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March Gardening tips

Clemson University March Garden and Yard tips:
Chris's corner:
If you haven't done it yet, prune summer flowering plants and trees such as crape myrtles, spireas and butterfly bushes. Do it now before you see any new growth starting!
Do a soil test if you didn't do one in the fall. This is especially important on new ground and beds.
Scale insects are a major pest (especially on the coast,) and the spring is an ideal time to battle them. A dormant oil or neem oil does an excellent job and is a very safe choice. Be sure to cover the entire plant if possible. Apply dormant oils twice in the spring if you have high scale infestations such as tea scale on camellia.
Do not fertilize warm season lawns now! Wait until the end of April or first of May so the fertilizer can be fully utilized. Waiting to fertilize will also protect tender growth against late frosts. When should you apply pre-emergent weed control? This depends. The best rule of thumb is to apply your first round of pre-emergent herbicide when the forsythia blooms. If you are not familiar with forsythia, it is one of the first things that blooms in late February to early March. It has striking yellow flowers all along the woody stems. Pre-emergence herbicides provide 60 to 75 days of residual control and require repeat applications for long season control. Be sure to read labels for precautions to prevent damage to the roots of trees and shrubs.Typically, this application of pre-emergent is going to be used to control grassy weeds such as crabgrass. The second round of pre-emergent can be applied as early as May (for sandbur control) or as late as August or September (for fall broadleaf control).  With so many products on the market, it's hard to go by brand name alone. You do not need to use a "weed and feed," or fertilizer plus weed control, in February or March. Warm season lawns DO NOT need fertilizer until around the first of May, all you are doing is fertilizing weeds and possibly doing major damage to your grass. For pre-emergent grass control and some broadleaves, products containing benefin, benefin plus trifluralin, bensulide, dithiopyr, pendamethalin, oryzalin, or prodiamine are recommended. As with all chemicals, always read the label for special weather or soil conditions. Do not overseed, however, if you apply pre-emergent.
Watch out for areas in the lawn where you see tunnels about the width of your finger that cause the ground to be soft and spongy. You may have an area where mole crickets are abundant. Use a soapy- water flush to bring them to the top for a proper identification, and then treat with an approved insecticide. Follow the label carefully to be sure the product is applied correctly to achieve best control.
Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer when new growth starts to appear. Base your fertilizer type on your soil test results.
Summer and fall flowering bulbs can be planted after the threat of freeze has passed. These bulbs can be divided as soon as eyes have sprouted. 
March is a good time to transplant small shrubs. 
If perennials need dividing, do this when new growth first appears.
Don't be too anxious to cut back plants such as oleander that received winter damage, wait until mid April.
Plant bare root rose bushes and replace mulch. Also, prune your roses early in March before buds break. Established hybrid tea roses should be thinned to three to five canes, 15 inches in height. Begin your spray program once growth begins.
Apply mulch as needed to maintain a two to three inch depth. Do not pile around tree trunk. Mulching is just one way to conserve water this summer.
Check shrubs for winter damage and prune dead and weakened wood.
Do heavy pruning on overgrown shrubs just before new growth begins. Prune using both heading-back and thinning cuts and maintain the plant's natural growth habit.
Prepare your vegetable garden when soil is not too wet to work.
Using soil test recommendations, work in fertilizer, lime and lots of organic matter.
Cool-season vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, English peas, onions, radishes and spinach can be planted in March.
Get a head start on spring by hand-pulling weeds like chickweed and henbit in your beds.
Remove the flowers of spring-blooming tulips and daffodils after they fade to prevent seed formation. Leave the foliage on the plant for at least six weeks after bloom is finished or until they turn brown. This allows the energy from the leaves to build up the bulb for next year's bloom.
Prune most spring-flowering shrubs, trees and vines after they finish blooming.
Hummingbirds are returning from Central America as we move into April. Clean, fill and reset feeders outdoors. If the birds are attracted now, you will see them all summer long if you keep feeders filled. Keeping the feeders clean and fresh is a must! Mold and bacteria growth in the nectar, as well as fermentation caused by yeasts can be harmful to your Hummingbirds!!!
Happy Spring!!!

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