Landscape recovery is on the mind of most gardeners. After several cold snaps many residents are wondering when to prune and what care is needed by their plants. Well, the rule is - when you cannot stand the brown it is time to do the pruning. I do not believe this late in the season leaving brown portions on plants is of much value. And right now plants are starting to produce growth -- so why let the brown get in their way?
My thought is to get the brown off the plants as soon as possible. Cut the plants back into healthy wood. For some this may be to the ground but most should recover. Yes, it may take them some time but in a few months new buds will likely come back from even below ground level.
This is also a good time to reshape all but the spring flowering shrubs. And if these are damaged you might as well prune them too. Let's face it - many plants have been growing out of bounds and Mother Nature just did what we have been putting off possibly for years.
After the pruning there is no use to apply fertilizer until the plants begin new growth. For many this could be immediately and you can give them a good feeding. The University of Florida is recommending an 8-2-12 or similar product with slow release properties. This and similar products are starting to show up at local garden centers.
So, now is the time to revive your landscape. Enjoy the good weather ahead and work in a few of Tom's Other Gotta Do's too.
- Fill in bare or declining spots with sod, plugs or seed.
- Rake out brown blades or allow the grass to out grow winter damage.
- Mow overgrown lawns back to their normal height and remove clippings.
- Crabgrass has begun germination; use of a preemergence for control may be of little value.
- Sandburs can be treated with a preemergence turf herbicide to prevent germination.
- Apply a lawn fertilizer with little or no phosphorus, the middle number in the analysis.
- Control broadleaf weeds with a weed & feed product or use a liquid control.
- If chinch bugs have been a problem apply a control by mid month.
- Have your problem weeds identified at your local extension office to learn the best controls.
- Water only when the grass begins to wilt.
- Repair and adjust irrigation systems.
- Change the oil and air filter of gas powered equipment.
In the landscape:
- Continue pruning to remove winter damage.
- Many plants are dead to the ground but should grow back if given time.
- Remove dead fronds from damaged palms
- Apply a spring feeding to palms, shrubs and perennials.
- Establish shade and flowering trees normally do not need a special feeding.
- Even though it has been cold don't expect insects to take a break; check regularly for pests.
- Prune spring flowering shrubs when the blossoms fade.
- Remove tree and shrub portions blocking walkways and competing with nearby plantings.
- Consider needed tree trimming; have the work performed before hurricane season.
- Complete crape myrtle pruning by removing seed pods and twiggy portions.
- Divide and replant perennials.
- Complete pruning of bush type roses; prune climbers when the spring blooms fade.
- Trim poinsettias to within 12- to 18-inches of the ground and begin feedings.
- Replant container gardens with spring flowers.
- Remove stalks from amaryllis after the blossoms fade.
- Trim and divide ornamental grasses before they begin spring growth.
- Prune young shade trees to a straight trunk that forms a central leader.
- Add trees, palms, shrubs and vines to the landscape.
- Check azalea planting sites for the proper acidity and adjust the pH if needed.
- Divide outdoor orchids and begin every other week feedings with a fertilizer solution
- Turn fallen leaves into compost or use as a mulch.
- Feed container gardens weekly with a liquid fertilizer if needed for growth.
- Give power equipment a spring check up.
- Remove debris from water gardens and repot lilies.
- Replenish decomposing mulch layers.
Vegetable and fruit care:
- Early March is tomato, pepper and eggplant planting time; set new plants in the ground.
- Remove winter vegetables as they decline and plant warm season crops.
- Prune back cold damaged tropical fruits into green wood and wait for them to recover.
- Renew banana & papaya plantings by removing brown leaves and severely damaged trunks.
- Give citrus trees their first feeding of the new year with a citrus fertilizer.
- Feed other fruit bearing trees, shrubs and vines at this time.
- Add new fruiting trees, shrubs and vines to the landscape.
- Complete the pruning of grape plantings before they flower.
- Add container herb and vegetable gardens to crowded landscapes.
- Add a mulch to all but citrus plantings.
- Fertilize vegetables lightly every 2 to 3 weeks or use a slow release product.
- Train vining vegetables to a trellis to save space.
- Harvest and dry herbs for future use.
- Sprout sweet potatoes to produce transplants.
- Pineapple plants often bloom in March and ripen their fruits in August.
House plants chores:
- Check plants that have been chilled by the cold and remove affected foliage.
- Groom indoor plants to remove yellowing leaves and faded blooms.
- Trim the ends of holiday cactus and begin more frequent waterings and feedings.
- Wash dust and pests from house plant foliage with a mild soapy solution.
- Replace declining plants with low light tolerant varieties.
- Move orchids outdoors or to a bright but shady area and begin every other week feedings.
- Disinfect and wash used containers.
- Trim and move lanky plants into higher light.
March 2018 Plantings
Flowers: African daisy, ageratum, alyssum, bacopa, balsam, begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, bush-daisy, celosia, cleome, coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, dahlberg daisy, diascia, dusty miller, four o'clock, gaillardia, geranium, goldenrod, impatiens, Joseph's coat, licorice plant, marigold, melampodium, million bells, moon vine, morning glory, nierembergia, salvia, strawflower, torenia, verbena, vinca and zinnia.
Vegetables: Bean, calabaza, cantaloupe, cassava, chayote, corn, cucumbers, dasheen, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, luffa, malanga, New Zealand spinach, okra, pepper, pumpkin, southern peas, squash, tamarillo, tomato, and watermelon.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamon, chervil, chives, coriander, costmary, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon balm, sweet marjoram, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme and watercress.
Bulbs: Achimenes, African iris, African-lily, amaryllis, blood lily, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, crocosmia, dahlia, daylily, eucharis lily, gingers, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, Louisiana iris, rain lily, tuberose and walking iris.