March 2013 Gardening Calendar
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It is too early to fertilize the lawn. After you mow real grass twice, then fertilize. That is usually after April 15. It is time, however, to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass and sandburs. Apply Crabgrass Preventer, Amaze or XL the first of March and at the end of May.
There is also still time to aerate and top dress your lawn.
Most of the fruit trees bloom in March. For peaches and apples, you begin your spray program when the petals have fallen off two thirds of the flowers.
There are fruit spray mixes that include both an insecticide such as Seven or Malathion and a fungicide such as captan or you can obtain and spray them separately.
Organic gardeners can spray sulfur products, neem oil and/or spinosod.
Spray once per week for best results.
It is also time to begin the spray program on hybrid tea roses. The usual fungicide is triforine (fuginex) and the insecticide for roses is acephate. Organic gardeners can spray their roses with the same products used as organic pesticides on fruit trees.
It is not too late to prune roses early this month. Remove the dead or diseased wood and open up the middle by removing stems that grow to the middle. Reduce height to about 3 feet. There should be 3 or 4 stems left arising from the base at about a 60⁰ angle. A properly pruned rose can look pretty stark. Don’t worry; it will quickly fill with foliage and bloom.
Fertilize fruit trees once with slow release lawn fertilizer if you did not fertilize in February. Apply 1 cup per inch of diameter over the roots under the crown.
Fertilize roses once every four weeks with 1 cup of the same slow release lawn fertilizer (19-5-9).
Late in the month zinnias can be planted if you have the space. Snapdragons, pansies and the other cool weather flowers should be showy for another two months.
March is the month we can plant green beans and summer squash in the garden. Sometimes if it is warm, tomatoes planted at about March 15 will prosper but April 1 is the usual date.
Bluebonnets start blooming in March. Remember that if wildflowers are going to reseed for next spring, the flowers must be allowed to fade and the seeds mature before they are cut down.
If your live oak leaves did not fall in February, they will fall in March. Live oak leaves make great mulch. It is especially good as mulch in the vegetable garden because it is easy to move and is made up of small pieces. Use live oak leaves for garden paths. If you do not need the mulch, use the leaves for the compost pile or let one of the neighbors use it. Live oak leaves are too valuable to discard into the landfill.
Texas columbines and crossvine bloom in March. Watch for the first hummingbird of the year on their blooms. It is also a good time to put up your sugar water feeders. Use 5 parts water to 1 part sugar by volume.
The purple martins begin nesting in March; put your martin houses up early in the month if you forgot to do so in February.
Harvest greens, brussel sprouts, carrots, beets, lettuce, and turnips as you need them. Quality often remains high through April.
Calvin Finch Ph.D. is a Horticulturist and Director with the Texas A&M Water Conservation and Technology Center.
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