March Garden To Do List

March 1, 2021

March is the month when many of the beautiful spring flowering perennials and shrubs begin to bloom. With Spring just around the corner, it is time to get serious and get the garden ready! The fickle weather of March makes it impossible to set exact dates and schedules for planting, so proceed with caution!


 General garden care

  • Begin fertilizing houseplants and repot if necessary.
  • Begin spring cleanup of beds and landscape.
  • Test your soil.
  • Sharpen, clean and oil tools and lawn mowers.
  • Completely remove winter mulch; cultivate beds to remove winter weeds and debris, then edge.
  • Buy a soil thermometer. 50 degrees signals a time to plant many early crops, especially potatoes. 



  • Prune roses and fertilize; spray for black spot at first sign of leaf bud break.
  • Apply bulb fertilizer to spring blooming bulbs as shoots start to show.
  • Begin planting new trees and shrubs as long as the ground is not frozen.
  • Take cuttings of pussy willow, cherry, almond and forsythia to bring indoors and force early bloom.
  • Use hedge shears to trim back summer flowering shrubs such as Caryopteris, Hypericum and Spirea. Don’t forget to cut back ornamental grasses.
  • Reduce insect population on trees and shrubs with a dormant spray of horticultural oil.
  • Spray peach trees to control peach leaf curl, San Jose scale and twig borers.
  • Fertilize perennials, shrubs and evergreens.
  • Buy summer flowering bulbs.
  • Spray apples and crabapples to control cedar-apple rust.
  • Sow annuals in a cold frame: Allysum, baby’s breath, morning glory, nicotiana, salvia, snapdragon and verbena.
  • Plant trees and shrubs.
  • If winter has been mild, look for hosta shoots poking up through the soil. Dig up clumps that need to be divided, split them apart and replant them. Water well.



  • Peas traditionally are planted on St. Patrick’s Day but the last three or four years have been too cold and wet. It might be better to wait until April.
  • Plant onion sets if soil is workable.
  • Start tomato, parsley and geranium seeds indoors.
  • Fertilize seedlings.
  • Amend vegetable beds with compost.
  • Sow cool season vegetables and herbs.
  • Plant strawberries.
  • Fertilize berry bushes, grapevines, rhubarb and asparagus before new growth begins.
  • Fertilize acid-loving blueberries with Cottonseed Meal or HollyTone.
  • Plant potatoes, turnips, cabbage, collards, kale, mustard, spinach and other greens.
  • At the end of the month plant shallots, bok choy, parsley and broccoli.


Lawn care

  • Seed or sod new lawns, weather permitting. Reseed bare spots in established lawns. Keep area moist until seedlings appear. Mow when new grass is 3″ high.
  • Fertilize existing lawns.
  • If weather permits, spread a pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass control.