GARDEN TIME with DOUG – March Gardening Checklist


March is an exciting month for gardeners. Daylight Saving Time is here March 10 whereby our sunset will be at 7:37 PM. How exciting is this that we will have more time to spend outdoors. And, spring will officially be here March 20. The big question will be “what kind of weather and temperature does Mother Nature have in store for us this year?” If you remember, last March was not great. Last March was cool and wet which was the same two years ago. This is why March will always be a guessing game in the garden. Will it get warm? Will it stay warm? Let’s all hope for a beautiful March in 2019.

Regardless of what happens we still have garden chores to do in March.

Here are a few March gardening tips:

  1. Ready to do some planting? March is a great planting month. Please use ESPOMA BIO-TONE inside the hole for every plant. Bio-Tone is a root stimulator. You will be amazed by the results. I can’t stress enough how great this product works for all newly planted plants.
  2. If not done so already, be sure to apply the pre-emergent crabgrass preventer as soon as possible. Once the crabgrass seed germinates and begins to grow then you missed out on the best time to keep crabgrass under control in your lawn.
  3. Did you have Japanese Beetle issues last year? If so, now is the time to put down a white grub control on the lawn. White grub worms are surfacing with the warmer soil temperature.  Controlling the white grub worm population will lead to less Japanese Beetles this summer.
  4. Now that March is here, it is a good time to shape and prune evergreen shrubs and trees, such as boxwoods, hollies, bayberry, laurels, etc. Remember: If these evergreen shrubs bloom in the spring, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, etc., then hold off on pruning these evergreens until after they are finished blooming.
  5. March is a good time to apply a fresh inch or two of mulch. Remember not to build the mulch up too high at the base of plants. Stems are stems and roots are roots. Stems need to be free from being buried under mulch.
  6. If not done so already, now is the time to cut back your liriope (Monkey grass) and all your ornamental grasses before new growth emerges.
  7. Do you like to do your own vegetable gardening? March is a good month to grow our cole crop vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc. All of these vegetables can be successfully grown in containers on a balcony or patio. Just remember that vegetable plants need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight.


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23 thoughts on “GARDEN TIME with DOUG – March Gardening Checklist”

  1. Doug,

    I noticed the last two years that our liriope come back strong in the spring after being cut back, but then many of the leaves turn yellow as the season progresses into summer. The same is also generally try of our day lillies. Do you have any recommendations? A landscaper informed me that liriope benefit from holly tone fertilizer. Is that accurate?

    • David,
      First, thank you for reading this blog and then taking the time to send in your question. Once the liriope is cut back it is a good time to feed and Espoma Holly Tone is an excellent plant food. Espoma has a full line of organic plant food that are fantastic to use. Let me know if you have any further questions. Take care, Doug

  2. I just read your March to do list…could these thing , crab grass, pruning , wait 10 more days? How important is it to do right now? I may be out of town for a week or so. I can change things…please let me know. Thanks ?

    • Don,
      Thank for reading my blog and then a quick return with a question. You should be ok waiting 10 days. But, I wouldn’t wait much more than 10 days especially for putting down a crabgrass pre-emerent, Not sure what you need to prune. Just keep in mind that pruning deciduous shrubs and trees is best before they break dormancy and start putting out new leaves. Have a good trip and let’s talk when you get back in town. Doug

  3. Thank you for all the great tips – I am a novice at trying to get a good lawn and wondered if the Corn Gluten mentioned this week qualifies as pre-emergent crabgrass preventer? Is there another product more appropriate?

