It’s March in the garden and looking at all of the dead crispy brown-freeze annihilated leaves is killing me! But, I am staying strong. It is fine to clean up and remove mush but hard pruning needs to wait until we hit the two week mark after that last freeze. One thing that you can do anytime it weed!
In fact, now is a great time to weed because their thriving greenery while an afront to my beloved plants is easy to spot and remove. My beds are about 60% weeded. I have too many beds! And, by the time my boy scouts deliver mulch in a few weeks, they will be ready to be bedded. Now for the next steps as we head into our guide to Houston March Garden Care.
March Garden Care Checklist:
- Weed as needed. Hopefully, you did a really good job and this will be minimal work. But, keep at it. If you get lax now this summer your beds and yard will be overrun.
- Mulch those freshly weeded flower beds
- If you are okay with chemicals apply a weed barrier product like Barricade Herbicide by Nitrophos (pretty widely available at local garden centers and Ace Hardware) it’s a pre-emergent for control of grassy and broadleaf weeds) – it won’t work if you’ve let your weeds go to seed.
- This year needs an extra step, as that blast of winter did extra damage. If your yard has a lot of dead set the mower ONE notch lower than usual and give it a trim (not a scalp!). Bag the clippings so they do not build up a thatch layer and suffocate your yard. Then, after you fertilize, you can spread a soil amender like Amozite or Soil Mender. For full details checkout our local pro Randy Lemmon’s guide.
- When new growth appears on your perennials fertilize them
- We have a wonderfully long growing season so plant your veggies now!
- Repot potted plants as needed
Is it Dead:
By now you should have a pretty good idea whether or not your plants survived the freeze. Most, even those that turned brown and lost all their leaves, should be showing signs of life – new buds on branches or new growth from the root. As soon as you are sure the freezes are past get to work:
- If it’s crispy and brown it’s dead, cut it back to green growth
- If it’s mushy and gross it’s dead and could be fungal, get it out of there ASAP
- Before pulling an entire plant grab the main branch near the base and give it a jiggle. If it doesn’t move the root system may be fine and it could come back. If it wiggles easily it’s dead pull the whole plant.
- Palms are still in the “wait and see” zone
- Cut away droopy fronds – don’t cut away anything that is green
Care of Common Houston-Area Plants:
- Crepe Myrtles:
- If you’ve already pruned them then you are good for the year, just snip off suckers and the shoots that may grow up from the base. If not go ahead and prune them but do not commit crepe murder! Here is a great video showing the proper way to prune a crepe myrtle. Don’t hack it off or it will grow back with ugly knobs and you will have a plant resembling Sideshow Bob!
- Feed with bulb food or top dress with compost
- Plant summer-blooming bulbs now – Dahlias, Gladiolus, Irises, Calla Lilies and other lilies.
- If you’ve already pruned them then again, they are done for the year. Deadhead as needed throughout the season to encourage new blooms.
- Mandarin Trees and other Citrus:
- Fertilize monthly from February to October, remove suckers as needed.
- Lavender and plants that can be divided:
- Divide and transplant as needed. Try to keep dirt around the roots.