Gardening Jobs for March
Written by Matt W (Greenhousestores) on 23rd Mar 2021.
The month of March heralds the beginning of spring. It is the month when your garden comes alive with the emergence of colourful spring bulbs.
The winter cold spell is almost broken and as the worst of the weather is now over there is plenty to do in your garden in March. In this post we look at some of the key jobs you have to do on your garden in March as you prepare for the spring planting season.
The dawn of spring is characterized by accelerated growth in your garden. Your primroses are probably flowering while apple blossoms and other perennials bursting upwards in attractive green. The colour of March is definitely lime green.
A lot of your gardening activities in March will depend on the weather in your region. In some places, it is still cold and frosty while others are experiencing spring-like conditions. The kind of weather you will have in March will definitely affect the degree to which your garden soil has warmed up in preparation for planting.
The good news is that by mid-March, spring will have already settled in. There'll be a lot of work to be done outdoors.
March Gardening Tips
In as far as gardening is concerned the month of March is all about getting started in preparation for full spring in April.
There are many tasks to be done at this time from preparing your soil as it warms up and mulching your flower borders with compost to improving soil structure, planting your perennials, and much more.
One of the most important tasks for the month of March is to prepare your garden for sowing. If you had already done some winter digging in February, you will only need to do a few preparation tasks to prepare your soil for sowing.
Preparation, in this case, involves digging out weeds and carting off stones, old roots, and unwanted debris from your garden. You may also need to sprinkle a light coating of organic fertilizer and rake the surface down to create a seedbed soil texture in preparation for planting.
It is also important to fertilize your beds using a layer of compost or manure that is well-rotted. General-purpose fertilizer such as pelleted fish or chicken manure also works great. Remember to install supports if the plants in your garden will require support.
This is the best time to put supports in so that your plants will grow up through the support effortlessly. Adding supports when the plants are already grown is often difficult and doesn't look attractive.
March is also the month to move shrubs and deciduous trees if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. It's the best time to resurface the paths around your garden before your plants start growing and covering the paths.
March is the end of the winter season and a perfect time to prune all your shrubs and trees except pines. Do not prune pines at this time but let them flourish well until the needles are almost fully grown before pruning.
Shrubs that flower in spring such as forsythia and lilac will need to be pruned if you don't want to damage the flower buds which are usually located on the delicate stems you are pruning.
However, if the stems are overgrown you can rejuvenate them by removing all the stains to stimulate the growth of new branches. Make sure to prune them before flowering starts.
Some trees like Birch, elm, maple, and black walnut sometimes ooze sap if pruned in the end of February because of the water pressure in the moist soil.
In such cases, it is recommended to prune the trees in the second week of March. Since this is the start of the growing season, take time to prune all the evergreen herbs in your garden and hedge.
Plant News Shrubs and Fruit Trees
Besides pruning established trees and shrubs, you should also consider planting fruits and shrubs in March. For example, you can plant cherry and apple trees in a sheltered spot that gets enough sunshine.
This is also a good time to plant succulent fruits such as strawberry, raspberry, and gooseberry. If you already have existing raspberry plants, cut the canes to ground level to promote the growth of new canes that will reward you with fruit in autumn.
This is also a good time to mulch rhubarbs. The manure will not only keep them healthy but will also help to reduce the loss of moisture from the soil.
You can also plant new rhubarb crowns but make sure to cover them properly with manure.
Plant More Bulbs
The month of March is also a good time to plant bulbs such as crocus, hyacinth, caladiums, and dahlias. You can also plant tender bulbs such as begonia tubers in a pot filled with moist compost.
Remember to keep the pot in a well-lit spot and water them every time you see the growing medium drying out. When their shoots become too long, uproot a few and pot each plant individually.
You can also pot geraniums and take advantage of the warm sunny days to stimulate their growth. They will be fully grown by summer.
Install Rain Water Barrels
You may also need to install little rain barrels in your garden to collect rainfall. Collect rainwater to water plants such as rhododendrons, blueberries, and camellias.
Make sure the rain barrels are installed below the downpipe so that you can harvest as much rainfall as possible.
Get Rid of Garden Pests
As you prepare for the planting season, take time to eliminate garden pests. Getting rid of hibernating pets in March will save you a lot of trouble in the months of summer.
In fact, pest elimination should top your list of things to do in March. Take time to check the ground around perennial plants for snails, slugs, aphids, and other bugs that have been hibernating in closed spaces during winter.
