March Garden Calendar
Tackle pruning chores
• Most trees and some shrubs can be pruned now. Delay pruning spring-blooming shrubs so you don't trim off developing flowers. Most other shrubs will benefit from a little trimming now.
• Prune roses, eliminating dead shoots. Once roses send out tiny red buds that will turn into stems, they are ready for pruning. When the stems are about 1/2 inch long, the rose is pretty well out of dormancy. You should be able to tell what wood is alive and what has been killed by winter cold and should be removed.
• Spray fruit trees with dormant oil. Do this when the temperature is above 40 degrees. Dormant oil, available at garden centers, prevents scale insects, spider mites and other pests later in the season. You can also spray dormant oil on roses and other trees and shrubs that have been troubled by pests in the past.
Spruce up for spring
• Rake old leaves. You'll feel like you're giving your yard a fresh spring start when you remove the remnants of winter -- late-falling leaves, sticks and trash that may have blown in during the winter months.
• Cut back perennials. If you didn't do this in the fall, cut them back now.
• Pull away winter mulch. As soon as you see signs of new growth, pull away and lean up any straw or leaves you applied in the fall to protect perennials.
Lawns: Perk up warm-season grasses
• In the southern Midwest, if you have a lawn with warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass and zoysia, fertilize and apply a preemergent herbicide at the end of the month.