In like a lion: USU Extension offers March checklist for gardening season

File photo by Unsplash, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With March in full swing, Utah is officially heading into gardening season.

The Utah State University Extension office has assembled several tips to help you prepare. Included are links with additional information from the USU Extension Gardeners Almanac.

You can also consider taking an online gardening course. Courses cover everything from container vegetable gardening and creating the perfect soil, to planting trees and controlling pests. Courses are geared to both beginning and professional gardeners. Use the code “Grow5” at checkout to get $5 off.

And if you’re unsure what to do with your trees, you can also attend a USU Extension-sponsored pruning demonstration near you. Check with your local county extension office for information.

Yard and garden tips

  • Plant seeds for cool season vegetables (peas, lettuce, radishes) as soon as garden soil is workable.
  • Consider planting peas in the garden every 2-3 weeks (until early May) to extend the harvest.
  • If it didn’t happen in the fall, add organic matter to the vegetable garden to help build and amend the soil. Avoid compacted soil by not tilling when garden soil is wet or saturated.
  • Consider backyard composting or vermiculture (composting with worms).
  • If storing bulbs, check their condition to ensure that they are firm, and remove any that are soft or rotten. Fertilize spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, fritillaria and crocus.
  • If locally available, plant bare root trees and shrubs, and keep the exposed roots moist until planted.
  • Remove protective trunk wrap and burlap from trees in the spring after snow has melted.
  • Plant cold-hardy pansies and primrose for spots of color.
  • Prune berries and fruit trees such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums and apricots.
  • Apply horticulture oils at bud break (delayed dormant) in fruit trees to control overwintering insect pests.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides in late March to mid-April to control annual weeds such as crabgrass and spurge in your lawn.
  • Sharpen mower blades to prepare for the season. Set mower height at 2 1/2 to 3 inches, and mow at this height for the summer.
  • Consider including a native fruiting species in the landscape, such as chokecherryelderberryserviceberry or currant.
  • Explore more gardening tips on Extension’s newly designed yard and garden website.

Pests and Problems:

  • Download the Utah Home Orchard Pest Management Guide for tips and information.
  • Be aware of damping-off, a fungal disease that affects new seedlings.
  • Take control measures at bud break for anthracnose and aspen leaf spot. Both may become prevalent during cool, wet springs.
  • Control rust mites in apple and pear trees after leaves have emerged and expanded to 1/2 inch.
  • Apply dormant oil for pears when leaf buds swell. This smothers eggs of the pear psylla that are laid on buds by overwintering adults.
  • Consider taking soil samples to determine fertilizer needs.
  • Click here to subscribe to the Utah Pests IPM Advisories for timely tips on controlling pests in your yard and garden.

Written by Julene Reese, USU Extension.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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