For those of us in mild climates, spring has already sprung! Fruit trees are blooming and shrubs have started to put out their new growth. For many, the last frost date has already passed you by, or is just around the corner. Weather is unpredictable, however, and a late cold snap can show up at just the wrong time. Be sure to keep frost cloth on hand to protect young seedlings, tender edibles or new plantings. Perennials will be emerging from dormancy, as will warm season lawns.
Plant it. Eat it. This is prime time to plant many edible crops–herbs, fruit and vegetables. In March, plant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, lettuce and more. Start an herb garden with chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Put your citrus plants back outdoors if you brought it in for the winter.
Plant it. Feed it. Plant romantic blooms such as roses and peonies this month. Plant evergreen shrubs, perennials and natives. Feed trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals that are already in the ground from winter with a nitrogen fertilizer. If you haven’t pruned and fertilized your roses yet, do so in order to encourage a bigger flush of flowers this spring.
Save water. Be prepared for summer heat by planting drought tolerant shrubs and perennials such as Glossy Abelia, Abelia grandiflora ‘Edward Goucher’, White Rockrose, Cistus x corbariensis, Hall’s Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’, Parry’s Penstemon, Penstemon parryi and more. Even if you live in an area of the country without strict water guidelines, saving resources in the landscape is always wise.
Divide and replant. Overcrowded perennials, or ones that bloomed sparsely the previous season, may need to be divided and replanted. Do so now, while the nights are still cool to reduce transplant shock. Asters, coral bells, agapanthus, ivy, fountain grass, phlox and more others can be divided this month. To make the task easier, water the area the night before to loosen the soil so the entire root system can be dug up with ease.
Lawn love. As lawns come out of dormancy this month, feed them with a quality fertilizer and mow only about ⅓ of their blade length. This is just enough to mow off the tops of weeds, but not enough to shock your lawn which weakens it, making it more susceptible to pests and disease.
General upkeep: Weed gardens and the lawn by hand as a natural way to reduce weeds and get some exercise. Add a fresh layer of mulch to give the landscape a finished look and retain moisture as we head into spring. Be sure to have your automated irrigation system checked by a professional to keep plants healthy and reduce water waste.