Things To Do In March In The Northwest Garden

Spring gardening, in full swing along the coast, moves progressively inland with the last killing frosts running from March 1 at the extreme western edge of this region to late May in Idaho and Montana.

Work the soil as soon as it is workable and fertilize it to take care of the spring growth. Get rid of pests, insect and fungus, dusting or spraying with chlordane or other soil insecticides and with fungicides. Add weed killers, where feasible, to head off the spring seed crop of weeds.

Weed killing is particularly important in new lawns not yet seeded. Treat the soil three weeks or more before sowing. This gives the grass a chance to develop with minimum competition and simplifies weed control the ensuing season.

Feed lawns from mid-March on, earlier if conditions are favorable. Quick nitrogen fertilizer gives the grass a fast start.

Bare-root shrubs and trees can be planted as ground conditions are favorable. This means in some of the southwestern parts of Oregon this month is your last chance, while east of the Cascades and in the Columbia Basin the season will extend into early May.

Lift and divide perennials as soon as your ground is ready. Continue outdoor sowing of hardy annuals like clarkia, calendula, coreopsis, candytuft, and godetia. Bring tender annuals along in cold-frames or indoors to go out as soon as frost danger is past.

Cut back stored geraniums and fuchsias, and pot them for outdoor and planter use as soon as weather is right. Fuchsias that have been left in beds, protected with a deep mulch, can also be cut back, cleaned and readied for growth and bloom.

Set primroses outdoors, the earlier the better. By selecting a variety of species you can plan bloom from early spring into midsummer and heights ranging from groundcovers to 2 or 3 feet.

Set out pansy plants, if you missed getting them in last fall, to provide spring color, and sow seed for fall bloom.

Plant roses any time you can get them. Fall planting is preferred in the milder areas but roses can go in as late as April or May and still produce pretty well this season. Plant potted ones any time.

Prune fruit trees after the last heavy frost and spring-blooming shrubs immediately after flowering. East of the Cascades prune when buds show color, so that you can judge the degree of winter damage. On evergreens hold off until active growth begins. Head back raspberries by mid-month, and finish pruning grapes.

Trim laurel and privet hedges. Go over heathers that need shaping or control and cut back hypericum (St. Johnswort) groundcovers that haven’t already been attended to.

Feed hardy bulbs with a continuous-action fertilizer to build them up for new growth after blooming. If you do not intend to lift them, sow Virginia stock or equally quick-blooming annuals over the beds to fill in while the bulb growth is dying down.

Over 22,000 subscribers
GET our free email newsletter...
Sign Up Today:

Still Need Help? Type Your Keywords Here: