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Snowdrops spread fairly quickly on their own, but if you want to speed the process or move some to another part of your garde, you can divide them after the flowers have faded and while the leaves are still green. Gently dig up a clump, and even more gently separate the offshoots from the main bulb. Replant 3-4 inches deep in well-draining soil, space them 2-3 inches apart. A top-dressing of Bulb Tone will help speed them on their way.
As the weather begins to warm up, you may feel the urge to get out into ht garden. Knowing what not to do at this time of year is about as important as knowing what you can or should do. For example, the copious amounts of rain we've had this winter have probably left parts - maybe all - of your garden pretty soggy. Resist the urge to walk on or dig up planting beds when they're wet! Each footstep compacts the soil and makes drainage worse.
Now's a good time to clean up your yard - remove downed twigs and branches, and rake up any leaves left on the lawn or caught in ground cover or on flower beds.
Our unusually mild and wet winter may not have been as good for your plants as you thought. While the mild temperatures probably helped some marginally hardy plants to survive and even to stay green, we also expect some casualties. Keep this in mind as your garden begins to wake up.
The rains have probably rotted out roots of some perennials and shrubs - especially those planted last year and any that are particularly sensitive to having wet feet. Some bulbs may have rotted, too. Watch carefully for signs of life - but don't be too surprised if you lose some things. If you need to replant, work in plenty of organic matter first. We have a number of products that will help improve drainage.
Mild temperatures have created a longer growing season for the plants that have survived. They may need additional applications of fertilizer.
Watch carefully for insect and slug damage. In the warmer parts of our area, for example, slugs never settled in for their long winters nap, and damage is already visible on perennials that didn't die back over the winter. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or chemical slug controls around plants if you notice damage. Insects, too, may be up and feeding early.
Now is a good time to lime your lawn if it needs it. If you're not sure, bring in a quart sized jar of soil, and we'll test it for you and let you know how much lime to apply.
Fall is the best time to seed lawns, but if you have thin or bare spots that won't wait til then, March is the next best time. After that, it will be getting too warm for the grass to germinate and get well established before the heat of summer sets in.
Avoid the rush get lawnmower maintenance done early, before you need to start mowing the lawn. Buy fuel for your lawnmower and get the blades sharpened.
Pre-emergent weedkillers get to weeds before they have a chance to get established. If you've had problems with crabgrass or other weeds in the past, apply pre- emergents now. We recommend Portrait for broadleaf weeds and Barricade for crabgrass.
Shrubs and Trees
Before your perennials come up and shrubs and trees start leafing out, take one last look at your yard to assess winter interest. If you're bored by what you see, consider adding some plants with interesting bark, late winter flowering or colorful winter berries. Coral Bark Maples, Witchhazels and Nandinas are a few of the plants we offer that can add year-round interest to you garden.
Remove any broken tree or shrub branches. Don't worry about sap bleeding form pruning cuts on elm, maple, dogwood, beech, walnut, birch and redbud. This bleeding won't hurt the tree.
Hemlocks with little white cottony masses on them are infested with wooly adelgid, a sucking insect that can decimate the tree. Spray the tree thoroughly with horticultural oil spray to suffocate them. Pick a day when the temperature will stay above freezing for 24 hours after you spray.
Late this month, prune shrubs that bloom on new wood, such as buddleias, PG hydrangeas, spireas and caryopteris. These are generally plants that bloom in summer, but please ask us if you're not sure about a specific shrub.
Prune crape myrtles toward the end of the month.
As long as the ground isn't too soggy - or frozen - March is a great time to plant shrubs and trees. Planting in early spring gives the plants a chance to get their roots established before the summer heat kicks in.
Annuals and Perennials
Spring bulbs are emerging due to our mild wet weather. Leaves may be burned by very cold temperatures, but flowers should be OK.
If you're a new homeowner (or if, somehow, you didn't get around to labeling all your bulbs when you planted them) now's a good time to map out or label those bulbs. Take inventory of what's blooming when, and make notes of spring flowering bulbs you'd like to add and where. You may think you'll remember this in the fall when it's time to choose and plant bulbs, but trust us, you won't.
Like most people, they can be divided into two categories: those that like cool weather and those that like heat. Plant cold weather vegetables such as mustard greens, spinach, lettuce, and peas this month. These are most often planted by seeding directly into the garden. Broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflower are best started early in the protected environment of a greenhouse and transplanted out in March or April.