Residential Lawn & Garden

Gardening Almanac

March

What to Plant in March

Flowers

Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Amaranthus, Arctotis, Asters, Baby's Breath, Balsam, Bracteantha, Browallia, Calendula, Calliopsis, Celosia, Cleome, Coleus, Cosmos, Dahlberg Daisy, Delphinium, Dianthus, Diascia, Dusty Miller, Foxglove, Gaillardia, Gazania, Geranium, Impatiens, Kalanchoe, Lobelia, Marigold, Melampodium, Marguerite Daisy, Mexican Sunflower, Nasturium, Nemesia, Nicotiana, Nierembergia, Ornamental Pepper, Osteospermum, Periwinkle/Vinca, Petunia, Annual Salvias, Snapdragon, Stock, Strawflower, Sunflower, Torenia, Verbena, Viola, Wax Begonia, Zinnia.

Vegetables

Beans, Beets, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Green Onions, Eggplant, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watermelon.

Herbs and Spices

Anise, Basil, Bay Laurel, Borage, Caraway, Cardamon, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro/Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Horehound, Lemon Balm, Lovage, Marjoram, Mexican Tarragon, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Thyme, Watercress.

Bulbs

Achimenes, African Lily, Alstroemeria, Amaryllis, Amazon Lily, Aztec Lily, Blackberry Lily, Blood Lily, Caladium, Calla, Canna, Crinum, Crocosmia, Dahlia, Elephant Ears, Gladiolus, Gloriosa Lily, Kaffir Lily, Lilies, Louisiana Iris, Moraea, Rain Lilies, Shell Gingers, Society Garlic, Spider Lily, Tiger Lily, Tritonia, Tuberose, Voodoo Lily, Watsonia, Walking Iris.

What to Do in March

For more details on the following, call your local Extension office or visit the University of Florida’s publication website: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 

Plant and fertilize annuals. (See January)

Control scab disease on citrus. (See February)

Fertilize lawn, trees and shrubs. (If not done in February.)

Plant and fertilize vegetables. Check the planting guide to see what vegetables should be planted this month. Select varieties that are recommended for Florida ’s conditions. Unless large quantities of organic fertilizer material are applied, commercial fertilizer is usually needed for Florida gardens. 2 to 4 pounds of 8-8-8 or 1 to 2 pounds of 15-15-15 fertilizer is recommended. Broadcast this amount a week or two before planting. Additionally, vegetable crops may need to be sidedressed 2 or 3 times during the growing season with half the above rates. Slow release fertilizers are very good and only one application per growing season maybe necessary.

Fertilize perennials. Perennials should be fertilized lightly 3 to 4 times during the growing season. Use a slow release fertilizer for best results.

Fertilize Palms. Choose a 10-5-15, 12-6-18 fertilizer labeled as a “Palm Special” or proportionally similar fertilizer containing 1% magnesium, 1 to 2 % iron and manganese, sulfur and trace amounts of zinc, copper and boron. Fertilizers that provide slow release of their nitrogen, potassium and magnesium are best. Applications of these fertilizers should be made 4 times per year at the rate of 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet (10 foot by 10 foot) or 1 pound to 5 pounds per established tree. Recommended months to fertilize are March, June, August and October. If fertilizers containing only quick release (water-soluble nutrients) are used, they should be applied monthly at a lower rate of ¾ pound per 100 square feet. Fertilizer should be applied to the entire ornamental planting area or at least the entire palm canopy area and watered in lightly.

Fertilize muscadine grapes. Mature, producing vines should receive 4 to 6 pounds per year of 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 with 25% to 30% of the nitrogen from slow release sources. Split applications are more efficient than a single application so use 1 1/4 to 2 pounds per application and apply three times per year. Recommended times are late March, May and just after harvest (in August).

Remove any cold damaged growth from plants. Frost or freeze-damaged growth on plants should be removed now. To determine how much of the plant you need to cut back, gently scrape the plant's bark to see if the cambium layer is green (living) or brown (dead). Prune all dead material.

Watch for lacebug infestations. Examine plants weekly. These sucking insects attack azalea, pyracantha, and sycamore producing whitish speckling on the upper leaf surface. Shiny black spots of excrement can be found on the underside. Treat when necessary with an insecticide or horticultural oil.

Prune landscape plants that require shaping and size reduction. Cut each branch separately with hand shears to maintain a neat, naturally shaped shrub. Note: Azaleas and Gardenias should not be pruned until after they bloom. Remove dead foliage from ornamental grasses and cut stems to 4 – 12 inches above the ground depending on the size of the clump.

Plant annuals and vegetables. Check the planting guide to see what annuals and vegetables should be planted this month.

Spray roses to prevent black spot and powdery mildew disease. Symptoms of black spot are dark, round spots with yellow halos followed by dropping leaves. Purchase a fungicide labeled for the control of these diseases and follow label directions.

Watch for pests. Lubber grasshoppers hatch. They are black with a yellow to orange line down their sides. Young lubbers should be hand-picked or treated with a pesticide. Aphids feed on the underside of new growth and cause cupped distorted leaves. Mites thrive in dry weather, sucking plant juices from the underside of leaves. Forceful sprays of water will dislodge both insects. Lady Beetles and several other beneficial insects are effective predators and will suppress aphids. Insecticide soap sprays and other pesticides will also control these critters if their natural enemies do not.

Use oak leaves as mulch or in a compost pile. A mulch of oak leaves around ornamental plants will suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture and add organic matter to the soil. The yearly addition of leaves may gradually acidify soils. Have your soil pH tested to see if lime is needed. If you choose to compost leaves, be sure to thinly layer them with manure or grass clippings to accelerate the decay process. Moisten, but don't saturate each layer. Turning the pile occasionally will also speed up decomposition.

Air layer to propagate plants. Select pencil-thick branches and remove a ring of bark about ½ to 2 inches wide, about 12 to 18 inches from branch tip. Gently scrape the girdled area to remove green tissue and dust it with a rooting hormone. Cover the area with a handful of moist sphagnum moss and enclose with a small sheet of plastic tied at both ends. Then cover with tin foil. Peel back the foil and check for roots in 4 to 6 weeks. When sufficient roots have been formed in the moss, cut the branch below the rooted area and plant in a container.

Pinch out growing tips and old blooms of annuals. To increase branching and flowering- remove ½ to 1 inch of tip growth from each stem. Flowering annuals produce blooms on the new growth. The more branching that you encourage the lovelier the flowering display.

 

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