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Garden tips for March

By Ray Ridlen

March is the second best time of the year to seed cool-season turf-grass; however, fall is the best time to plant.

Cool-season lawns such as bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass may be fertilized now with the first application of the season. Usually, four applications of fertilizer are required per year: March, May, October and November.

Remove excessive thatch from warm-season lawns. De-thatching, if necessary, should precede crabgrass control treatment.

Broadleaf weeds can easily be controlled in cool-season lawns at this time with post-emergent broadleaf herbicides.

Pre-emergent crabgrass control chemicals can still be applied to cool- and warm-season turf-grasses. Heed label cautions when using any weed killers near or in the root zone of desirable planting.

Begin mowing cool-season grasses at 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high.

Cultivate annual flower and vegetable planting beds to destroy winter weeds.

Apply mulch to control weeds in beds. Landscape fabric barrier can reduce the amount of mulch, but can dry out and prevent water penetration. Organic litter makes the best mulch.

Prune roses just before growth starts and begin a regular disease spray program as the foliage appears on susceptible varieties.

Avoid excessive walking and working in the garden when foliage and soils are wet.

Divide and replant overcrowded, summer and fall blooming perennials. Mow or cut back old liriope and other ornamental grasses before new growth begins.

Cool season vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrot, lettuce, onion, peas, spinach,

turnips, etc., should be planted by the middle of March.

Watch for cutworms that girdle newly planted vegetables during the first few weeks of establishment. Cabbage looper and cabbage-worm insects should be monitored and controlled in the garden.

Prune spring flowering plants, if needed, immediately following their bloom period.

Plant evergreen shrubs, balled and burlapped, and bare root trees and shrubs.

Anthracnose control on sycamore, maple and oak should begin at bud swell.

Diplodia Pine Tip blight control on pines begins at bud swell.

Chemical and physical control of galls (swellings) on stems of trees should begin now.

Dormant oil can still be applied to control mites, galls, over-wintering aphids, etc.

The first generation of Nantucket Pine Tip Moth appears at this time. Begin pesticide applications in late March.

Continue to plant strawberries, asparagus and other small fruit crops this month.

Start routine fruit tree spray schedule prior to bud break.

Remove winter mulch from strawberries in early March.

Date: 3/18/2013


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