March Gardening Tips
Woohoo! Spring is here. March is another one of our prime planting months here in Sunny SoCal. Beautiful colors of early-blooming flowers such as freesias, sparaxis, daffodils and grape hyacinths are sure signs that that spring is here! Along with these vibrant colors, so comes the abundance of weeds, especially if not kept at bay during the winter months. Spring is our busiest panting time of year. You can plant almost anything from permanent landscape trees, shrubs, vines, summer annuals, some cool and warm season vegetables to citrus. Wait a month or two to plant tropicals; they like warmer weather and early spring still has cooler nights. This is also one of the best planting times for perennials which are in good supply at local nurseries. They grow fast and stronger during this time of year.
What to Plant
- This month roses will begin that first bloom. For those of you who were waiting to select a new rose plant until you could see the actual flower, this will be the month to stop by the garden center and stroll through the roses!
- Azaleas and camellias are best planted while blooming. March is still a prime bloom month.
- Color up your gardens with perennials and annuals. Look for perennials such as campanula, columbine, coral bells, delphinium, foxglove (digitalis), diascia, penstemon, salvia, yarrow and so much more. Great annuals to pick from include celosia, coleus, dianthus, linaria, lobelia, marigolds, nicotiana, petunias, salvias, and verbena.
- There is still time for planting bulbs! Tuberous begonias, caladium, calla, canna, dahlia, gladiolus, nerine, tigridia and many more.
- Plant a few gladiolus every week until the end of March to get a continual bloom through the summer.
- Sow or transplant beets, celery, chard, herbs, Jerusalem, artichokes, kale, leeks, lettuces, green onions, bulb onion seed and sets, parsley, peas, peanuts, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinaches, strawberries, turnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, squash, lettuce, spinach, peppers, and tomatoes will be in this month.
- This is the last month to transplant artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and rhubarb. Also strawberry, blackberry and raspberry roots so they’ll bear fruit well this year
- Herbs to start from seed include anise, basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, oregano, parsley, and savory. Transplant mint, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. This is also a good time not only to prune back herbs from last year, but also add in new plants such as chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme. We recommend Stover® Seeds.
- Plant cool season vegetables such as beets, carrots, celery, chard, chives, endive, leeks, lettuce, green onions, parsley, parsnips, bush peas, radish, rutabaga & spinach.
- Plant warm season vegetables after the threat of frost has past. Plant snap beans, cantaloupes, chayote, corn, cucumber, eggplant, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes and watermelon.
- Sweet potato sets can be started indoors for planting outside in May. Start them in Grangetto’s Speedy Roots, pre-filled soil trays.
- For small spaces, grow your garden in large over-sized pots. Make sure you have adequate sun and shade based on your plants needs. Use G&B Potting Soil for an organic soil. You don’t need a huge yard to grow delicious vegetables & herbs! Grangetto’s Vegetable & Herb Starts are high quality and will produce a great tasting, healthy crop for you to enjoy all season long!
- Now’s a good time to plant citrus and avocado trees. They’ll have all spring and summer to get established before winter’s cooler temperatures slow their growth. Provide them with good drainage and choose varieties that are right for your area. If you wrapped the trunks of young trees last fall, un-wrap them now. In the inland areas begin fertilizing citrus and avocado trees this month. In coastal zones continue to fertilize them. Use G&B Organics Citrus and Avocado Food for an organic approach or use Yara® Triple 15 for larger areas (non-organic).
- Plant a new lawn or repair an old one with Grangetto’s Grass Seed. Tall or Dwarf Fescue Seed supplies year round green turf. Apply Kellogg® Topper to keep seeds moist for germination.
- Finish planting most California Natives this month. March is typically the end of the planting season for natives, but some areas will go beyond March. Visit Las Pilitas Nursery for best times to plant.
- Purchase, plant, and transplant succulents, including cacti and euphorbias.