    • Thank you for reading my blogs. I try to be helpful and educational with my blogs. Yes, Espoma Corn Gluten is a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer. And, a very good one. The popular reason for using corn gluten is that it is safe for pets because of being organic. Yes, there are many other products on the market that are pre-emergent. My advice with whatever the product you decide on is to read the bag so that you have a complete understanding of the product and apply it to your lawn according to directions. Take care, Doug

  4. Hello,
    I have a clematis that I want to move to another part of my garden plot at my senior community. Is now a good time to transplant it? Assuming I have warm-ish day coming up soon. 🙂

    • Janet,
      Very good and timely question. Yes, this is a very good time while the clematis is still dormant and our soil temperature is cool. One tip to share…when you re-plant consider adding some Espoma Bio-Tone to the hole. Bio-Tone is a root stimulater. Just sprinkle some into the hole and then set the roots of your clematis on top of the bio-tone. I use bio-tone with everything that I plant. You will be amazed with the results. Take care, Doug

    • Bonnie,
      Good questions. I think I need you to give me a call at the garden center in order to answer your question on trimming hydrangea. There are a few family types of hydrangeas and when I figure out what family type of hydrangea you have will dictate my answer. So give me a call when you can OR email again if you have the name of the hydrangea. As for mulching…many people are freshing their gardens with new mulch now. You don’t have to if you feel that you are happy with what you have. Maybe just do a fresh raking of it could give it a fresher look. Doug

  5. Hello Doug,
    I have two questions:
    1. What is the best fertilizer for camellias and when should it be done?
    2. Despite following all the rules, my cucumbers still look round, weird and crooked. By the way, I plant them in pots with a lot of sun and care.
    Thank you.

    • Aida,
      Thank you for reading my blogs and taking the time to send me your questions. In my opinion the best food for camellias is the Espoma Holly-Tone. Holly-Tone is a great food for all acid loving plants which camellias are including azaleas and rhododendrons.
      I am not sure how to answer your question concerning your cucumber plants. I don’t think that you growing cucumbers in pots is the issue. I am not sure about the soil that you use or the feeding that you may be doing. How were the cucumber flowers pollinated? Did you do it yourself? Another thought is that during the winter months our sunlight is short – nothing like we have in the summer. And, we have had many cloudy days this winter. This be a culprit. Just not sure. Sorry Let me hear back from you if you have more thoughts or questions. Take care, Doug

  6. Love this LOCAL monthly checklist. Thanks! Life gets nuts. This is GREATLY appreciated. Please keep it going.

    Also looking forward to finally using my (December) birthday gift cards at my Meadows Farms.

    • Wendy,
      Thank you for your kind comments. I love reading feedbacks. Come see us when you are ready. We have new inventory arriving daily now in order to get ready for the spring season. Take care, Doug

  7. I have tried to grow Lily of the valley in many different locations on my property,even in pots. Nothing grows. I tried pips & established plants. What can I do ? Thanks

    • Andrea,
      Success comes from planting these wonderful perennials in the right location. Lily of the Valley are a cool, shade perennial. They do best in a woodland setting growing under a canopy of shade trees. Growing them in pots can be tricky unless you have the pots sitting in the shade. I wouldn’t give up on them just yet. We do sell the bare root pips and we will be selling the actual plants later in the spring. The soil need to be filled with lots of naturally leaf compost for good drainage. Come see us soon for any further assistance. Doug

    • Good timely question. Now is the time to prune crape myrtle trees while they are still dormant. I am hoping all you need to do is to do some slight trimming, removing last years’ seed pod heads, and rounding up the head of the tree. I hope you don’t want to trim them down severely. We refer to this form of trimming as “crape murder”. Take care, Doug

    • Michele,
      Thank you for reading my blogs and sending me your question. We are just beginning to bring in some liriope. All we have now are both variegated and green liriope in gallon size pots. Our flats and 4″ pots of ground cover should be here within the next couple of weeks – weather depending. Let me know if you have any further questions. Take care, Doug

  8. Margaret Downing
    How long after putting down pre emergent do I have to wait to reseed?
    We had an invasion of wild strawberry last year.

    • Margaret,
      With most pre emergent products you will need to wait 6 to 8 weeks before you can safely add any grass seed. So, this puts you to mid May which is quite late to be thinking about adding grass seed. This is why we do our seeding in the fall and fighting weeds in the spring because you can’t do both at the same time.

  9. Doug,

    Just to clarify, is liriope considered an “acid-loving” plant and therefore Holly Tone is more appropriate than any other fertilizer?

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