Dear Gardening Friends,
A good friend refers to the month of March as Mystery Month because we have no idea what it will be like. The last week has been absolutely spring-like but snow is predicted in the near future. March can be spring, winter or a mix. As far as gardening concerns, I always suggest erring on the side of caution. The following are a few tips for March:
- The key for March is not doing too much too soon. The soil should not be worked until it reaches 50 degrees. Planting in cold soil is counterproductive as the roots don’t settle in well and seeds started too early outside will rot in the cold wet soil.
- A good way to tell if the soil is “workable” is to make a ball of soil with your hand. If it falls apart easily the soil can be worked. If it stays in a clump, soil is not ready. When the soil is clumpy it won’t settle in around the roots well and will leave air pockets which cause desiccation.
- Now is a great time to prune most things except spring flowering shrubs and trees. Those being pruned now should be done before the buds start to open up. For information on pruning specific species check on line at a “.edu” site or contact me for a pruning consult. I will come to your home and we can do some pruning together to show you proper pruning techniques.
- If you have an oak tree that needs trimming you have to do it while it’s dormant to avoid a new oak disease called sudden oak death. Sounds awful and is! Check out my informative article for more information on oak disease.
- When the snow is off the ground it’s a good time to rake up debris from along road and driveway edges. It’s too early to rake the grass or remove mulch from the gardens. You can also remove any fallen branches you can remove easily without walking in the garden or lawn. Walking on the ground now easily causes compaction.
- If a mulched area has spring bulbs that started to poke through with the warm weather last week, just gently remove some mulch/ leaves but leave a light covering to protect them from the temperature fluctuations. They should be fine even if we get some snow as they have a sort of built in anti-freeze.
- Now is a good time to repot house plants that need it. If the water runs right through the pot when you water, that’s a sign that the roots have taken over the pot and the plant needs to be repotted. If you want the plant to increase in size use a pot a few inches larger. If you want to keep it a similar size cut off the outer edges of the root mass on the bottom and sides and re pot in the same pot.
- It’s also a good time to start cuttings of houseplants and remove old browning leaves.