Pacific Northwest

March, 2012
Regional Report

Prune Shrubs

Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but remember that spring bloomers spent last summer producing flower buds; pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. Forsythia, quince, spirea, and other early spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after they have finished flowering. Pruning improves the shape of the plant, and opens up the center of the plant for better air circulation and sun exposure. Always start your pruning by removing all dead, decayed or broken branches.

Prune Raspberry and Blackberry Plants

Remove last year's fruiting canes from raspberries and blackberries now to make room for new fruiting canes. Everbearing raspberry plants can be cut down to ground level.

Apply Mulch

You can lightly top dress new and existing plantings with mulch at this time of year, to help hold in moisture and as a gradual addition to other soil amending. One word of caution: too much mulch will slow down the warming of the soil and delay growth. If you applied a thick layer of mulch for winter protection, now is the time to dig it into the soil or rake some of it away so the ground can warm up a little more quickly.

Fertilize Shrubs and Trees

Fertilize shrubs and trees if you forgot to do it in February. Use an acid-type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broadleaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use granular type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly.

Plant Cool Season Veggies

Cool season vegetables such as peas, radishes, lettuce, and spinach can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. Transplants of cool season vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage can also be planted as soon as soil can be worked.

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