Horticulture Tips for March

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
It’s no secret that spring is coming on hard and fast. These wild temperature fluctuations can be as hard on plants as they are on allergy sufferers. The Oklahoma Mesonet reports February was eight degrees above normal! It is difficult to know how to move forward with landscape gardening tasks in springs like this, where it can be so easy to get spring fever. Just keep in mind, the AVERAGE last frost for us is almost six weeks away at April 15th!
  • Plan to attend the March edition of the Payne County Master Gardeners Tuesday Gardening Series on March 14th at The Botanic Garden at OSU. Topics will be butterfly gardening and seed starting. See the contact information below for more information.
  • For landscape beds and garden plots, it is still easy to control winter/spring weeds with cultivation if done soon. Remember, a very small inconspicuous weed is right now can completely dominate the same space one month from now.
  • For homeowners that typically use glyphosate to control weeds on their dormant bermudagrass, the window of opportunity has already closed for this season. While bermudagrass may still appear dormant on first glance, we are already seeing signs of green up, especially on south facing slopes and up against buildings and sidewalks.
  • The same can be said for most dormant oil applications with fruit trees breaking buds all over the county. Spraying dormant oil on tender foliage can cause a lot of damage.
  • Preemergent herbicides must be applied before weeds germinate. Crabgrass is our indicator weed for this treatment. A reminder that this weed germinates about the same time that redbud trees or forsythia bushes begin to drop their blooms.
  • March is a good time to fertilize cool season grasses like Tall Fescue. Do NOT fertilize bermudagrass this month.
  • Begin planting cool season vegetable crops like radishes, beets and broccoli.
  • Wrap up cutting back ornamental grasses and liriope very soon. Most of these plants are already actively growing. Look closely before cutting back as you may want to leave a little more height on last year’s growth than normal.
  • Remove any remaining dead plant material from last year’s herbaceous ornamentals. If you don’t have a compost pile yet, now is the perfect time to start one.
  • And finally, NO, you should not plant your tomatoes yet!

For more information on this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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