We are into our last days of winter (hopefully), so what types of tasks need to be done to prepare my garden for spring?
As March approaches, we need to take a quick look at our ornamental tree and shrubs, our turf needs, flowers, fruit and nut trees and vegetable gardens.
- Ornamentals include your small trees and flowering shrubbery. If you have not pruned yet, now is the time to do it. Shrubs such as quince, spirea and forsythia should be pruned after flowering. Begin to fertilize and mulch your shrubbery, and if you have recently bought new ornamentals, now is a great time to plant them. Also, cut back any liriope (monkey grass) you may have in your yard with a lawn mower.
- For your lawn, apply pre-emergence herbicides to prevent summer weeds. Also, spray your winter weeds with an approved herbicide. Always read the labels and follow the directions.
- Flowering plants such as tea roses and pansies can still be planted. If you have them, prune and fertilize and spray your roses for diseases now. Now is a great time to plant new rose bushes. Use a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro or Peters Professional.
- Start planning and preparing for your upcoming spring and summer annuals to be planted. Scour garden magazines and such for design and looks that are appealing to you and plan what you want to use and the type of plants to purchase. Now is also a great time to plant flowering perennials that come back every year. Most are in their dormant stages, but in a few months you will see them begin to show leaves and color.
- Now is the time to prune any apple, peach, plum or other fruiting trees. March is a good time to fertilize fruiting trees. Spray fruit trees with lime-sulphur before bloom for disease control. Spray apple and pear trees for fire blight with streptomycin when in bloom. Wait until late March to prune fig trees. Now is also a good time to plant new fruit trees such as pecan and pear. Plant strawberries now and watch them produce the following year.
- If you had a winter vegetable garden, there is still time to plant cool-season veggies like cabbage, carrots, spinach and kale. If not, now is a good time to clean out your vegetable garden or your raised beds and begin planning for your soil preparation for spring planting. Have your soil tested and pull up or cultivate any weeds that might have started in your beds. Start seeds for warm-weather transplants like tomatoes in a cool, sunny location in your home.
Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.