Spring seems to be way ahead of schedule this year and it is scary. We all know there could be plenty of cool ahead but are we will to take a chance and get started anyway. The plants are growing so it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference. As Joani says, "we are not done with winter until about the middle of March".
Still the plants are growing and so is your lawn. I have seen many poor looking lawns so let's get them back in shape. Might, I suggest you start with a little weed control? Use one of the liquids made for your lawn type. When the weeds turn yellowish then you can apply a fertilizer. If you would like to do all this work at once maybe a weed & feed product would be right for you. There are many fertilizer companies offering these products.
I do fear, not all gardeners use the weed & feed products properly. I hear they are not working properly from many residents. Well, I feel maybe we did not read the directions and have a spreader that applies the product properly. If the weed and feed does not work on the simple broadleaf weeds then maybe a liquid product is better for you.
Next fill in the bare spots. There was some winter damage in some areas but most is where the weeds once grew or chinch bugs were at work. You can use plugs, sod or seed as may be appropriate for your lawn type. Just keep the area moist during the dry weather ahead.
Then there are chinch bugs to deal with in St. Augustine lawn. If you had a problem in the past or expect a problem I suggest you apply a lawn insecticide with chinch bugs on the label. Follow the instructions care fully. Repeat applications are likely to be needed at 6 to 8 week intervals.
Pansy time is over but you can still plant a few of the cool season flowers like petunias, snapdragons, dianthus and geraniums. But most of the plantings from here till summer should be the warm season marigolds, begonias, salvia, melampodium and coleus just to mention a few.
- 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 overgrown plants and those not damaged by cold.
- Remove dead fronds from 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 cool 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 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 area and begin every other week feedings.
- Disinfect and wash used containers.
- Trim and move lanky plants into higher light.
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.
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.
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.