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Gardener's Guide

March In Your Garden

  • Liriope and mondo grass ravaged by the winter cold should be cut back to 1 inch at the beginning of March.

  • Fertilize your shrubs and trees using an all-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10.

  • It is time to plant cool-weather vegetables.

  • Set out perennials and divide and transplant mature, existing perennials.

  • Prune the old and damaged wood off your roses.

  • Prune camellia bushes after they bloom.

  • Prune hydrangeas; root prune if they are old and not blooming well.

  • Plant trees, shrubs, fruit trees, and roses.

  • Begin regular spray program as plants start into active growth.

  • Stimulate pecan growth by applying 1 pound of aluminum sulfate per inch of trunk diameter for established trees.

  • Remember to let spring foliage die back on your bulbs before removing because it provides food for next year's bulb.

  • Fertilize established fescue lawns and core if needed. Plant new lawns in fescue before the end of March.

  • Renew mulch in flower beds and under trees and shrubs. A layer of mulch 2-4 inches thick will reduce weed problems and protect against moisture loss.

Tip of the Month

     For bird lovers who own cats, locating a bird feeder can be a problem. You might feel that you are offering up the birds on a silver platter to your cat. Try locating your feeder in the middle of some sturdy rose bushes. If hybrid teas are too tall for what you have in mind, try some of the shorter shrub roses. The thorny roses will discourage your cat from getting too close for comfort.

April In Your Garden

  • Repair, fertilize, and aerate established turf grass lawns. You can plant Bermuda grass or Centipede grass now on new lawn areas. Mow winter grass very low.
     

  • Fertilize azaleas and camellias after bloom.
     

  • Prune and feed those roses! Start your regular spray program.
     

  • Mark clumps of daffodils so crowded they have ceased to bloom. Dig these next July.
     

  • Encourage foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to remain green as long as possible. Water and fertilize. Do not cut until foliage dies. Set out annuals to conceal maturing foliage.
     

  • Plant annuals, vegetables, shrubs, trees, strawberries, perennials, and half-hardy summer-flowering bulbs. Caladiums should not be set out until temperatures remain above 40 degrees around the clock.
     

  • As soon as you notice new growth from the crown of your hardy water lily, it is time to divide it.

Tip of the Month

     When planting cell packs of annuals in borders, beds, or containers, keep a bucket of water nearby. With the plants still in the plastic packet, submerge the six-pack, and let it soak up water. Then remove the packet from the bucket, and allow it to drain before planting. Now you can loosen the roots with less damage, and the flowers will transition into soil better.

Better Soil = Better Garden

     Good soil absolutely means lusher growth, less fertilizing, fewer pests, and stronger plants. When starting out with awful soil, you have three options - dig out and replace the original soil; build raised beds filled with new soil atop the original soil; or improve the original soil. The first option is is both time-consuming and expensive. Either of the other two will work well with less cost and effort.

     If you are amending your existing soil you will need good, clean, loose, dark topsoil. Topsoil isn't enough by itself, however, it usually lacks the organic matter that most plants crave. Add sphagnum peat moss or composted manure to supplement the topsoil. Then add a layer of sand. Sand loosens the soil and aids aeration and drainage. Use a heavy-duty roto-tiller to mix these ingredients together and you are ready to plant.

 

2014 Leary Plant Farm, Inc.
Edenton, North Carolina 27932
1-800-583-7050
www.LearyPlantFarm.com