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March Gardening Specifics . . . . . And General March Care Tips

March 09, 1990|Clipboard researched by Elena Brunet, Dallas M. Jackson and Janice L. Jones / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

Now is the time to prune camellias and azaleas, after they have finished blooming. Prune for shape and take out dead wood.

* Prune all cane-type and shrub-like begonias. Remove about two-thirds of the plant and cut back lightly on watering until plant begins to leaf out.

* Clean up and lightly cut back all ivy and zonal geraniums to promote new, compact growth.

* Apply a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote 14-14-14 to all outdoor container plants. Garden pests such as aphids, white fly and slugs begin to show up now. Take appropriate control measures and check roses for powdery mildew and black spot. Spray with fungicide if needed.

* March is the time to plant hybrid lilies.

* If part of your vegetable garden doesn't receive full sun all day, in those areas plant carrots, radishes, chives, beets or lettuce because they're grown for their roots or foliage.

* March is a good month to plant citrus of all kinds: oranges, lemons, limes or grapefruit. If space is limited, try a dwarf citrus tree in a container on the patio.

* Consider planting vegetables in containers like hanging baskets or hanging wooden barrels.

* March is a good time to plant a new lawn. Conditioning the soil first can mean tremendous savings in the future. Adding humus helps release nutrients and helps the soil hold water, air and food. If soil is sandy, humus keeps food and water from rushing past the roots. Work the humus into the soil along with a starter fertilizer. Rake and roll the soil several times, taking care not to compact.

* Snails can live up to 20 years, and breed faster than rabbits. Keep them from taking over your garden by using one of the extremely effective baits available.

* Some come in liquid spray form, others in pellets or granules. Be careful when using the poisonous baits around small children or pets.

* When planting new azaleas, select varieties to ensure proper color and growth characteristics for your garden. Plant in shaded or semi-shaded areas in well-draining soil on the acidic side. Take care not to plant deeper than the plant was in its original nursery container, and preferably on a mound of soil. Keep moist, but not overly wet. Specially-formulated fertilizers are available.

* Brighten borders with annuals. Use tall larkspurs and giant snapdragons as background for stock, petunias, alyssum and dwarf marigolds. Experiment by combining shrubs and perennials.

* It's feeding time for lawns, shrubs and roses. Before fertilizing a lawn, try spiking or aerating to improve water penetration. Feed roses and flowering shrubs at one-to-two-week intervals. Scatter one-half cup or so of a well-balanced fertilizer in a basin around each plant and work in with a hand trowel or fork.

Source: Susan Brozowski, Sherman Library and Gardens

Source: California Assn. of Nurserymen

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