March is Mother Nature’s month to tease us with the hope that spring is here to stay. Itching to get outside on those warm sunny days and start piddling in the yard? There’s plenty of things you can start doing according to Curtis Stroud at Rosehill Gardens.
KCHS: Gardens tend to look gangly after weathering the winter months. Is this the time pruning should be done?
STROUD: Yes, shrubs can be rejuvenated by trimming back overgrowth. For perennials, all herbaceous non-woody plants can be trimmed to the ground, or to an inch or two above the ground, what I refer to as stubble. Woody perennials like spirea, hydrangeas, and rose of Sharon are a judgement call and can be trimmed to the desired height. All ornamental grasses are usually trimmed close to the ground also. Don’t forget to NOT trim your spring bloomers or they won’t bloom!
KCHS: A garden tends to look so much fresher with new mulch. What guidelines should be followed when mulching?
STROUD: This is a good time to apply fresh mulch. Your mulch layer should be 2-3 inches deep if this is the initial mulching. Follow up years, the layer should be 1-2 inches depending on how much the mulch has decomposed. If flowers are already started to show, go ahead and cover them lightly with a thin layer of mulch.
KCHS: If new shrubs want to be added to your landscape, are there any tips for planting them right now?
STROUD: A ball and burlap shrub is safer to plant earlier than a container plant as the root mass is larger and stronger to withstand the risk of freeze and stressful transplant. In general on an average year, most shrubs can start being planted in early March.
KCHS: Having a healthy green lawn is what homeowners strive toward. What steps can be taken now to get a start on a plush yard?
STROUD: Now is the time to apply pre-emergent weed control. This is designed as an effective preventative method of controlling weeds before they germinate. Crabgrass preventer is a good example.
KCHS: The flower beds and vegetable gardens are full of leaves and other debris. Does this need to stay in place until the last freeze has passed?
STROUD: This is a good time to cleanup any debris out of the beds, do spring cutbacks or pruning (mentioned above) shovel cut or straighten up all of the bed edging, install a weed pre-emergent throughout all beds and mulch. Then you are ready for the season!
KCHS: Are there any other tips you’d like to share?
STROUD: This is the time of year when we might have periods where it can be very dry out. If the weather is nice, hook up your hose for a day and water your plants. That will really help the health of your plants and give you something to do on a nice day.