It’s March….What Needs To Be Done?
- Plant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants from pots after March 15th. They should be hardened off (gradually exposed to outside temperatures) before putting them in the ground. Cover if a freeze or frost is predicted.
- Plant seeds of warm-season vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, melons and cu-cumbers in mid- to late-March. Wait until the soil warms in April to plant okra.
- Install a drip irrigation system in your vegetable garden and mulch areas of the land-scape.
- Plant herbs in raised beds with soil that has been amended with organic matter.
- Vines (including hyacinth bean, Cyprus vine, black-eyed Susan vine, morning glories, and Malabar spinach) can be planted from seeds sown directly into well-prepared soil.
- Annual flowers and herbs started from seed in January can be planted in late March. They should be hardened off before putting in the ground. Cover if frost or freeze is predicted.
- For sunny areas, plant zinnias, fire bush, pentas, petunias, moss rose, purslane, cleo-me, butterfly weed, and Dahlberg daisy. Cosmos and four o’clocks are self-seeding and will usually return each year. For shade, try begonias, parilla, coleus, impatiens, and ferns.
- Plant perennial flowers in amended, well-drained soil. Spread compost around peren-nials and add mulch. See the planting guide, which shows the best native and adapted perennials for Ellis County at www.ecmga.com.
Fertilizing and Pruning
- Remove dead top growth; Bermuda grass only, by lowering the blades one to two notches so the grass can spread faster and thicker which helps to choke out weeds. Bag clippings and use in the compost pile or as mulch.
- Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to pecans and again in April and May. Apply around the tree’s drip line at the rate of one pound per inch of trunk diameter.
- Begin fertilizing roses with a balanced fertilizer or a specialty rose food.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines such as quince, azaleas, forsythia, bridal wreath (Spiraea), Lady Banks Rose, Carolina jessamine, and coral honeysuckle imme-diately after they finish blooming.
- All trees, shrubs, vines, and groundcovers can be fed with high-nitrogen fertilizer or compost.
- A pre-emergent can be applied on lawns to help control spring and summer broadleaf and grassy weeds if necessary. A weed and feed fertilizer is not recommended because it is too early to fertilize lawns.
- Control black spot, powdery mildew, and thrips on roses with an appropriate fungicide or systemic insecticide. Use a stream of water or an insecticidal soap on aphids.
- When a pesticide is needed, always use the least toxic one first.
- Inspect the irrigation system to make sure it is operating properly. Look for leaks, re-place or repair sprinkler heads, and adjust spray patterns as needed to reduce run off.
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