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March lawn and garden 
maintenance checklist


• Continue planting trees and shrubs as well as cool season vegetables – beets, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collards, endive/escarole lettuce, mustard, spinach, chard, bunching onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, turnips

• Transplant shrubs and trees when soil becomes workable and before buds are swelled or broken open

• Do not rush the warm season annuals.  Our last killing frost can happen in April in north Alabama.  That is commonly referred to by old folks as "the Easter spell."  

• Sow seeds of summer blooming annuals indoors. Seeds which were started indoors

last month may be transplanted from the flats into peat pots and given diluted fertilizer.

• If you have a greenhouse, it is time to take cuttings of ‘wintered over’ plants such as coleus, chrysanthemums, geraniums, and other perennials.

• Divide and transplant summer blooming perennials and fertilize established ones as soon as new growth appears.

• Plant tender bulbs and tubers (gladiola, lilies and dahlias). You may continue planting additional bulbs every two weeks until mid June to ensure a continuous source of bloom.

• Peas and sweet peas may be planted now.

• Transplant pot-bound houseplants

• Good time to start hanging baskets of annuals

• Bermuda, zoysia and centipede in South Alabama. Seed grass mixtures in North Alabama.

• Aquatics in nursery pots, laundry baskets, shallow pans and large tubs. Add 1" of pea
or aquarium gravel on surface and thoroughly water before putting in pond

• (In warmer areas) Divide hardy water lilies every year or two, can start six weeks before the last expected freeze

Plant to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.


• Test your soil for pH to see if any amendments are necessary. A general rule of
thumb is to add 4 lbs. of lime per 100 sq. ft. of garden for every pH point below 6.5,
or 1 lb. of sulfur per 100 sq. ft. for every pH point above 7.5. Sawdust, composted
oak leaves, wood chips, peat moss, cottonseed meal, and leaf mold lower the pH
while ashes of hardwoods, bone meal, crushed marble, and crushed oyster shells raise
the pH. The best way to adjust pH is gradually, over several seasons.

• Fertilize shrubs and trees. Use an acid type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens,
conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use granular type
fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly.

• Fertilize any bulbs as they finish blooming with bone meal or bulb booster.

• If grass needs to be mowed then it is ready to fertilize (thru April). Do that after about
2nd mowing.

• Wait until April to fertilize warm season lawn grasses and until May for Centipede

• Vegetables: a month after growth starts

• Fertilize pecan trees with a high nitrogen formula such as 16-4-8. 

• Houseplants with a diluted solution of soluble houseplant food after new growth appears

• Use a slow-release fertilizer according to soil test on perennials

• Roses after pruning and before they leaf out

• All blooming ornamentals: forsythia, quince, spirea, climbing roses, camellias, azaleas, etc, only after they bloom.


• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines only after they finish blooming.

• Finish pruning fruit trees this month – before the buds swell.

• To keep pines as a dense hedge, trim new growth or "candles," trim when new needles are about half the length of the old needles

• Gradually move potted hibiscus into more light. Give them a haircut, then feed to encourage lush growth.

• Fig trees, Red Tip Photenias, or shape hibiscus

• Pinch off tips of Sweet Pea seedlings and Mums, when they are 4 inches tall.

• Leggy perennials

• Ornamental grasses to new shoots

• DO NOT remove leaves from daffodils and jonquils until AFTER they yellow

• Remove all dead blooms from bulbs

• Winterkilled leaves from plants around water gardens before and when new growth appears and compost trimmings


• Soak mail-order bare-root plants before planting

• Annuals and other dry soil areas as needed

• Keep newly planted perennials moist

• Newly planted roses often enough to keep roots moist during first few weeks. Gradually reduce the frequency but not the depth of watering.

• Newly planted shrubs every few weeks in dry weather

• Wildflower areas in dry months

• Water lawn well if you want it to spread faster to fill in dead areas

• Observe areas of poor drainage, fill in low spots or create a channel for drainage


• Remain vigilant in watching for insects and pests. It is much easier to win a ‘bug war’
if you are aware of the infestation in its early stages.

