting ornamental cherry, crabapple,
hawthorn, or other trees
- Summer-flowering trees (mimosa,
smoketree, goldenraintree, Japanese pagodatree) and summer-flowering
shrubs (butterflybush, beautyberry, summersweet Clethra, Rose-of-Sharon,
Annabelle Hydrangea, Hills-of-Snow Hydrangea, PeeGee Hydrangea,
Pink-flowering spireas and crapemyrtle) can all be pruned in early
March, since they will set flowers on their new spring growth.
- By the end of the month we might have enough warm days to make
many plants begin to show green shoots that will be tender if hit by
frost. Don’t wrap your shrubs up if a cold wave warning is predicted. It
just makes them more susceptible to damage.
- Don't fertilize established lawns now,
since that would encourage weed growth. However, fertilizer should be
mixed into the soil before seeding new lawns, to get them off to a good
start. If established lawns start out with a yellow-green color this
spring, apply half the normal rate of nitrogen in late May. That would
be equal to 1/2 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn.
- Have lawn mowers serviced before the
start of the growing season.
- If a preemergence herbicide is
justified on your lawn to control crabgrass now, most of those are
available combined with fertilizer and you are forced to apply a
fertilizer now. Look for a product with low nitrogen and be sure the
majority of the nitrogen is a slow release N as listed earlier. Apply
pre-emergent herbicide for crab grass control between March 15 - April
- New lawns and old lawns need mowed
just as soon as they reach normal mowing height. Never, remove more than
1/3 the length of the grass blade at one time. Mow to a height of 2 - 2˝
inches for Kentucky Bluegrass, or 2 - 3 inches for tall fescue
- House plants will react to longer days
and brighter light at this time by putting out new growth. The end of
the month is a good time to pinch them back to generate new growth and
to thicken them. You can begin fertilizing again with a dilute solution
of soluble house plant food like Miracle Grow.
- Turn your house plants a quarter turn
each week to make sure all side of the plant receive adequate light and
also keeps the shape of the plant balanced. Mist or spray your house
plant to clean away the winter dust, prevent spider mites and add a
little humidity. Remain vigilant in watching for insects and pests. It
is much easier to win a 'bug war' if you are aware of the infestation in
it's ealy stages.
- A very dilute fertilizer solution at
each watering keeps African Violet growth constant and reduces chances
of over fertilization. Pale green leaf color may indicate too much
sunlight or low fertility. Avoid water "softened" by a system using salt
in the process.
- When buying house plants avoid plant
with roots coming out of drainage holes; as well as large plants in
small pots, or small plants in large pots
Remove leaves and debris from ponds.
Inspect The Pond Take a careful look around your pond. Make
sure there has been no winter damage to the pond or any of the
components. Repair or replace as necessary.
Start Pump If your pump has been off for the winter, spring is
the time to start it back up. Most people do this when the water
temperature increases to around 50 degrees.
Test Water Begin testing the pond water again. Of particular
importance are ammonia and nitrite levels. Both of these should be zero.
Perform partial water changes if either test gives a reading other than
weather means your fish are now or soon will be ready to start eating
again. Until the water temperature is consistently above 50 degrees,
continue to not feed the fish. Once the water temperature is into the
50s you will want to feed a food designed for spring and fall. As the
water temperature reaches into the 60s it will be time to feed your
regular summertime fish food.
the water temperature reaches into the 50s it will be time to get the
survived the winter ready for a great year ahead. This is the time we
begin fertilizing the plants. Also, for maximum performance, it may be
necessary to divide some of these plants. If the plants are too crowded
in their pots, they will suffer and their growth and flowering potential
have a backyard garden pool, now is the time to clean it and refill it
with fresh water. You can plant hardy water lilies from now until May.
Birds in the Garden
In March bluebirds return to the region and
start searching for suitable nesting sites. You can help their efforts
by constructing a bluebird house in your backyard. Bluebirds are very
fussy about where they live and the type of box they select for their
nest, so you should buy a bluebird house at your local garden center or
make your own.
Birds will be ready to start nesting this
month so if you want them in your yard you will need to have your bird
houses cleaned of last year’s nests and placed out in the yard. Check
your dryer vents as it is a tempting place to put a nest. Cover your
chimney to prevent birds, bats, squirrels and even raccoons from nesting
in your house.
Place birdhouses built this winter outdoors
this month. Birds will begin looking for nesting sites soon
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