The few sunny days with mild temperatures we’ve had lately are signs spring is in the air. It is March, however, so we have to be realistic. March can be wintery OR spring like. The following are some ideas of what you can do now to prepare for the gardening season.
Now is the perfect time to prune non spring flowering shrubs. Spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after they bloom.
When pruning be sure not to leave stubs. Make cuts just over the place where a bud is coming out or if it’s a branch make the cut just outside the branch collar. (a rough section of bark where one branch joins the trunk)
Dead branches can be removed anytime along with branches that are in the way.
Before starting any pruning projects clean and sharpen your tools. It makes a huge difference. If the plant has had a disease, disinfect your pruner/lopper before moving to another plant or branch if just one branch is affected.
I have noticed a lot of black knot fungus on flowering cherry and plum trees. It can affect ornamental and fruit bearing trees. The affected sections look like swollen black knots on the branches and should be pruned out 8 inches away from the “knot”. This is a highly contagious fungal disease so don’t ignore it. For information go to:
Once the soil dries out a little you can rake or sweep up the road grit from driveway and road edges. If you do it when the soil is very wet the grass will be damaged. The same goes for raking leaves blown onto the lawn. Patience is the basic recommendation. We’re all anxious to get going but doing things under the wrong conditions can cause damage.
Gently rake up mulch/leaves that may be over areas where bulbs and early perennials like daylilies are poking through. I always leave some leaves as protection for late season snow & frost. We are bound to have some of both before consistently warmer weather arrives.
Grasses should be cut back before the new growth starts so now is a good time. Wear long sleeves as they have “razor” edges which is why deer don’t eat them.
This is a perfect time for “wishful thinking”. What changes do you want to make, plants to add, move, divide, or remove? First consider the site, light, type of soil etc. THEN research plants suited to that site.
The soil should be above 50 degrees and form a loose clump in your hand before you start any moving or dividing. Again, patience pays off in the end. It’s doubtful we will be able to do anything other than clean up by the end of the month.
If you’ve left plants up from last fall don’t be in a hurry to cut them back. Many beneficial insects overwinter or lay their eggs in the stems and litter around the crown. The same goes for leaf litter in the garden. There are a lot of insects and larva living in the ground litter. Just let it be.
If you need advice on how to transplant, divide, prune, what to plant etc. contact me for a consultation. If, like me, you still have lots of areas of snow cover in your yard, wait until it’s gone to arrange a consultation.
Upcoming Plant Sales:Put them on your calendar now!
Lessons from Nature and Amanda’s Garden Native and Perennial Plant Sale. Saturday, May 22nd, 9:00 – 2:00. 170 Pine St., E Aurora,
corner of Pine & Lawrence.
Clients and those of you who get my tips can come at 8:00 and beat the rush. We will have a larger variety of native plants on that one day than anywhere in WNY. All my plants are dug fresh from my garden and those from Amanda’s Garden are started from seed by Ellen. Fultz, the owner. A listing of what plants will be available will be in the May Garden Tips and on my web site – lessonsfromnature.biz
Master Gardener Plant Sale, Friday May 21, 8:30 – 3:00, Saturday May 22, 8:30 – 2:00,First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle, across from Kleinhans. Perennials and annuals for sun and shade, natives, succulents, hypertufa and draped concrete pots, vegetable starts, herbs, shrubs and garden art.
Master Gardener Education Day, Saturday, March 13 from 9:00am – 12:45pm.
You won’t want to miss this great opportunity to hear 2 outstanding speakers from the comfort of your own home. This past week I had the opportunity to have a “test run” with both presenters and am really excited about their presentations.
This year’s Education Day will be a shot in the arm for the winter blahs as well as being very entertaining and educational. There will be 2 presentations:
Rick Darke - Co-author with Doug Tallamy of The Living Landscape will present Dynamic Design and Stewardship of Living Landscapes.
Paul Zammit, professor at Niagara College in Ontario, past Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Gardens and international speaker will present: Planning and Planting for All Seasons.
If you haven’t registered yet you need to do so by this Wed..
Fees: Erie County Master Gardener - $25; Other Master Gardener &CNLP - $30; Public - $35
Registration is required! Register at erie.cce.cornell.edu/events.
Don’t forget to contact me for a garden consult. I can help improve your garden and gardening practices.
Lessons from Nature
170 Pine St.
E. Aurora, NY 14052