March is an excellent time to get started on garden cleanup projects. With a little warmer weather, we are anxious to get in the garden and breath in the fresh spring air. But it is too early for planting. So, plan on cleanup projects this month and get them out of the way. Then when the weather really warms up in April, Creek Side Grown Fresh perennials will be ready for planting by mid-April.
If you are establishing a new bed or questioning the performance of the plants in a bed, consider getting a soil test performed at the Colorado State University Soil Lab. Creek Side has the soil sample containers and instructions at the store. When you get your results back, stop by the store for an explanation of the recommendations.
Garden Bed Clean Up
There is not too much happening in the garden plant-wise in March, so it is an opportunity to work around established plants in the landscape without disturbing them.
- Remove leaves and debris from beds and pull any weeds before they get too established.
- Remove any dead plant material (may have been done in fall)
- Cut back ornamental grasses to 2-4” above soil level.
- Rake out mulch
March is the last chance to prune shrubs and trees before they break their dormancy. Do this early in the month because the plants are beginning to grow again quickly.
- Prune trees when they are bare so you can see branch structure except for Maples and Birch which should be pruned in fall after leaf drop. Remove dead and crossing branches. Dead branches will snap.
- Cut back summer blooming shrubs such as Russian Sage, Butterfly Bush and Blue Mist Spirea to 3-6” above soil level.
- Cut out dead branches of spring blooming shrubs like forsythia, lilac, etc. Only dead branches, do not cut any live branches or you will be removing flowers for this spring.
- Prune to shape Smokebush, Rose of Sharon, Hydrangea, Potentilla, Ninebark, etc.
Container Garden Clean Up
If there is time, get prepared for planting annuals and vegetables even though this will not happen until May.
- Clean out containers removing soil with a hose & a brush. For terracotta & ceramic containers, soak pots in a 10% bleach solution to kill fungi and bacteria (wear gloves). Rinse and let dry.
- Sow seeds indoors for tomatoes, peppers & eggplant