March Landscape, Lawn & Garden Tips for Zone 8
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The up and down weather of March makes it impossible to set dates and schedules for planting in Zone 8, so proceed with caution! March is the month when many of the beautiful spring flowering perennials begin to flower With Spring just around the corner, it is time to get serious and get the garden ready.
CAUTION: Though some retailers in the South are offering spring annual flowers at this time, we highly recommend that you wait to plant these tender plants in your garden until early to mid-April, when weather forecasters have said all chances of frost have passed.
Fertilization & Feeding Tips
- Fertilize shrubs and trees - March is a good time fertilize most shrubs and trees. That being said, regarding shrubs that bloom in the spring, such as azaleas, you want to wait until the flowers have started to fade to feed them. Feeding before bloom can force new growth that will cover up the flowers. Know your plants feeding requirements before fertilizing them. Most ornamental shrubs and trees like a slow-release, well-balanced "shrub & tree" type fertilizer. If you want to be on the safe side non-burning organic or natural fertilizers can be used. If you are unsure as to what to feed a particular type of plant consult with your local nursery and garden center professional, arborist, or extention agent.
- Fertilize Roses - If you didn't feed and prune them in late February, March is also a good time to feed and prune them. SEE: How To Fertilize Roses and Pruning Knock Out Roses and Pruning Hybrid Tea Roses
- Fertilize perennial plants - Fertilize established perennials after new growth appears with a good flower fertilizer or natural or organic plant food. SEE: How To Fertilize Perennial Plants
- Fertilize bulbs - Feed any bulbs, such as daffodils and hyacinths, that have finished blooming with bone meal or bulb booster.
- Feed pansies - Feed your pansies for the last time of the season with a flower food containing a "nitrate" form of nitrogen. Pansies will put on a magnificent flower show through spring but will usually begin to fade out the latter part of April to mid-May. At this time, you can replace them with spring and summer flowering annual bedding plants, which will bloom until frost.
- Prepare the vegetable garden soil for planting - Till or turn in a 1/4 inch layer of well-rotted manure, processed manure, mushroom compost or your own homemade compost into your vegetable garden soil to add beneficial nutrients and bacteria your plants will need come spring and summer.
- Prepare seasonal flower beds - March is a good time to prepare your seasonal flower beds, gardens, and containers for the upcoming spring. To refurbish the soil till or turn in 1/2 to 1 inch of organic compost to soil. If you don'tt make your own compost, most local nursery and garden centers carry products such as mushroom compost or composted cow manure. These products are necessary to replenish soil with rich organic matter necessary to successfully grow healthy flowers
- Apply pelletized lime to Fescue, Bermuda, and Zoysia lawns - Lime is not a fertilizer, however, you may notice after applying it that your lawn greens up quickly. This is due to the correction of the pH, which can unlock and releases fertilizers that have been applied in the past. If you have never applied lime to your lawn, a one-time application of 40 lbs standard pelletized lime per 500 -1,000 square feet usually corrects soil pH to a level sufficient for these grasses to thrive and for fertilizers applied to activate. Make sure to use "pelletized" lime as it activates instantly. You can test your soil with a soil testing kit purchased from your local nursery and garden center. Your local cooperative extension service may provide soil testing services.
Planting Tips & Reminders
- Plant vegetables - Plant early spring vegetables such as asparagus, potatoes, onions, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, radish, spinach, chard, cabbage, cauliflower, and other hardy vegetables can be seeded or set out late in the month.
- Plant fruits - March is a good time to plant Strawberries, Blueberries, Grapes, Blackberries, Pomegranate, and fruit trees.
- Plant Shrubs & Trees - March is a great time to plant shrubs and trees. Most types will still be dormant and you'll get them in the ground so they can benefit from the spring root flush.
- Last chance to transplant shrubs and trees - If plants and trees are still dormant we're nearing the end of the safe time to move and relocate existing shrubs and trees in your landscape. If flower or leaf buds are swelling or open it's too late to transplant this year.
- Seed or overseed Fescue lawns - March is a good time to seed or overseed a fescue lawn. I recommend using turf-type fescue because it has thinner blades, grows upright and has demonstrated higher resistance to heat and to mowing. SEE: How To Overseed A Lawn / How To Plant A New Lawn With Seed
- Begin planting perennial plants - Perennials are flowering or foliage plants that return year after year after you plant them in your garden. There are hundreds and hundreds of varieties of perennials, many of which bloom in spring and others that bloom in summer, fall or winter. Some bloom all season. SEE: Gardening With Perennials
Pruning Tips & Reminders
- Prune roses - If you didn't prune and feed your roses in late February, do so in early March. SEE: Pruning Knock Out Roses and Pruning Hybrid Tea Roses and How To Fertilize Roses
- Prune Crape Myrtles - If you haven't done so already, prune crape myrtles, but only if they are still dormant and have yet to leaf out. SEE: How To Prune A Crape Myrtle
- Pinch back houseplants - Houseplants will react to longer days and brighter light at this time by putting out new growth. March is a good time to pinch them back to generate new growth and to thicken them. You can then begin fertilizing again with a dilute solution of soluble houseplant food. Turn your houseplants a quarter turn each week to make sure all sides of the plant receive adequate light, and to keep the shape of the plant balanced.
- Cut back groundcovers - If you didn't get to it last month, trim mondograss and liriope before new growth appears.