Eliminate all the pests you come across including vine weevils using environmentally friendly chemical drenches or preferably parasitic nematodes.
Things to Do in Different Parts of the Garden
To make your March gardening jobs more organised, let's look at some of the important things you need to do in different parts of the garden.
The Flower Garden
As you prepare for the spring planting there are several tasks you need to do in your flower garden in the month of March.
Some of the key tasks will include the following:
- • Feed your shrubs, hedges, and trees with light fertilizer. You can easily do this by forking the fertilizer lightly into the soil surface. If you have roses, you can feed them with a balanced fertilizer or a special feed for roses.
- • Pruning roses to promote new and better growth. You can also prune clematis and other early flowering plants if they are flowers have developed. Prune all summer flowering plants before they start growing actively. This is also a good time to cut back Salix cultivars, cornus, and other common shrubs that are normally grown for their strong and colourful winter stems. Cut them to ground level to encourage the growth of new stems for the next winter.
- • You may also need to nip the top of rosette leaves from mahonia shrubs once they have finished flowering. This will encourage the plants to branch out more. Cut back all dead foliage from perennials as well as ornamental grasses to promote new growth. Overwintered fuchsias will also need to be pruned back to one or two buds to encourage bushier growth. Winter flowering jasmine and winter-flowering heathers will also need to be pruned as well.
- • Check for slugs and snails that will start appearing as the weather begins to warm up. Keep an eye on the soft new growth where slugs love to hide. We recommend using nematodes as effective organic control of pests.
- • It is also important at this time to plant native hedges to encourage wildlife and attract insects which will help you in pollination.
The Vegetable Garden
Some of the key tasks to do in your vegetable garden in March include the following:
- • If you had grown green manure over the winter this is the best time to dig it in while the stands of your plants are still soft. You can also dig compost, green waste, or well-rotted manure into your vegetable beds as you prepare for the April growing season.
- • Make sure to weed your vegetable seed beds properly before you add the layer of manure or compost. You can also cover the well-prepared seedbed soil with sheets of black plastic. The black plastic will keep the soil warmer and drier before planting. If you have asparagus beds make sure to weed and mulch them carefully because their roots are shallow and easily prone to damage. It is even recommended to weed asparagus beds with your hands to avoid damage to the roots.
Your Fruit Garden
Most of the activities you will do on your fruit garden in March will involve trimming, applying fertilizer, and basically protecting the plants.
Some of these key tasks will include the following:
- • Cut raspberry canes that fruit in autumn preferably to ground level. This will stimulate the growth of new canes that will give you plenty of fruits in autumn. Summer fruiting raspberry canes should also be cut beyond the top of their support or just above the bud.
- • Apply generous portions of ericaceous plant fertilizer to all blueberry plants. Take time to mulch fruit trees using garden compost or well-rotted manure. Avoid mounting the mulch around the tree trunk. Mulch rhubarb using a thick layer of manure to reduce moisture loss and keep the plant healthy. Be careful when doing this and avoid covering the crown where growth happens.
- • Use horticultural fleece or a good screen to protect apricot blossoms, nectarines, and peaches from frost. Strawberries can also be covered with a cloche to promote early fruiting.
Take Care of Your Lawn
March is also a good time to give you a lawn some tender loving care. There are many things you can do for the lawn.
For instance, you can re-cut its edges wherever necessary, mow the lawn thoroughly in preparation for new growth, install lawn edging, and even lay new turf if it is still not frozen or waterlogged.
If you are thinking of getting a new lawn, this is the time to prepare the soil and allow it to settle before planting the new lawn.
There are a few other important jobs that you may need to consider doing in the month of March depending on the type of guy that you have.
For instance, you may consider installing a new pond or an attractive water feature to enhance the look and style of your home. And now that the winter is over, you can easily remove slimy patches on patios and paving using a broom or, if available, a pressure washer.
You can also use this warmer month to build a compost bin in preparation for the growing season. You will need to move bags of compost into your greenhouse and warm them for at least one or two weeks before you use them for planting. If you are not sufficiently informed about the kind of soil you have, this is also a good time to buy a soil testing kit.
Knowing the type of soil your garden has will help you to choose the best plants to sow in the garden. Weeding is another important task for March. As the weather warms up you will find it easier to remove weeds while they are still young.
March is also a good time to start ventilating your greenhouses and doing all the necessary repairs before the spring planting season. So, wherever you are and whatever your climate, March is the time to get out and prepare for the spring sowing season.