Pacific Northwest

March, 2004
Regional Report

Cut Back Ornamental Grasses

Cut back ornamental grasses to within a few inches of the ground this month. If you cut any later in the season, you may nip the newly emerging shoots and damage the appearance of the grass for the summer.

Fertilize Outdoor Plants

Early spring as plants begin to emerge is a great time to fertilize. Trees, shrubs, perennials, and small fruits will all benefit from a side dressing of compost, composted manure, or commercial fertilizer. To prevent burning, be careful not to get the fertilizer on the foliage of your newly emerging perennials.

Pot Up Summer-Flowering Bulbs

You can pot up caladiums, cannas, and tuberous begonias for summer bloom this month. Using new potting mix, plant the bulbs in plastic containers. Water well after planting, and put the pots in a warm, bright area. Then, when danger of frost has passed, the pots can be put directly into decorative planters outdoors.

Transplant Trees and Shrubs

As soon as the soil can be worked, and before the buds break, dig trees and shrubs for transplanting. Dig carefully to create a soil ball as large as you can handle. Replant them as soon as possible in a hole twice as wide as the soil ball. Be sure to water them in well.

Install Floating Row Covers

Floating row covers are effective barriers against early-season pests, as long as you get them in place as soon as you've finished sowing your seeds or transplanting your seedlings. Anchor them to the ground with metal staples fashioned out of old coat hangers.

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