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March Garden Tasks

Blooming now….daffodils, California lilac (Ceanothus), Euphorbia, flowering currant (Ribes), geraniums, grape hyacinth, Hardenbergia, iris, California poppy and more.

 

  • Remove spent blossoms from daffodils  Follow the flowering stem to base of the plant and cut.  Leave the leaves until they look yellow and/or wither. 
  • Remove spent blossoms on azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and pick up blooms that have fallen on the ground.  Be careful with rhododendron blooms because new growth under the spent flower.
  • Prune deciduous plants  if you haven’t already such as fruit trees, maples, grapes and roses… before they leaf out.  Many have already due to our dry, warm weather. 
  • Bump off Snails and Slugs  Look for snails and slugs and eliminate before they cause damage to tender, spring growth.  Look for them in dark spots under plants, attached to bricks and stones etc.  Use snail bait if you are squeamish about killing them. 
  • Weed!  Do not step on soil that is too wet (soggy) in order to weed.  Stepping on wet soil, especially our clay soil, will damage the soil through compaction.
  • Prune back frost damage  If your frost-damaged plant is beginning to leaf out then you can start cutting off damaged areas.  Cut back to new growth and try not to leave a stub behind!
  • Fertilize citrus, roses, azaleas, camellias, and rhododendron.  You can use specialized boxed fertilizer or I like to add a thin layer of compost from my bin. You can also use a bagged amendment.
  • Fertilize lawn  Try to time application between rains, if we get any this month, or turn on irrigation before and after.
  • Prepare vegetable beds  Pull up old plants and rake up leaves if you haven’t already, add compost/amendment and till into soil.  Potatoes can be planted now.  Next month you can begin to plant seedlings like basil, cucumbers, Edamame, corn.
  • Plant annual color for spring  Cosmos, Iceland poppies, impatiens, lobelia, marigold, petunias.  Plant while weather is still relatively cool and the possibility of rain exists, they’ll acclimate better then next month.
  • Plant perennials  like achillea, campanulas, geraniums, marguerites and most woody perennials like lavender, rosemary and thyme.
  • Purchase azaleas, camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons  They are in bloom now and you can select for flower color and shape. 
  • Consider planting a less thirsty alternative like Ribes sanguineum ‘Barrie Coate’   a beautiful native with fantastic wisteria-like blooms.

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