March Tips & Tasks

Grass seedlings

  • Late winter-early spring is considered the second-best time to seed your lawn make repairs, or cover bare areas. The best time is late August through mid-October. Seeding should be completed by late April.
  • Begin to fertilize houseplants again. The increase in natural light will prompt them to grow.
  • This is a good time to repot and divide houseplants. Use lightweight, well-drained soilless potting mixes that contain ingredients such as peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.
  • Now is a good time to prune roses. Roses typically experience some winter kill. To determine whether or not a branch is alive, simply scrape the bark with a sharp knife and look for green tissue. If it is brown, prune off the cane.

Monthly Tips for March

Lawn

  • Late winter-early spring is considered the second-best time (the best time is late August through mid-October) to seed your lawn make repairs, or to cover bare areas. Read (PDF) HG 102, Lawn Establishment, Renovation and Overseeding.
  • Soil testing can be done now.  For grass keep the soil pH in the 6.0 – 7.0 range to help maintain, vigorously growing healthy turf. Although tall fescue is a little more forgiving of acidic soil, it will still grow much better at the proper pH. Not sure how to take a soil sample? Watch our video on collecting a soil sample!

Ornamentals

  • If you still have unplanted bulbs from last fall, plant them this month. Inspect them carefully and only plant the best quality. Many may be in bad condition and not worth planting. If they were stored where it was warm, they likely will not flower this year but once getting established should do well next year.
  • Groundcovers are arriving in local nursery and garden centers this month. They are a great alternative to grass where grass won’t grow, where you have heavy shade or tree root problems and on steep slopes.
  • Remember not to set out tender annuals (impatiens, marigolds, petunias, salvia, etc) until after the last frost date. This date varies across the state from late April on the Lower Eastern Shore to Late May in Western Maryland. Refer to our Spring frost/freeze table.

Vegetables

  • Potatoes, onion sets, onion seedlings and peas can be planted as soon as the soil can be lightly worked. Chinese cabbage, leeks, beets, kale, mustard, and turnips can also be planted now. Learn more about these spring crops.
  • Buy some floating row cover material to protect crops from pests and promote early growth. A floating row cover (PDF GE004 Floating Row Cover) is a lightweight spun fabric that permits light and water to enter, traps the soils natural heat and keeps out many pest insects.
  • Avoid the temptation to turn over or dig into wet soil. Tilling wet soil can cause it to become cloddy and brick hard when it dries out. How do you know when your soil can be turned or tilled? One test is to form a clump of your soil into a ball. Bounce it up and down in your hand a few times. If it breaks apart easily it’s probably OK to dig!

More tips from the Home & Garden Information Center

The Home & Garden Information Center’s horticulturists are available year-round to answer your plant and pest questions. In addition to gardening questions, we cover houseplants, indoor pests, and more. Send your questions and photos to Ask an Expert!

Lawn and Garden Tips for March

Seeds

Ornamental Plants

  • Starting Seeds Indoors – Many types of annual flower plants can be started indoors this month. Generally, most are started 5-6 weeks before they are planted outdoors.
  • Spring bulbs are emerging and some are even flowering at this time. Exposed leaves may be burned later by very cold temperatures but the spring flower display will not be adversely affected.
  • Groundcovers are arriving in local nursery and garden centers this month. They are a great alternative to grass where grass won’t grow, where you have heavy shade or tree root problems and on steep slopes.

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