Annuals and Perennials
Now is the time to be planting warm season annuals and perennials. Their root systems will have a chance to become established before the summer heat sets in, and you will not need to hand-water as long as you would if you wait to plant later. Be ready to protect your newly planted/tender plants with frost cloth just in case we get a late freeze. The average last frost in Burnet County is March 15.
Some of my favorite plants to add instant color to the winter-worn landscape or to your containers are marigolds, geraniums, gerbera daisy, purslane, portulaca, bougainvilleas, impatiens, coleus, sweet potato vine, nemesia and even succulents. Always use a good quality potting soil such as Happy Frog potting soil for planting in pots, and use compost such as Lady Bug Revitalizer Compost for planting in the ground. Incorporate fertilizer such as Happy Frog 5-8-4 Fruit and Flower at the time of planting and top-dress with fertilizer monthly during the growing season.
The following vegetables may be direct-seeded into the garden in the early part of March: English peas, beans (bush or pole) carrots, corn, radishes, lettuce, turnips, parsnips and spinach. If it is a late spring you can still plant asparagus crowns and potatoes, but they need to get into the ground ASAP.
Plant transplants of eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers after March 15th. You can always get these going early in containers, protecting them from cold weather, and have a “super-size” transplant which will produce more than those small transplants planted at the same time.
When the ground temperatures warm up late in the month it is time to plant cucumbers, squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon and southern peas.
Trees and Shrubs
Replenish mulch on beds AFTER the soil has warmed up to conserve moisture and deter weeds. Be sure to pull the mulch back from the stems and trunks of plants to prevent injury to the plant.
March is the golden month to plant Roses. Watch for Knockout roses, Drift Roses and tough roses such as ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ and ‘Belinda’s Dream’ that Texas A & M has designated as ‘Earth Kind’ roses. These roses stand up to our Texas-tough growing conditions and have proven to be disease resistant and low maintenance. Mid-month watch for our shipment of ‘Week’s Roses’, which will include favorites such as ‘Peace’ and ‘Blaze Climber’.
Watch for diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew on your roses. Avoid night time and overhead watering when possible, as water on the leaves can contribute to disease. Clean up infected leaves and consult our staff for recommendations on control.
Now is the time to do an “Irrigation Audit”. Make sure your system is working properly BEFORE the heat hits! Consult our website for auditing instructions.
Fertilize lawns with an organic form of fertilizer this month. We recommend MicroLife 6-2-4, or MicroLife Ultimate 8-4-6, which has beneficial microorganisms and mycorrhizal fungi to assist in uptake of water and nutrients. If you choose to use a non-organic fertilizer, wait until you have mowed your lawn 2-3 times before applying it, usually in mid-April. Organic nitrogen is not water-soluble and requires microorganisms to break it down to a usable form. Because of this we need to apply it sooner than chemical forms of nitrogen.
If you have not applied pre-emergent herbicide to prevent warm-season weeds from germinating, do it soon. You can also use a pre-emergent called “Preen” in your beds to prevent weed seeds from germinating, as well. Better to get a head-start before they take over your beds!
Fruits and Nuts
Fertilize established fruit trees with MicroLife 6-2-4 as soon as they begin to leaf out. Remember to apply water and fertilizer out to the “drip-line” of the tree, and not just by the trunk.
Pecans will always be later to leaf out, and if you plan to spray with zinc sulfate this year, remember to do it just as the leaves begin to appear. Avoid spraying in the heat of the day. Re-apply every 2-3 weeks until the first of June. Zinc is one of the most important applications made to pecan trees, and since timing is very important, try not to miss this window of opportunity.