• The most dreaded task of all is weeding, but it is one that really needs to be accomplished before the weeds have a chance to flower and go to seed. Remember once the weeds go to seed you can be fighting that weed seed for up to seven years or more. Most weeds can simply be pulled or cultivated out of the garden while they are young.

• House plants will react to longer days and brighter light at this time by putting out new growth. The end of this month is a good time to pinch them back to generate new growth and to thicken them. You can then begin fertilizing again with a dilute solution of soluble house
plant food.

• Get a head start on snails and slugs.  Apply baits in your garden, under pots and edges of walks and foundations.  These pests can devour a sizable plant overnight.   Most snails are presently fat, having feasted on your pansies and kale all winter.  You will find them in moist, shady places in summer where they feed at night and anywhere, any time brazenly in broad daylight in winter. 

• In most areas it is still possible to do dormant spraying of fruit trees until the 15th;
after that date dilute the spray by 1/2. Spraying should be done on a still day with the
temperature above 40 degrees F. Spray fruit trees beginning with three swelling buds,
bloom petal drop and shuck drop.  The Co-op has sprays especially designed for fruit trees. 

• Begin to spray roses for blackspot.

• Keep an eye out for Aphids and Cutworms.

• If your did not apply emergent weed control in February, do so now.  Pre-emergent agents are ineffective against post-emerged weeds.  If you have existing weeds in your yard the
Co-op has post-emergent weed killers available.  It would be helpful if you could bring in
a sample of your weed so we can make a proper choice of herbicides. 

• Worms and caterpillars: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Dipel, Thuricide

• Snails, slugs: DE/garlic spray, beer traps, rotenone/pyrethrum spray

• Aphids: soap and water of garlic spray. Release of ladybugs, insecticidal soap, Triple Action Plus

• Flower thrips on bellfower, daylily and peony flowers, remove and discard infected flowers (do not put in compost pile!)

• Bagworms on evergreens, remove bags and discard

• Leaf-streak on daylilies, remove and discard infected leaves (do not put in compost pile!)

• Handpull winter annuals such as henbit and common chickweed

• Weed your flowerbeds making sure not to pull any desirable plants


• There is often a strong temptation to start removing winter mulches from your flower beds…. WAIT!!! Pull the mulch off gradually as the plants show signs of new growth. The purpose of winter mulch is to act as a protector from sudden changes of temperature and chilling winds, so keep in mind that it is still winter. Acclimatize your plants by removing the mulch over a period of days, allowing the light and air to reach the new growth slowly. It is much better to remove the mulch a little later than to remove it to early.

• Take a little time to prepare the vegetable garden soil for planting. The addition of well-rotted manure, processed manure, peat moss or compost are good additives for building compost humus in the soil.

• Plan flowerbeds, gardens and herb gardens in your journal

• Clean out all of your birdhouses now, so that they will be ready when the birds return.

• Turn the compost pile, adding any course mulch which was removed from the garden to it.

• Most lawns will need a spring feeding but if thatching or liming needs to be done, do those jobs first.

• Note in your journal the placement of houseplants when they will go outside to
determine where to plant your annuals, perennials and shrubs

• Soil test

• Use completed compost for bed preparation-use partially completed compost as a top-dressing mulch or return to compost pile

• Mulch all bare soil

• Check mulch underneath shrubs, add more if needed

• Remove winter coverings from roses when forsythia is in full bloom (still watch weather for cool nights)

• Finish your winter cleanup, including floating debris from the surface of water gardens

• Maintain your coldframe. Keep it open on warm, sunny days to prevent plants from overheating

• Check supports on newly planted trees

• Check your lawn mower, especially sharpening the blades, before starting to mow

• Check any overwintered bulbs and plants (including aquatics) to insure they are still healthy and haven’t dried out

• Photograph spring-flowering gardens for reference later in the year

• Mist or spray your houseplants to clean away the winter’s dust, prevent Spider Mites and add a little humidity.

• March is a good time to note areas of poor drainage. If there are pools of water in your yard that do not drain. Fill in the low spot or scoop out a channel for the water to drain away.

• Repair any fencing, arbors, or trellis work that is weak or has broken over the winter … before you get too busy!

• Feed the birds!

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Date Last Updated January, 2006