Feeding and Maintenance
- Fertilize your cool season lawn with Yara® Turf Royale 21-7-14 lawn & landscape fertilizer. And of course, for all the organic growers; use G&B Organics Lawn food.
- Cool season lawns such as fescue, bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass are growing faster this time of year, so they need more frequent mowing. Perennial ryegrass and bluegrass should be cut at about 2 inches. Tall fescue should be cut a little higher, 2 to 3 inches.
- Control weeds in lawns after they have germinated with Bayer® Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer. Use Green Light® Amaze Grass & Weed Preventer prior to germination in warm season grasses.
Plants, Trees and Shrubs
- VEGETABLES – Amend and mulch vegetable beds to prepare for spring planting. In vegetable beds use Kellogg® Harvest Supreme Mix which, or Gardner & Bloome® Soil Building Conditioner. Fertilize peppers and other vegetables when flowers first show. Try G&B Organics Tomato Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer.
- HERBS – Weed and prep beds. Amend with Kellogg® Harvest Supreme Mix. Now you are ready to plant your annual herbs. Protect your new plants from snails and slugs with Monterey® Sluggo®. Harvest your native herbs such as sagebrush, Yerba Mansa, white sage, black sage and elderberry among others.
- FRUIT TREES & VINES – Irrigate fruit trees and vines when new growth begins. Water to a depth of 3 feet. If you live inland, you can now start to fertilize your citrus. If you live near the coast (or any frost-free area), continue fertilizing your citrus. Apply fertilizer high in nitrogen. Most mature fruit trees require one pound of actual nitrogen annually. Divide the amount of fertilizer into three equal parts and apply those six weeks apart, starting in the spring after new growth begins.For citrus trees (because snails & slugs love them), wrap a length of copper banding at least 4 inches wide around the trunk to prevent them from climbing up.
- DECIDUOUS FRUIT – Start to thin out fruit on apples, pears and stone fruits when they are about one-half inch in size. Space fruit four to six inches apart. Leave one fruit per spur.
- FLOWER BEDS – When preparing your flower beds for planting, use Kellogg® Gromulch Premium Planting Mix which is a natural mix that enriches the soil so plants can perform at their best.
- ROSES – Start your growing season fertilizer routine. Depending on your preference, there are many organic and synthetic fertilizers available. Use G&B Organics Rose & Flower food (organic) or Lilly Miller® Rose & Flower food.Control Powdery Mildew with a fungicide such as Monterey Neem Oil. Try planting mildew-resistant varieties. Control aphids by washing them off with a strong spray of water from the hose in the early morning. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural sprays are effective to control aphids. Control rose slugs using Green Light® Lawn and Garden Spray with Spinosad. Also consider Bayer® All-in-One Rose & Flower Care which can provide your fertilizer, insect & disease control all in one.
- BEGONIAS – Replenish soil and mulch if needed. Start feeding ¼ strength with a good all-purpose plant food such as Dr. Earth® Organic All Pupose once a week. ½ strength if twice a month or full strength once a month. Keep plants moist but not soggy. Start new plants from cuttings or seeds. Remove all spent blossoms as needed.
- BROMELIAD – Start cleaning Bromeliad after their dormancy. Cut dead leaves, remove spent blossoms and clean the entire plant by flushing between the leaves and center cup. Check for scale and treat if needed. Keep snails and slug away with Monterey® Sluggo®. It is time to start fertilizing again. Protect your plants from too much sun using shade cloth. Gradually increase watering has the weather warms. Bromeliads do not like soggy roots, so don’t over water.
- PERENNIALS – If perennials such agapanthus, asters, bellflowers, callas, cymbidiums, daylilies, rudbeckia, Shasta daisies, penstemon, and yarrow are crowded and last year’s blooms were sparse, it’s time to divide them. Dig up each clump so that the rootball comes up intact. Wash or gently shake off excess soil, then cut into divisions with a sharp knife. Each division should have plenty of roots and a few leaves. Replant immediately.
