Middle South

March, 2012
Regional Report

Keep Seed Packages

Maybe it sounds obvious, but you should always keep seed packages, even when you have read them carefully and planted the seeds they contained. Instructions often include additional information which may be useful later, such as the exact name (for reordering), thinning recommendations, and harvest guidelines.

Time Rose Pruning with Care

Because of the warmer than usual winter, gardeners are chomping at the bit to prune roses. To be safe, look at the long-range forecast in the third or fourth week of March. If you don't find any nights dipping below 28 degrees (a hard freeze) in the next several weeks, it's okay to begin.

Remove Daffodil Blooms

As daffodil blooms begin to fade, remove the flowers stems and all. Doing so will prevent seed production, allowing all the energy gathered by the foliage to be sent to the bulb, resulting in stronger plants and better blooms in the future.

Select Camellias and Other Early Bloomers

Despite encouragement to plant trees and shrubs in autumn, it's understandable that gardeners like to select camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other early bloomers in spring when they can see the size, color, and form of the flower. That's okay. Just plant these woodies as soon as possible, add 2 to 3 inches of mulch, and pay close attention to moisture during the growing season, especially when rain is lacking. Don't fertilize, however, until next year.

Prune for Sturdy Frame on Buddleias

Cut back your butterfly bush this month by shortening the stems to about 18-inches tall, and then remove any weak growth below this height. This will provide a strong framework to support the growth of new branches. In future years, cut back to just one or two pairs of buds above this sturdy support structure.

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