Bailey Arboretum Horticultural Notes: March 2015

March days are “when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” Charles Dickens

Spring arrives 3/20/2015. Will we be removing the protective winter cover by then?

March Melts into April. Each day lengthens and the temperature will increase with typically only 10% of the days below freezing. Day light saving time March 8, 2015.

Winter Weather Effects: The long lasting snow cover acted as a blanket protecting our perennials. Freezing and thawing is beneficial as it breaks up compacted soil. The extensive cold temperatures eradicated some harmful insects.

Alert: The Southern Pine Beetle has appeared on the North Shore in our area. This beetle infests and kills pine trees in 2-4 months as it tunnels through. Inspect your pine trees for popcorn shaped clumps of resin. Arborists can recommend solutions.

Insecticide Bans: Several municipalities in the Mid Atlantic region are contemplating the banning of all pesticides [largely supported by organic product manufacturers] Our local horticulturists stress this is an overreaction. Similar bans in Canada and Europe are already being rescinded. Think vaccination debate (see above).

Trees: This is the month to transplant trees and shrubs and to plant hedges. Check fall planted stock and firm up soil from possible upheavals.

Pruning: Stool (cut down to ground) grasses, Buddleia, Salix. Prune roses before leafing. Prune remaining fruit trees. Thin bramble berry bushes

Bulbs: After the snowdrops and aconites bloom, divide and replant for next year. Fertilize bulbs as they emerge. Purchase pots of forced bulbs to cheer up the house.

Plant Early Crops: Midmonth plant peas and sweet peas, radishes, lettuce.

Fountains, Ponds and Planters: Hopefully we can clean out and start the fountains this month? Planters should be cleared of winter debris. A few forced branches, forsythia? cherry? make a lovely display in outdoor pots.

Supports and Ties: Don’t let new growth get ahead and old growth falter, check supports and ties throughout your garden.

Weeds: At last something green, but is it a weed? Get them early before they take over.

International Year of Soil: March is agricultural soil month. Check your soil for growing crops, not the same as for flowers, shrubs etc. Read planting information.