Time to lime if you haven’t already. When the ground is dry-ish, you can also aerate and topdress. If you have moss in your lawn and you are unhappy with it. You may think about applying moss killer when we have a forecast of at least 2 dry days about 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius.
A general clean-up and topdress is in order. Compost and well rotted manures can be applied at this time. Be mindful of the specific requirements of your plants. Acid loving plants like ferns, heather, camellias, rhododendron, and blueberries appreciate an acidic compost.
Peat is in limited supply and the removal of it from the ground has less than friendly effects on the environment. Living on the West Coast…we have a surplus of things like pine and fir needles and coffee grounds and if we add those to a compost, we create one perfect for our acid loving plants. In the case of pine and fir needles from downed branches courtesy of the March winds. You can drag the branches to the garden beds in need and then drag away the sticks once the needles have dried and fallen off. We also carry peat substitutes like coconut coir and Beats-Peat.
Aged manures can be applied to non acid loving plants like roses, veggie gardens, raspberry beds, rhubarb etc.
You can thin shrubs at this time, remember the one third rule. Don’t remove any more than one third of your plant at any one time. This is also true of mowing the lawn by the way. For larger trees consider hiring a certified arborist or taking a pruning course. I looked at some of the pruning being done even on commercial landscapes and have been horrified.
You should not see the pruning cuts but rather see an improved more open habit to your shrub or tree. Hubby brought out the pruners this past weekend. I usually hide them but I must have slipped. There are a few plants that are hardy enough for his pruning. When I told him there was probably little he could do to kill the Elderberry bush growing by my compost, he took me quite literally. At least I have a huge number of cuttings now to start young plants. The Elderberry will soldier on and be quite fine.
Remember to trim those spring flowering plants after they’ve flowered…nothing sadder than seeing the neighbour up the street carefully trim his forcythia in to a box, removing all of the glorious yellow flowers except the 2 or 3 that cling to the plant. Trim your heather after its bloomed too.
Now is a great time to pot up perennials and to dig up extra plants to give to neighbours like raspberries etc. Cuttings for many plants can be taken at this time as well.
This is the really exciting part right here.
A ton of summer veggies and flowers can be started right now both inside and out. Sweet peas can be started outside where they are to grow.
I am starting my Tomatoes as well.
There is a lovely selection of new seeds and summer bulbs at the nursery.
Take stock of your tool selection and sharpen and oil anything that needs it. Broken tools and holey wheelbarrows can be fixed, and flat tires filled. Anything not salvageable can become garden art or be recycled.
Planting of Trees and Shrubs
When the ground is not too waterlogged, now is a good time to plant out trees and shrubs and may hardy perennials. Hold off a bit for those annuals unless you have a nice cold frame.
Surrey residents: don't forget about the cities fantastic Tree Voucher Program. It's like getting a discount for planting trees in your yard!
That is about it right now. Remember to get out there and enjoy some of that fresh March air that is blowing through…just don’t be standing under weak branch attachments while you are enjoying it!