Upper South

March, 2004
Regional Report

Caring for Bulbs

Check mulched beds for bulbs that are having difficulty pushing through. Gently remove the mulch to allow leaves to grow and flowers to bloom. When snowdrops have finished flowering, divide overgrown clumps and replant. It is okay to move them while they are still green. Make a note of, or flag, any daffodil clumps that are no longer producing many blooms for dividing later after the foliage starts to die back. Fertilize bulbs with a balanced plant food.

Slowly Uncover Strawberries

Cautiously remove layers of the straw mulch on strawberry beds as the weather warms. Another option is to remove all of the mulch and cover plants with a "plant blanket." Gently press back into the soil any plants that have been heaved out over the winter. Prepare a new bed every two or three years.

Prune Fruit Plants

Cut away dead, diseased, or pest-infested branches as well as branches that are weak, crossing or rubbing. Remove shoots from the bases of trees. Remove older canes on gooseberries, currants, and blueberries. Remove raspberry canes that fruited last year. Cut blackberry canes back to 42 inches. Remove weeds around plants, fertilize, and mulch. For more detail, see the suggested Web sites under Web Finds.

Add Lime

In most gardens, especially ones that are mulched, lime is needed at least every three years. Test the soil pH to know exactly how much is needed. Lime is inexpensive and helps to make nutrients more readily available to plants. Use agricultural lime, not hydrated lime. A pelletized form is the easiest to use.

Start a Garden Record

Now is a good time to start a garden record, either in book form or on your computer. Besides recording the names of plants and where they were obtained, record dates of seed sowing, planting, transplanting, and harvest (where applicable). Some people like to draw a diagram with plant locations. As the year progresses, note the time of bloom, pruning, pest control, and any other activity. It's also fun to record weather data.

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