March Gardening Tip

Garden Pond Start Up:

mar1_lgWith spring just around the corner its time to get your pond or water feature ready for summer. The first thing is to clean out as much of the organic materials that have fallen into the water as possible (leaves, twigs, and any other plant debris). Pull all filters and flush them with water or replace worn or damaged filters if necessary, install pump and turn on. Spring is the best time to pot or repot water lilies and other aquatics plants.

Spring cleanup:

With spring approaching, it is time to get out in the garden and start cleaning up. Cut back perennials of all dead growth remaining from last season. Also cut back all ornamental grasses that are still left standing from last year. Cut all the larger grasses to about 8 to 10 inches from the ground. Also cut back liriope to the ground; this plant looks much better if it is cleaned up every spring and left to come back as new shoots. Clean up all leaves and branches that have fallen on lawn and bed areas, being sure to clean up all leaves in and under all plants to get ready for the coming growing season.

Pre-emergent herbicide:

With warm weather coming, it is time to apply pre-emergent herbicide to lawn and bed areas to help control weeds. The timing on this is very important; the fertilizer needs to be applied before the ground temperatures warm enough for germination, usually indicated by the early blooming of the forsythia. Another important fact about pre-emergent herbicide is that it needs to be watered in soon after it is applied. The longer it lies on the surface, the more it will degrade and break down. This product can be applied up to a month or so before weeds start to germinate. This product lasts about 60 to 90 days, depending on weather and irrigation. After that, it can be re-applied; check the label to see how much material can be applied to an area in one season without burning plant material. Also check the label for the list of plants which will be harmed by these herbicides. Some plants are very herbicide sensitive. When this product is applied and watered in, it will move into the top couple of inches of soil and form a weed barrier. This herbicide will help to kill weeds right after germination, when the weeds are very small. It can be applied at any time throughout the growing season, but it will not affect weeds that germinate before the application. This spring application is very important, as well as a fall application before the end of August. Germination of weeds slows down though the hot, dry summer months.

Pruning roses:

When all winter protection has been removed, it is time to prune roses. Start by cutting out any dead or broken branches back to a healthy bud. Use of hand pruners, loppers, or a hand saw will help in this process. Always be sure your tools are sharp and clean. Cut through the stems without crushing them. The use of rubbing alcohol sprayed on pruner blades and saw blades will help to disinfect the tools to prevent spreading disease from one cut to another or from one plant to another. Most shrub roses should be cut back to about 18 to 24 inches in height, at a fresh bud; this is the best time to do this. This makes it easy to control the vigorous growth habit of the plant.