Mid-Atlantic

March, 2014
Regional Report

Divide Perennials

Divide summer and fall-blooming perennials, such as rudbeckia, hosta, tall phlox, asters, and mums, during cool weather just as the new growth begins. Dig up the plant, discard the woody center, slice the vigorous outer growth vertically to make 4 to 6-inch diameter pieces with healthy roots attached, and replant. Keep new divisions watered until re-established.

Plant Early Vegetables

Snow peas, English garden peas, and ornamental sweet peas can be planted outside up to 6 weeks before your last frost date. Potatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and Swiss chard are also planted very early in the spring and will withstand frosts; plant lettuce and radishes right around your last expected frost date.

Prune Summer-Flowering Shrubs

Wait until after bloom time to prune spring-blooming shrubs such as forsythia, lilac, deutzia, and white-flowered spireas. Summer-bloomers such as rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), beautyberry, crape myrtle, butterfly bush, caryopteris and the summer-blooming, pink-flowered spireas can be pruned now. Prune bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla, H. serrata) after they bloom next summer.

Boost Your Peas and Beans

If you are planting beans or peas in your garden for the first time, pick up an appropriate legume inoculant to coat the seeds with before planting. The inoculant powder contains beneficial Rhizobia bacteria that enable these plants to "fix" or use nitrogen from the air, helping plants to grow and produce better. Once you've introduced the bacteria in to your soil, they may become established, but it doesn't hurt to inoculate seeds yearly.

Mow Your Lawn

Keep your lawn healthier by mowing early and often. Start mowing as soon as the grass starts growing. Mow often enough that you remove no more than one-third of the grass height each time. Mow only when the lawn is dry. Spring lawns grow fast, so be prepared to mow more often than once a week this spring.

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