March Gardening To-Do List

Monthly Chores for Each Region

Gardening Hand Trowel and Fork Standing in Garden Soil

cjp / Getty Images

This article is part of our Mulch Madness series. Mulch Madness is The Spruce's gardening "full court press"—a curation of our very best tips and product recommendations to help you create a truly trophy-worthy lawn and garden.

March is unpredictable, even in relatively warm climates. Spring has arrived in southern climates while March is a coin flip in the northern climates of spring or winter temperatures.

If you don't have one, start a garden journal. It is the best tool for systematically improving your garden over the years. Get started on these regional garden tips in March.

All Regions

  • Send a sample of your soil into your local county extension service office for testing. The results will offer a scientific analysis of what nutrients (if anything) need to be added to your soil.
  • Do not walk across your garden when the soil is wet. Treading all over it can lead to compaction, which can impede root penetration and cause poor drainage.


 Spring may have a strong foothold in March. But, wet soils and frost warnings will remind you that your garden is still working under limitations.

  • Plant hardy annuals such as pansies.
  • Wait until the soil dries some and warms up before planting summer bulbs such as dahlias.
  • Once the danger of frost has gone, plant perennial vegetables and fruits.
  • Prune rose bushes before the buds break.
  • Plant trees and shrubs as soon as you can work the soil.


March can still be cold in the Midwest, regardless of what season the calendar says.


March can come in like a lamb and leave like a lion (or vice versa) in the Northeast.

  • Prune shrubs that flower on new wood.
  • Trim back ornamental grass stalks to clear room for new growth.
  • Spray fruit trees.
  • If you protected your evergreens with burlap during the winter, remove the burlap now.
  • Start spring cleaning in flower beds.
  • Check on garden mulch. If winter frost heaves have exposed plant crowns and temperatures remain cold, mulch should stay in place or be supplemented. On the other hand, if spring is early, you should remove enough mulch to let your perennials and spring bulb growth push up out of the ground unimpeded.

Pacific Northwest

Spring has sprung. The time for planning the garden is over, and the time for working in the garden has arrived.

  • Apply compost to the soil.
  • Plant summer bulbs.
  • Plant peas. (Late March)
  • Deadhead early bloomers.
  • Practice slug control.
  • Hang maggot traps to protect your apple trees.
  • Prune rose bushes and fertilize them.


Yes, winter still has a firm hold on Alaska but there are still a garden-related chore to do in March.

  • Check to see if the rhubarb has pushed up.

Pacific Coast

It is starting to feel comfortable enough to work in the garden in Northern California in March. The month starts out rainy but becomes increasingly less so. Southern California experiences moderate warmth and just a handful of rainy days in March.

In Northern California:

  • Fertilize trees and shrubs, especially camellias and other broadleaf evergreens.
  • Fertilize rose bushes, include a handful of Epsom salts.
  • Plant summer-blooming bulbs, herbs, potatoes, and leaf crops.
  • Harden off seedlings and set them outside.
  • Remove older growth from bougainvillea vines.

In Southern California:

  • Practice slug and snail control.
  • Divide perennial flowers that bloom in autumn.
  • Spray fruit trees.


March is warm enough for you that you can fertilize plants and take action for weed control.

  • Fertilize gardenias.
  • Sow cover crops on bare ground to suppress weeds.


In the high desert, the weather can still be uncertain. In the low desert, you can now count on highs in the 70s and 80s F.

  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
  • Sow beets, corn, leafy crops, and potatoes outside, and, inside, sow squash and plants from the nightshade family.
  • Remove mulch so that plants can push up easily and the ground can warm up.


The good news is that, for most of the region, you can now count on average high temperatures in the 60s and 70s F and average low temperatures in the 30s and 40s F. The bad news is that, in some parts of the region, you still can't rule out a fluke snowstorm.

  • Cool-season vegetables such as leafy crops and peas can be grown outside, as well as flowers that do not mind cool weather.
  • Plant berry-producing shrubs.


  • Remove cool-season annuals and plant warm-season annuals.
  • Plant perennial flowers and summer bulbs, such as canna and elephant ears.
  • Plant warm-season vegetables.
  • Prune flowering shrubs after they are done blooming.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Testing Your Soil. Texas A&M Extension

  2. Apple Maggots. University of Minnesota Extension