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Home & Garden

March outside and take care of some garden chores

I won’t bore you with the “in like a lion, out like a lamb” adage because not only is it cliché, but it’s actually not even always the case. Spring may begin in March, but that’s no guarantee of springlike weather. So, sure, start your seeds indoors, polish off your tools and prune to your heart’s content, but don’t jump the gun and set summer plants outdoors just yet – even if temperatures rise – just in case that lion overstays his welcome. Here are some March tips and chores.

• Prune deciduous shrubs and trees, including fruit trees before they break dormancy, but hold off on spring bloomers until after their show.

• Cut back ornamental grasses and any remaining perennial plant debris, and rake beds and borders clean.

• Plant new trees and shrubs, but don’t fertilize.

• Fertilize established deciduous and evergreen trees.

• As soon as spring-flowering bulbs sprout, apply a quick-release fertilizer.

• Remove and replace mulch around roses if they showed signs of black spot disease or powdery mildew last year.

• If you need to relocate shrubs, do so now, while they’re dormant.

• Start seeds of annuals indoors by a sunny window or under fluorescent grow lights.

• St. Patrick’s Day – it’s time to plant peas outdoors. Lettuce and radish seeds, too.

• Even if the grass is growing, remember: no fertilizer until at least April 1. (Memorial Day would be even better.)

• Start seeds of peppers, tomatoes and eggplants indoors in sterile potting mix. Water from the bottom to avoid “damping off,” a fungal disease that can be fatal.

• Remove all raspberry canes that bore fruit last year and cut the rest back by 25 percent.

• Incorporate compost and fertilizer into the veggie patch, then cover with plastic sheet mulch to warm the soil.

• It’s time to divide fall-blooming perennials.

• Avoid mulching until the soil has completely warmed. Otherwise, you’ll trap in the cold and delay plants.

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