Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

March, 2005
Regional Report

Fertilize Bulbs

As the spring-flowering bulbs bloom and grow, feed them with either a complete water-soluble fertilizer, such as 20-20-20, or use cottonseed meal applied at the rate of 5 pounds per 100 square feet of bed area. Once the flowers have faded, the foliage is producing the food for next year's flowers that are developing. Feeding bulbs now will ensure lots of flowers in the future. Leave the foliage until it turns yellow, then cut it off.

Get a Head Start on Weeds in the Lawn

If the ground is dry enough, do an early mowing to improve its looks, as well as to remove fallen leaves. After mowing, inspect the lawn for weeds or other damage. Decide if weed control is necessary. If so, purchase a pre-emergent herbicide, such as the non-toxic corn gluten types. These also supply nitrogen to the soil.

Plant Pansies

Pansies and their smaller cousins, violas, are widely available now. Plant them in an area where they'll be easily seen and enjoyed. They also grow well in containers. To keep them blooming for the longest period, remove withered and cold-damaged blooms regularly. When night temperatures remain above 40 degrees F, feed pansies and violas with a water-soluble fertilizer, such as 20-20-20, every two weeks to keep plants growing and blooming.

Raise Raspberries

Raspberries are expensive to buy because they're so fragile, but they're easy to grow. Prepare a bed 3 feet wide, working in 1 cup of 10-10-10 per 10 feet of row, and set plants about 2 feet apart in a row down the center of the bed. Mulch after planting. A simple way to support the plants is by setting 1x2 stakes at the edge of the bed about 8 feet apart and stringing several rows of twine between each stake. With everbearing raspberries, you'll get a small fall crop the first year.

Use Antidessicant Spray

Although antidessicant sprays are usually thought of for protecting broad-leaved evergreens in winter, they also are useful when transplanting. If you're planting evergreen or leafed-out trees and shrubs this spring, especially if the weather is warm and dry, spray the foliage with an antidessicant spray. This will help keep the foliage from drying out while the roots are getting established.


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