March Gardening Activities - Region 4
Gardening Tips for March
Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Gardens
States in the region:
Maryland, Delware, DC, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Texas (Eastern)
Oklahoma (Eastern), Arkansas and Tennessee
Key Issues for March
- Soil and weather permitting, plant cool-season crops, like lettuce, spinach, radish and broccoli, as soon as the soil is workable. (Avoid digging in wet soil because you’ll only compact it, making the ground difficult to plant and harder for your plants to send out roots.) Short on planting space? Consider alternative locations for a vegetable garden.
- Care for ornamental grasses. Now is the time to cut them back. Bundle and tie the plants before cutting to make removal easier (and neater). If grass clumps have become too large, they can be dug up and divided into smaller, more manageable clumps for replanting or sharing.
- Protect your plants! As the days of early spring grow nearer, new plant growth begins to peek through the mulch. But more often than not, those first much-enjoyed warm days will be interrupted by season-transitioning frosty nights. Be prepared!
- Carefully assess winter damage before you do any pruning to evergreens and other landscape shrubs. It may be wise to hold off until new growth pushes this spring and then prune where needed. (See the next tip for flowering shrubs!)
- Hold off pruning spring-flowering shrubs, like rhododendrons and azaleas, until after they’ve finished blooming. It is okay, however, to prune shrubs that bloom later in summer or fall, like crapemyrtle, Abelia and butterflybush.
- Prune fruit trees like peaches, apples and pears, as well as muscadine grapevines, early in the month for optimal fruit production.
- Plant garden peas in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. This gratifying cool-season vegetable is easy to grow, fun for kids to harvest and healthy to eat.
- When the ground thaws (and the weather is cooperating), prepare garden beds for spring planting. A simple at-home soil test kit will help determine what (if any) nutrients should be added for optimum plant growth. Amending your garden soil by mixing compost, manure or other organic amendments into your planting beds (provided the ground is workable) helps improve soil drainage and air space as well.
- Start seed of warm-season vegetables indoors. Tomato, pepper and eggplant seed sown inside now will provide a bountiful crop later, even with limited watering outdoors in a few months. (Sow early, then harvest early before summer gets too hot and dry.)
- Build a raised bed for your fruit and vegetable garden.
- Develop a rain-catching system to harvest spring rains and help conserve water in the garden. It can be as involved as hooking a rain barrel to roof downspouts or as simple as adding mulch to planting beds. Check and repair all garden hoses and irrigation equipment to further save water.
- Fertilize houseplants. Read and follow all label directions for proper rate of application and frequency – and make sure you’re using the right type of fertilizer for your particular indoor plant!
- Repot container plants that may need a larger planter.
- Bring instant, affordable color and interest to patios, entrances and walkways with spring-blooming container gardens.
- If the soil is workable (and weather permitting), now’s the time for planting bare-root plants. This includes trees (both ornamental and fruit), shrubs and roses.
- Plant some cutflowers for spring and surround your home with color, indoors and out!
- Add some early spring flower power to your garden beds, borders or planters with violas and pansies, snapdragons and primroses. A visit to your local garden center should provide plenty of choices.
- Consider some tropical plants for your garden and landscape this year. Be on the lookout for some luscious and bold beauties at nurseries and garden centers soon.