March 2018 Maintenace Tips
MARCH – 8 Steps to Jump Start Your Landscape
- Assess: the winter damage and spring needs. Look for shrub winter dieback that will need pruning. Make a wish list of replacement and additional plants.
- Replant: any perennials that have heaved out of the ground during the winter months.
- Clean-up: debris, leaves, etc. that is piled up in areas around bulbs and perennials. Try to do this on a cloudy day so that tender, pale growth is not burned.
- Rake: lawn areas, removing leaves, twigs, debris and matted grass.
- Cut back: ornamental grasses and other perennials that were left up for winter interest before new growth begins. Hints: Tie up large bunches of ornamental grass before cutting them to make it easier and more time efficient! Cut back leaving 2-4” of the base. Electric hedge shears work well for cutting large ornamental grasses…burning is dangerous!
- Weed: It’s very easy to pull weeds when the ground is wet in the early spring.
- Fruit trees should be pruned while dormant.
- Spring blooming plants (Forsythia, Rhododendron, Weigela, and Lilac) should be pruned immediately AFTER flowering.
- Summer flowering shrubs should be pruned before they leaf out.
- Panicle Hydrangeas (Limelight, Quick Fire, Little Lime, Vanilla Strawberry, Strawberry Sundae, Bobo, etc.) can be cut back by one third to one half. For best results, make a 45 degree cut approximately ¼ inch above a healthy bud. Choose a bud that’s angled away from center of the plant to help avoid crossing, crowded branches.
- Bigleaf (macrophylla) Hydrangeas (Bloomstruck, Endless Summer, Twist & Shout, Blushing Bride, etc.) depend on twig dieback. If there is no dieback, just prune out dead or lightly prune to shape. If there is a lot of twig dieback, stems can be cut down to live tissue or 3-4” above the ground.
- Beautyberry may be cut back to approximately 6-8 inches tall.
- Most Spireas can be cut back to a few inches. (Bridal Wreath is an exception to this rule.)
- Shrub Roses (Double Knockout, Knockout, Drift, Easy Elegance, etc.) should be pruned when the Forsythia blooms. For best results, make a 45 degree cut above a healthy (green) bud, angled away from center of plant. Newly planted roses can be cut back to 6-10” while established larger plants can be cut by on half to two thirds.
- Plants that are prized for their fruit (Viburnum, Crabapple, Hawthorn) should be pruned after the fruit drops.
- Prune Oaks and Elms while dormant-November thru March
Shop at Niemeyer’s: Check out our pruning tools (Felco Pruners & Zenport Snips) and pick up a new pair of gardening gloves. We use all the products we sell. Make your shopping list for bulk materials and colorful plant additions