daffodil close-up

daffodils -- wide

Daffodils are one of the harbingers of spring.



What to do in March

Dig and divide summer- and fall-flowering perennials just before they initiate their spring growth.

Pruning of evergreens and summer-flowering trees and shrubs should be completed in early March. Do not prune spring-flowering trees or shrubs until after they bloom.

Fertilize pecan trees with 21-0-0 or similar high nitrogen fertilizer early in the month and repeat after 30 and 60 days. Begin zinc sprays at bud break on pecans also.

Be on the lookout
Beware of closeout sales on bare-rooted trees and shrubs. The chance of survival is rather low on bare-rooted plants this late in the season. Your best bet at this time of year is to depend on container-grown or balled and burlapped (B&B) plants for landscaping use.

Look for black spot and powdery mildew on roses and apply fungicide at ten-day intervals. Be on the lookout for fire blight on plants in the rose family such as pears, apples, Indian Hawthorn, and other susceptible plants. Protect while in full bloom with a spray of agricultural streptomycin.

Miscellaneous chores
Prepare beds for planting flowers and vegetables. You may want to rent or buy a garden tiller to speed up the process. If you have a strong back, the old fashioned way using a garden fork and shovel still does an excellent job.

Our soils in West Texas have very little organic matter. A good rule of thumb is to add about four inches of organic matter to your beds in the form of peat moss, compost, or shredded pine bark. The organic matter helps to hold water and improves soil texture.

This is an excellent time to have your soil tested. Pick up a soil test kit at your local County Extension Agent’s office. The cost is about $15. Knowing the nutrient levels in your soil will help you determine the kind and the amount of fertilizer to apply to your flowerbeds and lawn.

Be sure you know the date of the last killing frost. After the danger has past, set out the plants you started in January and February or the purchased plants from your local nursery or garden center.

Apply pre-emergent weed killers to prevent germination of crabgrass, grassburrs, and other summer weeds in your lawn. Use broadleaf weed killers to eliminate dandelions, clover, henbit, chickweed, plantain, and other non-grassy weeds in turf areas. Follow label directions carefully.

    (c) 2007 - 2008 Howard County Master Gardeners