Middle South

March, 2010
Regional Report

Prune Roses

Keep an eye on the calendar and the long-range weather forecast to determine the best time to prune your roses. Sometime after March 15th is usually best for the Middle South. Before grabbing the clippers, however, make sure the experts do not predict a hard freeze of temperatures below 28 degrees F in the upcoming weeks.

Divide Chrysanthemums

It's not too early to divide chrysanthemums that are growing vigorously. Dig up the entire clump and separate the plants with a sharp, clean knife or spade. Replant as soon as possible in loose, well-drained soil that has been enriched with plenty of organic matter, such as leaf mulch or compost.

Remove Weeds and Unwanted Plants

Take advantage of winter and spring's wet conditions to rid yourself of weeds and unwanted plants. In summer, when the ground is hard and dry, pulling ivy is a miserable chore, but you can make short work of the job in March and April. There is also wicked fun in ripping out weeds when the soil is suitably moist. A tool similar to a screwdriver with a flattened, forked tip, will pop any offender from the ground with ease, even wild onions and dandelions.

Start Warm-Season Annuals Indoors

Warm-weather vegetables and flowers that are best planted outdoors in mid-to-late April (or later) when the soil warms can be started now indoors. Popular plants that are suitable include hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, watermellon, dianthus, celosia, zinnia, impatiens, rudbeckia, and salvia.

Prune Butterfly Bushes

If you haven't already pruned your butterfly bushes, do so now, as they bloom on new growth. Cut back a newly planted buddleia by removing weak growth and shortening the main stems to about 18-inches tall, establishing a framework for the shrub. For older plants, cut the prior year's growth to a level that is one or two branching pairs above the original framework.

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