Horticulture Tips for March

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
What a difference a week makes! The rainfall Payne County received has been most welcome. It, in combination with the warming temperatures will really kick start our spring growing season. Consider the following tips for your garden and landscape.
  • 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 right now can completely dominate the same space one month from now.
  • If you planted winter cover crops, look for them to take off with vigorous growth soon. To get the maximum benefit to your soil from these plants, the goal is to have them produce as much vegetation as possible before they complete their life cycle. This means you can clip (or mow) the top growth off to encourage additional lateral growth. Mowing will also delay seedhead establishment. Remember that even the best cover crops can become weeds in your garden if they are allowed to randomly reseed.
  • For homeowners that typically use glyphosate to control weeds on their dormant bermudagrass, the window of opportunity will be closing very soon. If spraying is on your “to do” list in the next few days, scout carefully for signs of bermudagrass breaking dormancy and greening up. Application of glyphosate during this growth stage can really damage the bermuda.
  • 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. Look closely before cutting back as you do not want to cut back the tips of this year’s new growth or the plants will look bad all season long.
  • 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! Remember, our last AVERAGE freeze date for Payne County is about April 15th.

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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