What to Do in the Garden This March

AlanGardenMaster
Published on March 7th 2020
96
by AlanGardenMaster (All rights reserved)
A baskets filled with flowers on a table
Spring seems to get earlier every year. Before we all get carried away, remember that it was in March a couple of years ago when the 'Beast from the East' hit us and upset many plans in the garden!
So, rather than rushing in headlong, it pays to be a little cautious and not get carried away! Check back regularly for my weekly tips.

Rose care in March

  • In March, it's time to prune most roses bushes. However, climbing, rambling and shrub roses are best pruned in summer. Prune these after the main flush of the flower.
  • If your roses are bush hybrid tea or floribunda cluster-flowered varieties, then cut them back to 6-8" from the ground. Make your cut just above a bud.
  • Prune out any branches that are crossing to leave the bush centre open.
  • Remove any root suckers as close to the roots as possible - neatly tear them off discourages more from growing. Root suckers are small, vertical new growth found around the plant's base, which competes for nutrients.
  • Cut out any weak, dead or diseased shoots.
  • Believe it or not, it's time to start spraying roses for black spot, rust and aphids.
  • Early spray pays off. Mild winters have encouraged soft new growth, and that needs protection. Use Roseclear Ultra, or Multi rose spray.
  • If you prefer not to spray, then opt for varieties that have inherent disease resistance and encourage natural predators into your garden. Read more about other alternatives to pesticides here.
  • March is the best time for planting roses on clay soils (which roses do well on) and in cold areas. Rub a little root friendly mycorrhizae - sold as Root Grow - directly onto the roots as you plant them.

Explore gardening tools and equipment for pruning and garden maintenance on Candide.

Pruning outdoor plants in March

  • Cut dogwoods - Cornus alba and C. sericea types - and willows Salix that are grown for brightly coloured winter stems down to almost ground level now. This encourages young new shoots that always have the best colour.
  • If you haven't done it already, it's time to prune Buddlejas back to about waist height and also trim Lavatera "Tree Mallows" back to healthy new shoots close to the base.
A buddleja bush in a garden
A close up of a eucalyptus leaf
Eucalyptus leaves are more dramatic after a hard prune.
  • Prune side shoots on winter flowering Jasmine back hard. 'Flowering Quince' Chaenomeles can be cut back when they finish flowering too. This gives time for next year's flower buds to form.
  • Cut back the dead tops of Miscanthus and other deciduous grasses. The new shoots will be emerging very soon.
  • Rake dead leaves from evergreen ornamental grass varieties and Stipa in particular. Stipa hates hard pruning!

Bulb care in March

  • Start large-flowered and cascading Begonia corms into growth by planting them on the surface of multipurpose compost in warmth now. Plant the indented concave side upwards, as this is where the shoots will appear.
  • Remove flower heads from daffodils as they finish flowering to stop them from wasting energy on seed production.
  • Do not cut off the leaves until they turn yellow, and don't even think of tying it into knots! A liquid feed with tomato fertiliser will help next year's flowers to form now. Check for snail damage too.
  • Pot up some lilies! Lilies love to have a deep root run so use deep pots. I can't resist those strongly scented Lilium regale types

Greenhouse and potted plant care

  • Indoor Azaleas should be kept cool and regularly watered with rainwater. Start to feed them when new shoots appear. In May, put Azaleas outside for summer.
  • Re-pot Fuchsias, Pelargoniums and other over-wintered tender plants. Cut away any dead shoots and prune back to the strong shoots near the base where possible. Keep an eye out for vine weevil larvae in their roots.
Indoor azaleas should be watered with rainwater
  • Remove dead flowers from Hippeastrum Amaryllis. Keep feeding and watering until the leaves start to go yellow and die down. Then stop so that the bulb can rest. Find out more here:
Remember to sow thinly using fresh compost and vary the seed covering as instructed on the seed packet. Water only with clean tepid water.
A greenhouse and cold frames in a garden
  • Cell or plug packs have become popular for raising young plants. You can sow or transplant seedlings directly into them, and when it comes to transplanting or planting out, there is little or no root disturbance.
  • Buy starter plants of tender perennials and pot them on with a bit of frost protection. Varieties such as Argyranthemum, Diascia, Nemesia, Verbena, Bacopa and masses of others will flower all summer and represent fantastic value.

Find outdoor plants to grow this month in our March planting guide!

Lawn Prepping

I've got my lawnmower out so and so should you!
  • Where moss is a problem on lawns, apply Vitax Green-Up Mossfree or the newer biological MO Bacter control. MO Bacter has the distinct advantage of not requiring the dead moss to be raked out!
  • Mow the grass on dry days but keep those blades still high.
  • Top-dress hollow spots with proprietary turf dressing compost.
  • Roll lawns slowly to even out bumps. This is especially effective when the soil is moist.

To find out what to do with your fruit and veg this month, check out my Grow Your Own monthly piece!

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