March Gardening Activities - Region 5

Gardening Tips for March

Rocky Mountain and California Mountain Gardens

Learn2Grow Region 5 Map

States in the region:

Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, California (Mountains)

Key Issues for March

  • Check roses, perennials and trees for moisture. If rainfall or snow cover has been lacking, they could benefit from a soaking. Consider which watering method is best for you and your gardening situation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Get in gardening shape for the upcoming growing season! Carefully doing some routine stretching exercises and garden-like movements now will help limit the aches and pains of gardening later.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Plant garden peas near the end of the month (before April Fool’s Day). This gratifying cool-season vegetable is easy to grow, fun for kids to harvest and healthy to eat.
  • Remove young weeds in your landscape and garden beds now instead of later. (Think of all that additional weed seed that will germinate if you wait!) When you’re finished, help prevent weeds from further invading your garden by adding mulch to your beds or planting some attractive groundcovers.
  • Take inventory of the fertilizer/plant food you have on hand. Before buying any new products, be sure you understand which type of fertilizer you truly need for your specific plants and garden.
  • Walk around your tired winter landscape and note where you could use a little color for next year. Then consider planting showy witchhazel this growing season. When used as a main focal plant in foundation beds and mixed borders, this late winter bloomer dazzles in the weather-weary garden. If you’re looking for early spring blooms for next March, consider planting winter honeysuckle this year, an old-fashioned favorite shrub with very fragrant flowers.
  • 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 spring-flowering bulbs when green growth begins to show. Use a specialty bulb food or bonemeal to ensure healthy bulbs and flowers for future years.
  • Know when to prune, as well as when not to do it. Hold off on pruning your spring-flowering shrubs until after they’ve finished blooming. It is okay, however, to prune shrubs that bloom later in summer or fall, like beautyberry, butterflybush and rose of Sharon.
  • Give those foundation plantings blocking your windows and entryways a crew cut. Taxus (yew), junipers and other shrubs can easily outgrow their space and become troublesome. Now is the time to do any needed rejuvenation pruning.
  • Build a raised bed for your fruit and vegetable garden.
  • Plant some cutflowers for spring and surround your home with color, indoors and out! *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.