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March Ramble: Get Excited For Gardening, But Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself

With spring officially less than two weeks away you may be feeling a sense of panic about all the gardening that has to be done. Ah, but just think of being outdoors in the sun with the attendant joys of workable soil and dirt under your nails. Not just yet. This week, some tips and suggestions to make it a bit easier and logical. A March ramble.

If you have a south-facing balcony or patio you’ve certainly noticed that it warms up there sooner than anywhere else. This results in plants close to the south walls flowering earlier than on other places on the property, with snowdrops already done and crocus popping as well. Nice time to get your houseplants out and into the sun for a few hours? Don’t do it

Just like us, plants get sunburned and seriously damaged from sun exposure after a winter indoors, even in a sunny window. There is no SPF 50 sunscreen you can put on them, and a sudden exposure to full sun outdoors will leave the leaves burned and damaged. Houseplants that will eventually go outdoors need a gradual reintroduction to the sun. Make these outside visits short ones, minutes not hours, and for longer periods drape them with something like Remay to give them protection.

Last chance to do pruning on fruit trees and be sure you’ve made arrangements for dormant oil applications. Dormant oil should go on fruit trees and rose canes. There are many other trees and shrubs that benefit from the covering that the oil puts on insect eggs and scale. Two other plants that will benefit are the Magnolias and lilacs, which tend to have scale issues. Your arborist is able to reference GDDs (Grower Degree Days) to know the perfect time to do this spraying. It should never be done when it will go below freezing at night, and it should be over 40 degrees during the day, which should be sunny and bright.

Continue reading Andrew Messinger's March Ramble here.

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October 28, 2023

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