Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2001
Regional Report

Sow Hardy Flowers

Sow hardy flower seeds such as larkspur, sweet peas, bachelor buttons, and poppies now. Sprinkle the seeds on moist soil or even on melting snow. They will settle in and germinate as soon as the sun warms the soil slightly.

Cut Back Ornamental Grasses

Cut back ornamental grasses left standing for winter interest within a few inches of the ground as soon as narcissus begin to emerge. If you cut any later than that, you may nip the newly emerging shoots and damage the appearance of the grass for the summer.

Transplant Shrubs and Trees

Dig trees and shrubs for transplanting as soon as the soil can be worked and before the buds break. Dig the plants to create a soil ball as large as you can handle and replant them as soon as possible in a hole twice as wide as the soil ball. Water well.

Spray Dormant Oil

Spray branches and trunks of fruit and ornamental trees with dormant oil if scales or other insects were a problem last year. Wait until temperatures are above 40oF with no chance of freezing for 24 hours. Spray on a calm day to avoid drift.

Fertilize Asparagus

Weed asparagus beds and fertilize asparagus and rhubarb plants with a thin layer of compost or composted manure. Since shoots are emerging soon, side-dress plants carefully to avoid getting fertilizer in the crowns, which will burn them.

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