- CAMELLIAS – Feed camellias this month. Begin an annual fertilizer schedule. Feed three times a year. March should be your first feeding. Feed again in May and again in July. The rule of thumb is to feed camellias six to eight weeks after the last blooms fall. Feed again six to eight weeks later, then one more feeding six to eight weeks after the last. You can use a pre-made mix such as G&B Organics or Lilly Miller® Camellia and Azalea Food. Or the mix of your choice. They like acidic food. It is also recommended to use a chelated Iron formula at this time.Watch for aphids as new growth appears. They are attracted to new growth. Prune before new growth starts or while new growth is less than one inch long. Cut the branch back to its origin or to an outward pointing growth bud or dormant bud eye and don’t leave more than ¼ inch of stub at the cut. Keep these pruning techniques in mind: removal all dead or weak braches, remove all crossing branches that may interfere with other branches and remove branches to open up the center of plant in order to allow light to enter and air to circulate.
- TREES & SHRUBS – Use Gro-Power® Plus 5-3-1 fertilizer for difficult soil conditions. Or use one of several G&B Organics fertilizers tailored to your specific plant species. Apply Ironite® 1-0-1 for strong, deep roots and rich green color. You can begin pruning your ornamental shrubs (pittosporum, boxwood, etc.) for hedges. Wait to prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees until their blooming is over.
- CACTI & SUCCULENTS – Fertilize. Broadcast a time-release solid fertilizer throughout your garden. Feed all container-grown succulents with a well-diluted complete liquid fertilizer such as Dr. Schultz® All Purpose Plant Food. Make sure to give plants adequate water after fertilizing. Spring is an important growth period for both your winter and summer growers. Once the nighttime temperatures stay above 50 degrees, you should thoroughly water all cacti. Slowly soak the soil if planted in the ground and place potted cacti in pans of water to drench the soil but not the plant. Do not over-water.
- PLUMERIA – The growing season has started! Move potted plants from protected winter areas, towards the end of this month, to full sun this month. Our weather can be unpredictable. If really cold temperatures are in the forecast, take precautionary measures and move your plants back to their dormant areas so they can stay warm. Don’t forget to move them back! Once the weather is warm enough (even if this means waiting until April) start watering and fertilizing with a low nitrogen fertilizer like Dr. Schultz® or Gro Power® Flower N’ Bloom 3-12-12. Repot plants to replenish old soil. Use one-half Kellogg® Cactus and Palm Mix, one-fourth #3 perlite and one-fourth Worm Gold Plus®.
- DAHLIAS – Prepare garden/pots for spring planting. Dig and divide dahlias. Let them dry for 3 – 5 days before you replant them. Dahlias like warm soil, so if the nights are still cool, plant them beginning in April.
- FERNS – Fertilize ferns with half strength high nitrogen liquid or slow release pellets. Remove dead and dying fronds. Clean up plants for spring. Water more frequently as more ferns are starting to grow. Spread bait as needed to prevent slugs and snails. Divide and repot overgrown plants as they stat to grow. Top-dress others.
- FUCHSIAS – Remove berries (seed pods) from fuchsias after flowers fall. Fuchsia bloom only on new wood so continue to pinch back in order to have bushy plants with lots of flowers. As the weather becomes drier water all garden plants regularly. Have fun watering! DRAMM® Rain Wands make it easy to water and all have shut-off valves so you know exactly how much water you’re using.
- IRIS – Start feeding with low-nitrogen, all-purpose fish fertilizer. Water regularly if there is no rain. Clean beds and keep weeds under control. Watch for pests. Give Japanese & Louisiana irises an application of acid food such as G&B Organics Camellia and Azalea food.
- NATIVE PLANTS – If rainfall is adequate, no extra watering is needed. Finish planting your natives this month. Some natives can be planted throughout the year. Check Las Pilitas Nursery for best times to plant.
