Sunday, March 1, 2009

March gardening calendar

• As day lengths increase, plants begin new growth. Repot root bound plants, moving them to containers 2 inches larger in diameter than their current pot. Check for insect activity and apply controls as needed. Leggy plants may be pruned now.
• Two handsome houseplants that provide fragrant blossoms indoors this month are the Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and Japanese Pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira). Both thrive in average home conditions and are easy plants to grow.

• Trees, shrubs and perennials may be planted as soon as they become available at local nurseries.
• Dormant mail order plants should be unwrapped immediately. Keep the roots from drying out, store in a cool protected spot, and plant as soon as conditions allow.
• Loosen winter mulches from perennials cautiously. Re-cover plants at night if frost returns. Clean up beds by removing all weeds and dead foliage at this time.
• To control Iris borer, clean up and destroy the old foliage before new growth begins.
• Fertilize bulbs with a “bulb booster” formulation broadcast over the planting beds. Hose off any granules that stick to the foliage.
• Weeks 1-2: Heavy pruning of trees should be complete before growth occurs. Trees should not be pruned while the new leaves are growing.
• Weeks 2-4: Summer and fall blooming perennials should be divided in spring.

• Mow lawns low to remove old growth before new growth begins.
• Weeks 2-4: Apply broadleaf herbicides now for control of cool-season perennial and annual weeds. These must not be applied to areas that will be seeded soon.
• Week 2: Apply controls for wild garlic. It will take several years of annual applications for complete control.

• Any root crops such as horseradish, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, or carrots still in the ground from last year should be harvested before new green top growth appears.
• Cultivate weeds and remove the old, dead stalks of last years growth from the asparagus bed before the new spears emerge.
• Fertilize the garden as the soil is being prepared for planting. Unless directed otherwise by a soil test, 1 to 2 pounds of 12-12-12 or an equivalent fertilizer per 100 square feet is usually sufficient.
• Weeks 1-2: Delay planting if the garden soil is too wet. When a ball of soil crumbles easily after being squeezed together in your hand, it is dry enough to be safely worked.
• Gradually remove mulch from strawberries as the weather begins to warm.
• Weeks 1-3: Continue pruning apple trees. Burn or destroy all prunings to minimize insect or disease occurrence.

• Weeks 1: Red maples begin to bloom.
• Weeks 1: Watch for the Harbinger of Spring (Erigenia bulbosa) blooming in rich wooded areas.

--From the University of Misssouri

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