Northern Garden Checklist For The Month Of March

Northern Garden Checklist For The Month Of March
by Thomas Fryd

What does the home gardener in the North do during March? Very little can be done outdoors other than to uncover the beds where the spring flowering bulbs are growing. that is, remove the protective winter mulches. Usually, this can and must be done by the middle of March, unless spring is very late.

Tulips, narcissus and the other bulbs often start sprouting early and they become badly crippled as they grow, twist and turn their way through the layer of leaves, hay or straw that was placed over them for winter protection. Many gardeners do not realize that they are starting to grow, also they are concerned about freezing temperatures and their effect upon exposed, sprouting bulbs.

Bulbs that sprout in spring are not injured by low temperatures but they will be damaged if they are not uncovered. Bulbs located in sun-trap positions such as the south and east sides of buildings, walls, fences, hedges or other protected places start growing much earlier than those in other places. Consequently, the gardener should be alert to this fact and be sure that they are not hindered in their growth. just a week’s delay in uncovering could be disastrous. Bulbous plants do not recover completely after they have grown weak, wan and distorted under leaves or hay.

Lawn clean”up tips suggest that things are usually done sometime during March, but the removal of coverings from perennial borders should be delayed until April in most parts of the North. If a week or more of spring-like weather has dispelled all evidences of winter and the turf can be walked upon without leaving footprints, the debris of winter and lawn fertilizer may be removed.

Instead of using a regular steel tined rake as is so commonly done, sweep the turf with a lawn broom with a gentle, firm action which does not pull out all the dead grass nor tear into the turf. Most home owners are too rough on their lawns when grooming them in spring, doing them more harm than good.

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