March Gardening To-Do List

Monthly Chores for Each Region

Gardening Hand Trowel and Fork Standing in Garden Soil

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March is unpredictable, even in relatively warm climates such as Georgia's. Spring has the upper hand, though, in such states, while, in the North, it is a coin flip as to whether spring or winter will have the upper hand in any given year.

If you have not done so already, start a garden journal. It is the best tool for improving your garden systematically over the years. While you're waiting to have something to write in your journal, study these regional garden tips.

All Regions

  • Send a sample of your soil into your local county extension so that they can test it. It is the only scientific way to know what (if anything) needs to be added to your soil.
  • Do not walk across your garden when the soil is wet, which it often will be in many regions in March. Treading all over it can lead to compaction, which can impede root penetration and cause poor drainage.

Mid-Atlantic

 Some years, and in some parts of the region, spring will have a strong foothold in March. But, even in such cases, wet soils and frost warnings will remind you that your garden is still working under limitations.

  • Plant hardy annuals such as pansies.
  • But 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 their buds can break.
  • Plant trees and shrubs as soon as you can work the soil.

Midwest

March can still be cold in the Midwest, regardless of what season the calendar says it is. Pruning is a job to get out of the way this month.

Northeast

March can come in like a lamb and leave like a lion (or vice versa) in the Northeast. Pruning is one of the most important jobs to get done.

  • Prune shrubs that flower on new wood.
  • Trim back ornamental grass stalks to clear room for new growth.
  • Spray your fruit trees.
  • If you protected your evergreens with burlap during the winter, remove the burlap now.
  • Start spring cleaning in flower beds.
  • This is a tricky time for mulch. On the one hand, if frost heaves have exposed plant crowns and temperatures remain generally cold, you will want to apply mulch to protect them. On the other hand, if spring is early, you should remove enough mulch to let your perennials and spring bulb plants 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.
  • (Late March:) Plant peas.
  • Deadhead early bloomers.
  • Practice slug control.
  • Set out maggot traps to protect your apple trees.
  • Prune your rose bushes and fertilize them.

Alaska

Yes, winter still has a firm hold on you, but even Alaskans have garden-related chores 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 not only moderate warmth but also just a handful of rainy days in March. Of course, lack of rainfall is a double-edged sword for the gardener.

In Northern California:

  • Fertilize your trees and shrubs, especially camellias and other broadleaf evergreens.
  • Fertilize rose bushes, including with 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 your fruit trees.

Hawaii

March is warm enough for you that you'll want to encourage plants with fertilizer and take action against weed growth.

Southwest

In the high desert, the weather can still be uncertain. Not so in the low desert, where you can now count on highs in the 70s F at the start of the month and in the 80s F at its end.

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

Southeast

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 now be grown outside, as well as flowers that do not mind cool weather.
  • Plant berry-producing shrubs.

Florida

North Florida sees highs in the 70s F in March, but lows can dip into the 40s F. Central and South Florida stay warmer, with highs touching 80 F and lows staying above 50 F.

  • The changing of the guard: Out with the cool-season annuals and in with the 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.