March is Maybe the Best Gardening Month…REALLY! (as told by Master Gardener, Carrie Petty)
Oh March, how can I thank you. You have arrived! I really feel this is one of the greatest gardening months. Why? Because you are in the honeymoon phase, with dreams of all the good things to come, and let’s face it…we are all glad winter is almost over. Brutal!
If there is one thing you can do in the garden in the month of March, it is dream! OK, and work your tail off! Get outside and clean up that winter debris all over the ground and being to uncover the little green spouts that are underneath all the months of brown. There are many good things to be found in the garden and even some early blooms. Crocus bulbs will begin to emerge and the buds on most blooming trees and bushes will begin to swell. You can get a jump-start on all the spring chores in the month of March, so get busy.
Pruning trees and bushes in March is a perfect 1st garden chore. Just be sure not to prune early flowering varieties. Like, Fortyish, Azalea, Rhododendron, Lilac, Dogwood trees or Redbud trees. They all bloom on “old wood” or last season’s growth. You do not want to cut off your blooms. I love the Fiskars line of pruning tools. Sharp and clean blades are a must! And make sure when you make a cut, to make it ¼” above a “bud union” (That place where you see a swell in the branch) and always cut at an angle to allow rainwater to run off the freshly cut opening, so not to cause rot and disease. Then I add a little 10-10-10 granular fertilizer to the base of the tree and make sure there is not mulch touching the base of the trunk.
Pruning does a couple of things. It helps to encourage new growth. It cuts out any dead or broken branches, and most importantly it maintains the shape of the plant. It is a wonderful way to get up close and personal with your trees and bushes, to really observe closely the branching order of things, and make a few adjustments. Just like people, we all need a little pruning; it helps us all to “Grow a More Beautiful Life!”
Find Carrie Petty at the 2018 Indiana Flower and Patio Show March 10-18 on the Main Stage at 6pm.
Carrie Petty is a fourth generation Hoosier! She is Lectures across the Nation, Master Gardener, as well as a Garden and Lifestyle Blogger. An amateur naturalist, painter & photographer, Petty loves teaching families how to, “Grow a More Beautiful Life.”