March Gardening Tips


Planning:

  • Choose planting areas based on exposure to sun, shade, and wind; consider distance from water source
  • Test for soil types and pH levels before major planting

Chores and Maintenance:

  • Carefully remove winter mulches from planting beds
  • Dig beds in preparation for spring planting as soon as earth is friable
  • Add compost in four to six inch layers and work into planting bed soil
  • Remove protective cover from evergreens
  • Reset frost-heaved plants
  • Apply horticultural oil sprays to dormant trees and shrubs before buds open and if there is no danger of night frost
  • As ground becomes workable, de-thatch lawn; fill in low spots with soil; fertilize established lawns

Planting:

  • Plant deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, weather and soil conditions permitting
  • Sow seeds of annuals and vegetables indoors which require 10-12 weeks before transplanting
  • Sow radish and lettuce seeds directly into the vegetable garden
  • Plant cold weather vegetables like spinach, peas, lettuce and broccoli as soon as soil is workable
  • Plant and transplant perennials
  • Divide and transplant summer-blooming perennials
  • Soak mail order bare-root plants before planting
  • Plant roses

Pruning/Fertilizing:

  • Prune all plant material to remove any diseased, dead, weak or crossing branches
  • Complete tree pruning before new growth begins
  • Prune late flowering shrubs such as buddleia and Hydrangea paniculata but wait until after flowering on early flowering shrubs like forsythia, Hydrangea macrophylla, rhododendron and syringa
  • Wait to prune evergreens, hedges and other shrubs until late spring into early summer
  • Prune all fruit trees before growth begins
  • Prune hybrid tea roses, floribundas and grandifloras but wait until after flowering on climbers and ramblers
  • Prune back leggy perennials
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to new shoots
  • Fertilize deciduous, broad-leaved and needle-leaved evergreen trees and shrubs if not fed in the fall
  • Apply fertilizer to roses as new growth begins
  • Fertilize and lime vegetable garden

Indoors:

  • Begin to transplant pot-bound houseplants
  • Continue to inspect for pests and control as needed
  • Cut back leggy houseplants

* These gardening tips are applicable for the southeastern New York region - USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6a and 6b which include New York City, northern New Jersey, Rockland county, Westchester county, southern Connecticut and parts of Long Island. Plant hardiness zones refer to geographic areas where the growing season of plants is determined by the time of killing frosts in the spring and fall. If you live in a more southerly plant hardiness zone, you can start gardening earlier in the season or in more northerly zones, you can start later. Even within zones, climatic factors such as altitude, proximity to water, wind exposure, winter sun exposure and snow cover contribute to the existence of different "microclimates" and can influence plant adaptability.

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