- GERANIUMS – Remove dead or damaged leaves. This will promote new growth and protect against molds and fungi, including geranium rust on zonals. Remove all older leaves to allow more light into the interior of the plant for a fuller plant with more blooms later. Repot into larger containers where necessary and pot rooted cuttings. Keep your plants well watered. Continue your feeding schedule. Continue to prevent pests and disease. Look for a combination product that will treat both with one application. Protect plants from late season freezes. Use DeWitt® N-Sulate and/or move plants to a warmer location at night.
- ORCHIDS – Repot any needing a new pot. Train developing spikes, particularly with Oncidium. Begin or increase watering for deciduous orchids as the weather warms and plants show signs of growth. Fertilizers can be increased this time of year. Make sure to protect from sun damage.
- Reset your irrigation timer to water more frequently as the weather starts to warm up. Adjust as needed if we get adequate rain fall.
- Apply at least one inch of water twice per week to keep roses well hydrated.
- Taper off watering those California native plants that do not accept summer water.
- Now is a perfect time to start planning on how you are going to save water in your landscape, if you haven’t already. Installing or retrofitting an existing irrigation system to utilize the most up-to-date technology will help you save water. Grangetto’s can help you make the SMART WATER CHOICE in your landscape. Call us or stop by your favorite location so we can help! Here are some water saving devices
- Be sure to follow your local watering restrictions and guidelines.
Pests to Watch out For
- SNAILS & SLUGS – Use Organic Sluggo® Plus, Original Sluggo® or Corry’s® Snail & Slug Meal or Pellets
- APHIDS – Control aphids with insecticidal soap and beneficial insects. Safer® Insect Killing soap is a good organic choice.
- THRIPS – Wash foliage with water from a garden hose. For stronger infestations use Bayer® Advanced Tree and shrub Insect Control. This is a systemic that gives 12 months of control. Monterey Garden Spray with spinosad for organic control.
- SCALE – Use Summit Year Round Oil or Monterey Spray to control crawlers.
- LAWN PESTS – Use Bayer® Multi-Insect Killer or Spectracide® Triazicide. Use Monterey Garden Spray with spinosad for organic control.
- RATS & MICE – Use Just Tomcat Rodent Bait.
- GOPHERS – Use Wilco® Gopher bait to rid your yard of gophers.
- CATERPILLARS – Use Safer® Caterpillar Killer, Monterey® Garden Insect Spray with Spinosad. Look these pests on your broccoli and cabbage!
- ROSE PESTS – Control rose slugs, powdery mildew & aphids. Options for control are Bayer® All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, Bayer® 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control or Monterey® Neem Oil
- FRUIT TREE PESTS – Use Monterey® Garden Insect Spray to combat caterpillars and other listed pests on fruit trees, vegetables and ornamentals. It is OMRI listed for Organic Use too.
- POWDERY MILDEW – Especially near the coast, this is the time we begin to see powdery mildew on our rose foliage (and other plants too). There are several different foliar fungicidal sprays to that can help. Consider Bayer® Insect Disease and Mite Control is a good conventional use products. Use Monterey Neem Oil for organic growing.
- POWDERY MILDEW ON GRAPES – Apply a sulfur spray such as Safer® Garden Fungicide.
- WEEDS – Use Bonide® Crabgrass Preventer or Bayer® Season Long Weed Control or Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer. Use Green Light® Amaze in ornamentals & flower beds. For non-selective areas, use Roundup Pro Max ®or QuickPro® products. Be sure to use a good sprayer such as Chapin Sprayers. DeWitt® Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric prevents weeds without chemicals. It still allows air, water and nutrients to go through. Lay this fabric down before planting your gardens.
Note: All information provided is based on typical season, weather and environmental statistics. These tips are provided for information purposes only and to be used as a general guide. Products/Brands mentioned may be discontinued at anytime and not guaranteed in-stock. Grangetto’s invites you to contact us or visit one of our locations for more specific care instructions.