The March To-Do List
March is the month when garden mania overtakes me, and probably you, too. The things that need doing seem endless, but the fun stuff we long to do — like sowing a new variety of zinnia — must wait. Most of the tasks on the March to-do list are necessary preparatory work for the fun that follows.
Your beds may have winter annuals — broadleaf weeds like hairy bittercress and chickweed — which reproduce by seed that usually germinates in fall, grows during the winter, and then produces flowers and seed in the spring. NOW — before those seeds drop — is the time to root them out; otherwise, you’ll be seeing lots more of these weeds next year. Right now I’m seeing hairy bittercress in some of my beds. This is the annoying little weed whose tiny white flowers form seed capsules that explode in your face when you’ve waited too long to pull them. In fact the seed from those exploding seed capsules can fly up to 10 feet away! For photos and helpful identification tips for these weeds, check out the Virginia Tech Weed ID site, VaTech/Weed ID/ hairy bittercress and VaTech/WeedID/chickweed.
Once all your daffodils and spring bulbs are up, take some photos that show their locations in your beds. These photos could be helpful later in the season when you’re planting in those areas and you’re no longer sure exactly where those bulbs are. In addition, those photos may be a reminder of bulbs that need dividing in the fall.
Don’t Forget the Deer Repellent
Deer tend to browse on broad-leaf evergreens as well as twigs and buds during the winter and early spring, so keep spraying your vulnerable plants with deer repellent. Keep monitoring for deer damage and change repellents regularly. Va.Coop.Ext./HORT-62NP. And once that lush spring growth appears, start spraying it immediately. Or perhaps you’re using deer netting around your shrubs. If you have comments or questions about either method, please write them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.
For additional tasks and tips for the month of March, please consult the following articles in our previous issues (topics given extensive coverage are listed in parentheses):
- Tasks&Tips/Ornamentals/March2015 (pruning roses and ornamental grasses)
- Tasks&Tips/Ornamentals/March 2016 (pruning shrubs, planting roses)
- Tasks&Tips/Ornamentals/March 2017 (pruning, indoor seeding, attracting hummingbirds)
- Tasks&Tips/Ornamentals/March2018 (preparing beds for spring)
If your lawn needs attention, you’ll find a detailed discussion of March lawn tasks and tips in our March 2015 issue, March Lawn Care/TheGardenShed/March2015.