Gardening tips in and around the house for March

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

March is a busy month for gardeners around the house, in the vegetable garden and in the landscape. Here are some gardening tips for you to consider this month.


Repot houseplants in fresh commercial potting mix. Before reusing old pots, clean them with detergent and water, or 10 percent chlorine bleach solution, to remove salts and disease-causing microorganisms. Most commercial potting mixes have some fertilizer in them, so wait a month after repotting before fertilizing.


Continue planting cool-weather vegetable crops, such as lettuce, mustard greens, sugar snap peas, radishes, onions, potatoes, spinach and cole crops (such as cabbage and collards) as soon as soil can be worked. You should be able to transplant cabbage, broccoli and similar members of the cabbage family now. A temperature dip would still hurt them so, you may need to watch the weather forecast and protect young tender plants.

Check the asparagus bed and pull weeds if necessary. Asparagus spears have started appearing already in the coastal plain. Plan on trellising English peas once they appear. There is still time to finish up pruning grape vines. They may drip sap, but that isn’t a problem.

Pest control on peaches and apples is critical in the period right after bloom. The home orchard guide on the web at: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/notes/Fruit/fdin002/fdin002.htm has information on pest control.

Landscape Plants

A layer of composted mulch conserves moisture, reduces erosion and provides nutrients to trees and shrubs.

Keep mulch away from the base of a tree or a shrub to discourage rodents and rotting of the trunk collar. A layer 2- to 3-inches thick is ideal; heavier mulching can prevent moisture from reaching the roots.

Wait on planting tender annuals. Although the weather looks favorable, it is prudent to wait until the 90 percent frost-free date, which is April 20 for us.

Prune early flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, as soon as flowers fade. They should be pruned immediately after flowering, before next year’s flower buds are formed. Now is the best time of the year to severely cut back overgrown shrubs. Divide perennials such as cannas, Shasta daisy, daylilies and coreopsis this month. Start your rose bush spray program just before bud break.


Herbicides are a temporary solution to a permanent problem—weeds! New weed seeds will always be traveling into your yard. The best long-term solution to controlling weeds is to have a healthy lawn. For the weeds you already have, control them now, before they get large and set seed. A little work now will save a lot of trouble later.

Control of wild onions and garlic starts in March with an application of 2,4-D. Mow just before spraying and refrain from mowing for two weeks. Put a few drops of dish liquid soap in the sprayer to help the herbicide stick to the foliage. You’ll need to give the lawn another application of 2,4-D in November to accomplish good control of this winter perennial.

It is too early to fertilize warm season grasses. Wait until April or for most grasses wait until May. Start mowing once the grass turns green and is more than an inch higher than the height recommended for maintaining the grass.