UC Master Gardeners of Butte County
University of California
UC Master Gardeners of Butte County

Garden Tips for March

Planting

  • Prepare beds for planting by spading in compost.
  • Seedlings of cool-season vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, and turnips) can be set out now.
  • When transplanting seedlings from indoors to outdoor garden beds, harden them off by introducing them to the outdoors gradually.
  • Potato tubers can go in the ground in mid-March, right around St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Sow seeds indoors now to start warm season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. It’s too early to put nursery-bought tomato and other summer vegetables in the ground (frost risk).
  • Citrus, strawberries, and summer bulbs can be planted.

Maintenance

  • Repot houseplants that have grown too large for their containers. Root the cuttings for more plants.
  • Dig, divide, and replant summer- and fall-flowering perennials like agapanthus, garden phlox, astilbe, aster, bleeding heart, coral bells, daylilies, and Shasta daisies.
  • Fertilize roses, annual flowers, and berries with slow-release fertilizer when spring growth begins.
  • Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.
  • Fertilize citrus with a low dose of balanced fertilizer prior to bloom and fruit set.
  • Hoe and pull weeds. To suppress weeds, apply a 4- to 6-inch thick layer of mulch.
  • Cut back, divide, and lightly fertilize herbs.
  • Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs and trees after bloom.
  • Fertilize cool-season lawn (bent, blue, rye, and fescue).
  • Fertilize azaleas, gardenias, and camellias at the end of bloom. Try using composted or well-aged manure.
  • Prune suckers away from trunks of fruit trees.
  • Paint the trunks of young trees with a mixture of white latex paint and water (1:1).  This will help protect the tree from sunburn and borer attacks.
  • Check irrigation system for any leaks or necessary replacements

Pest and disease control

  • Check roses for aphids; control with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. Ants feed on aphid honeydew and will protect aphids to maintain access to honeydew. Try sticky traps around plants and tree trunks to deter ants and cut down on aphid infestation.
  • Spray apricots, peaches, and plums with a fungicide as flowers open to prevent brown rot.
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