Now is the time to prepare your garden for spring. Perhaps spring fever is embedded in our DNA. Vernal or spring equinox means day and night are equal in length. The chemical processes that occur from shorter nights signal sleepy time is over for all living things. Plants begin new growth, animals emerge from hibernation, birds nest, mate or start to migrate. Get your garden spring show-ready with these tips.
Branches that appear dead may only have dropped their leaves from cold weather. Prune shrubs, trees and woody tropicals after new growth sprouts. While shrubs can be planted any month of the year, they benefit from cooler temperatures. March is the last optimal month for roots to recover before the high heat of later months. Roses pruned last month will be abundantly growing in March. Fertilize with 1 cup alfalfa meal, 1 cup fish meal, ½ cup blood meal, ½ cup rock phosphate and 1 cup greensand if you haven’t already.
Established perennials benefit from a slow release, balanced fertilizer. Finish dividing clumps and transplants. They recover from transplant shock faster when temperatures are still mild. Lawns reward those who wait to fertilize until mid-April. But now would be an ideal time to apply weed-control, service the mower, and sharpen or replace blades. Vines are setting blooms on old wood during this time. Prune after blooms have finished. Trim any brown ground covers and ornamental grasses as soon as possible before new growth appears. Root-bound houseplants or ones showing signs of insect damage or stress benefit from repotting now.
Bugs and slugs are also awakening. Maintaining a safe environment for pets and children also benefits butterflies, bees, and birds. Focused attention to grow the most vigorous healthy plant possible is the best strategy. Otherwise, choose your poison wisely and follow all directions. Increased hours of daylight means more energy for growing in all ways. Time to get busy. Happy Growing!
For more gardening tips, visit lsuagcenter.com.