This article appeared in the March 2002 issue of Horticulture Update,
edited by Dr. William C. Welch, and produced by Extension Horticulture,
Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas.

Garden Checklist for March, 2002

By Dr. William C. Welch, Landscape Horticulturist
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

  • Prepare beds for planting warm-season flowers and vegetables. For every 100 square feet of bed area, work in a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic material such as compost, pine bark, or sphagnum peat moss. Add 4 to 5 pounds of balanced fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area, and till or spade to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.

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  • Select and order caladium tubers as well as geranium and coleus plants for late April and early May planting. Do not plant caladiums until soil temperature reaches 70 degrees F.

  • As camellia and azalea plants finish blooming, fertilize them with 3 pounds of azalea-camellia fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area.

  • Check mulch on azalea and camellia plantings, and add more where needed. Consider using pine needles, pine bark, or similar organic materials.

  • Beware of closeout sales on bare-root trees and shrubs. The chance of survival is rather low on bare-root plants this late in the season. Best bets for now are container-grown or balled-and-burlapped plants.

  • Remember that many trees and shrubs are damaged or killed each year by the careless application of weed killers, including those found in mixes of fertilizers and weed killers. Always read and follow label directions very carefully. Weeds in a lawn usually indicate a poor lawn-management program, and can usually be crowded out in a healthy turf.

  • Start hanging baskets of petunias and other annuals for another dimension in landscape color.

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  • Freeze-damaged beds of Asiatic jasmine ground cover should be sheared back just as new growth starts, to encourage new growth from the base.

  • For early color in the landscape, try some of the following annuals as transplants: ageratums, cockscombs, coreopsis, cosmos, cleomes, marigolds, nasturtiums, petunias, phlox, portulacas, salvias, sweet alyssums, sunflowers, and zinnias.

  • Divide existing clumps of fall-blooming perennials, such as chrysanthemums, autumn asters, Mexican marigold-mint, physostegia (obedient plant) and Mexican Bush-Sage (Salvia leucantha).