Spring is almost here! Spring is a favorite time of year, so maybe it will warm up soon and we can all get outside and get something growing. Global warming, drought, holes in the ozone, all of these have a very easy solution: TREES. If everyone in the world planted just one tree each we could eventually reverse those problems as well as clean up the air as a bonus. March is an excellent time to plant trees. They are still dormant but even without their leaves the roots will grow and get established and have a much better chance to survive the very hot summers we have. See our section on choosing and planting trees.
Many beautiful shade trees offer us a bonus by producing something to eat. An apple tree gives us shade, flowers in the spring, and makes a wonderful place for children to climb and birds to nest, but best of all - Apples. In planning your landscape consider fruit trees for shade and use blueberry bushes for hedges. The only requirements for fruiting plants are plenty of sunshine and good drainage. A regular spray program may also be needed.
Go ahead and plant those vegetables that can take a little frost (there is still a 70% chance till the end of the month). Snap beans, carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, etc. Notice that we did not mention tomatoes, or peppers.
What's the difference between a perennial and an annual? Perennials are those plants that come back year after year and require very little care for years of pleasure. But (there is always a but) most perennials have a relatively short blooming time - usually 6 weeks or less. Perennials should form the backbone of your flower garden then mix annuals for dazzling displays of color. Annuals must be planted each year from seed or little plants. Late frost is a factor with annuals but perennials are generally safe to plant in March.
If you hurry you can still overseed fescue lawns. Since fescue is a cool season grass it needs to be planted long enough to get established before the summer heat gets here. Feed it, lime it, weed it, and keep it mowed at about 2 to 3 inches. If you overseed you must wait 6 weeks before applying crabgrass preventer. Those of you with bermuda lawns are anxious to get started but wait and let your lawn tell you when to feed. Fertilize when 75% of the grass has greened up - usually mid April. You need to apply crabgrass preventer now.
Don't you wish they were edible? Many of us could get rich selling them out of our lawns. Since no one wants wild onions, what can you do with them? Learn to live with them or be prepared for a long battle because they reproduce from bulbs and bulblets that form above and under the ground. Soft bulblets form under the ground. Hard bulblets stay dormant over the winter and germinate in the spring and summer. If seed heads form on top, the seed falls to the ground, matures and resprouts. Because plants come from so many ways the sprout at different times of the year, it may take 2-3 years to get rid of them. The best thing we've found to kill wild onions is a herbicide containing 2-4-D. Keep a sprayer full and everytime you see one of the nasty weeds - ZAP IT! Persistence pays!
Don't let the good bulbs get gone before you have a chance to pick the ones you want, but its too early to plant caladiums, elephant ears, and callas. Iris, dahlias and cannas are ok to plant near the end of the month.
Watch your bluebird houses and soon you will see lots of activity. Don't be surprised to see a hummingbird so put up at least one feeder.
Trees & Shrubs
Most plants need feeding now. We recommend Pennington's 14-7-7 Nursery and Landscape Food. If you don't like to spray and continually check for bugs on your plants, check out Bayer's 12 month Tree and Shrub Insect Control. Use once in the spring to protect your plants all year. Use on roses, crepe myrtles, azaleas, flowering cherries and other large trees.