March Lawn and Garden Tips

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This is the month that cool season grasses really start to grow. If you haven’t already, go ahead and apply your fertilizer. A soil test is the preferred method of determining how much to apply but if you haven’t or will not do a soil test, apply 10 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 1000 square feet of lawn space or 6 pounds of 17-17-17. This will get your lawn off to a good start. Remember if you apply a fertilizer with phosphorus you will want to aerate your yard to get the nutrient in the ground otherwise use a fertilizer that has a 0 as the middle number.

Warm season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia need to be fertilized during the warm months of the year. Now is the time to conduct weed control for broadleaf weeds in your warm season grasses.

Crabgrass and summer broadleaf weed preventers should be applied around March 1. A second pre-emergence treatment can be applied eight weeks after the first to maintain season long control of crabgrass. Pre-emergent herbicides can only be used on established lawns. If you seeded your Tall Fescue lawn this spring you will need to wait until at least the second mowing before applying a pre-emergent herbicide. Dimension and Barricade are some good pre-emergent options.

Your shrubbery should be pruned this time of the year. Pruning prior to bud break is the safest pruning method for most shrubs. If you have shrubs that bloom on one-year-old wood such as Azaleas and Hydrangeas, prune them after they bloom if you want to enjoy the flowers. Now is also a good time to clean up any fallen leaves and debris in your shrub beds to prevent diseases from last year from reappearing.
Now is also a great time to apply pre-emergent herbicides in the shrubs to prevent summer weeds. Snapshot, freehand, dimension, and preen are a few name brands that are easily applied as a granular.

Fruit Trees
Fruit trees should be pruned prior to bud break. If you are just getting around to it, then you are late! It is still ok to prune but you must do it asap! As your trees finish blooming, begin spraying with an all purpose fruit tree spray or copper fungicide according to the product label to prevent insects and diseases.

Remove any dead, diseased or crossing branches from your trees prior to bud break. Do NOT top trees!

Now is a great time to fertilize your pastures. Apply 260 pounds of 17-17-17 per acre to get your fescue off to a great start. You may also want to spray under fence lines to remove weeds and utilize a broadleaf weed killer such as crossbow to take out unwanted plants in the grazing grass.

It’s time for that spring garden again! In reality it is best in our area to plant your spring crops as early as March 1st. If you have yet to get around to planting, there is still time to plant cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, beets, onions and basically any crop that can take a frost and that will be harvested within 60 days or so.

It is also time to begin turning in your cover crops to prepare for your summer planting. In our area we plant the summer garden around May 1, and you will need the month and a half until then for the cover crops to decompose properly in the soil prior to planting. Now is also a good time to conduct a soil test, as you still have time to get it back prior to summer planting.