March Gardening Tips

We are officially in the spring planting season. Temperatures are warm enough to plant most flowers and vegetables without protection. It’s still a little chilly early in the month for cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and squash. Keep some ‘Seed Guard’ cloth on hand to protect the tender plants.

Even though we seem to be catching up to our rainfall averages the drought is on all of our minds this year. Drip irrigation systems put the water right where you need it and actually will save you money in the long run. Mulches of fine fir bark, shredded bark, compost or wood chips will also cut back on soil water loss. A 3-4” layer will hold the moisture in the soil for a couple of months in some soils. Most established trees and shrubs here on the coast can get buy with no summer watering.

Plant native and drought tolerant plants now through fall.

If you need to prune your spring blooming shrubs now is the best time to that. Most don’t need pruning, but you can dead head the spent flowers. You can also feed your plantings now. Acidic fertilizers for rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias and all purpose fertilizers for the rest of the plants.

Keep applying pesticides for the European Crane Fly. They are a major pest in the lawns up here. They feed at the base of the grasses, severing the roots and leaving large dead patches in the lawn. We also carry a predatory nematode that is a safe alternative and very effective.

If you have any citrus trees in the ground or pots, this is the time to feed them. They need regular applications of fertilizer and iron to keep healthy and productive. Container grown plants need to be fed more often then those in the ground.

Start thinning developing fruit on your fruit trees. Thin small stone fruits (apricots and plums) to one fruit every 2-4 inches. Larger stone fruits (peaches and nectarines should be thinned to one every 4-5 inches. Apples and pears should be thinned to one per cluster and then then 6-8 inches apart. Leave the largest fruit out each cluster.