March Edition of
Timely Gardening Tips

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  ~ Margaret Atwood

Flowers and Bulbs

  • Sow seeds outdoors for cool-season annuals such as calendula, Icelandic poppy, nasturtium, and nigella.
  • Start seeds indoors in Pro Mix with Mycorrhizae for slow growing annuals such as verbena, stock, phlox, nicotiana, cosmos, and impatiens.
  • Plant cool-season annuals such as pansies, violas, dusty miller, snapdragons, dianthus, nemesia, and alyssum.
  • Apply Blood Meal to pansies and violas for healthy growth and Bobbex Animal Control to deter rabbits.
  • Cut back liriope and ornamental grasses to 4″ to 6″ above the crown. Divide if needed.
  • Prepare beds when soil is workable and not overly wet. Lightly dig over the surface of your existing beds. Apply a slow-release organic fertilizer such as Espoma Plant-tone, and fork in a good organic compost and/or worm castings. (See soil section above.)
  • Fertilize perennials, ground covers and vines as growth appears using Plant-tone.
  • Summer and fall blooming perennials should be divided in the spring.
  • As plants emerge spray peonies, clematis and lilies for leaf spot diseases with ready to use Copper Fungicide. Examine plants for pest and disease damage and treat as necessary. Bring in samples and we will help you diagnose any problems and recommend a treatment.
  • Hand dig weeds and apply a pre-emergent. Do not use pre-emergent in beds where you will be planting seeds!
  • Apply Dusting Sulfur around iris and other plants to prevent fungal diseases.
  • If Rabbits are eating your plants, protect with Bobbex. (Do not use on vegetables.)



  • Do not feed roses or remove winter mulch from your roses before April 15th (last frost date). Dust canes, and emerging foliage, and the surrounding soil with Dusting Sulfur to treat for fungal diseases.
  • After April 15th, feed roses with Espoma Rose-tone.
  • Spray ready to use Fertilome Horticultural Oil on roses when temperatures are above 40 degrees.

Vegetables & Herbs

  • A soil thermometer will tell you the correct temperature to plant or transplant your veggies.
  • Start warmth-loving crops indoors, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants under lights.
  • When soil is workable and not overly wet, lightly dig over the surface of your existing beds. Apply a slow-release organic fertilizer such as Espoma Garden-tone and fork in a good organic compost and/or Worm Castings.
  • When soil conditions allow, sow seed directly outside for peas and beans, lettuce, spinach, radish, onion, carrots, kale, leek, turnips, kohlrabi, and celery.
  • In mid to late March plant hardy vegetables such as onion sets, shallots, broccoli, cauliflowers, cabbage, collards, spinach, beets, brussels sprouts, mid and late crop potatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, and strawberries.
  • Plant cool-season herbs such as rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, chives, cilantro and sorrel.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Apply Ferti Lome Horticultural Oil to broadleaf evergreens, fruit trees and roses to control scale.
  • Prune limbs damaged by ice, snow and winter kill. Prune shrubs that will flower on NEW growth such as crape myrtle, oakleaf hydrangeas, buddleia, rose of sharon, clethra and caryopteris. Wait to prune other shrubs until signs of live growth appear.
    Apply Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier , to encourage blue-blooming, big leaf hydrangeas. It deepens and intensifies the color.
  • Branches of forsythia, pear and flowering cherry may be forced to bloom indoors!
  • Apply Holly-tone or Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier to acid-loving plants such as azaleas, blueberries and hollies to encourage rich, green foliage.
  • Apply fresh mulch around bushes and trees to inhibit weeds, improve moisture retention and prevent damage from mowers. Use your hand and scoop a ring of mulch away from the base of the tree trunk to keep mulch away from direct contact with the bark as this may cause disease.
  • Established fruit trees can be fertilized (once frost leaves ground) with an organic fertilizer such as Garden-tone. Spray fruit trees with Ferti Lome Horticultural Oil or Copper Fungicide when temperatures are above 40 degrees.
  • Check for tent caterpillar egg masses and bagworms. If you spot a tent caterpillar web, destroy the web and kill the caterpillars.
  • Feed evergreens, hollies, and dogwoods with Holly-tone. Feed flowering and shade trees with Tree-tone.

Tropical Plants

  • Continue to rotate plants a quarter turn every time you water and prune and repot as necessary.
  • Repot houseplants as they become root bound or need refreshing with Pro Mix with Mychorrizae.
  • Repot orchids with a special orchid potting mix while not in bloom. Orchids should be repotted every two to three years or when root bound. Phalaenopsis orchids may be potted in sphagnum moss.
  • Fertilize orchids with Jack’s 3-9-6 Bloom Booster.
  • For African Violets fertilize with Schultz, African Violet Plus or Osmocote.
  • Apply Holly-tone to gardenias and Espoma Citrus-tone to citrus plants and avocado plants.
  • For all other plants, fertilize with Osmocote, John’s Recipe or Nature’s Source.
  • Water needs may increase as plants come out of dormancy. If you are unsure when to water, try using a digital moisture meter.
  • Regularly inspect plants for insects. Mealy bugs, whiteflies, aphids, spider mites and other insects may be treated effectively with Ferti Lome Triple Action with Neem Oil. Scale are smothered by Fertilome Horticultural Oil. Be sure to spray stems and always the undersides of leaves.

Regularly wash or dust off plants regularly. (Do not dust plants with insect problems to avoid inadvertent spread.) Remember, a clean plant is a happy plant!


  • As grass grows, begin mowing to 2.5 to 3 inches as needed.
  • After soil is tested, apply Limetone to neutralize pH or Organic Soil Acidifier to correct alkalinity.
  • Repair lawn damage by reseeding.
  • Remove fallen leaves and debris—add to compost pile.
  • Remove thatch and open up the grass by raking the lawn with a good sturdy rake.



  • Add shredded leaves, spent flower heads, grass clippings and other organic materials to compost pile. Turn compost pile regularly to speed decomposition.
  • Keep compost pile moist. Add water if needed.

For Backyard Birds & Bees

  • Keep bird feeders full to welcome the return of migrating birds to your garden. Also, set up and clean birdbaths.
  • To provide shelter, now is the time to set up bird houses, bat houses, butterfly and toad houses.
  • Encourage bees and other pollinators to your yard by planting native plants and reducing your use in pesticides. These pollinators along with beneficial insects act as a natural pest control. They seek and destroy bad insects.
  • Plant the following to attract these beneficials: borage, fennel, dill and parsley along with echinacea, galardia, cosmos, sunflowers and yarrow.