March is the time to get busy in your yard! When you can go outside without a jacket for a few days, it’s the perfect signal to dust off the gardening gloves and pruners.
Here’s my advice on what to do sooner than later.
Prune your shrubs, if needed. It’s important to do any pruning before the leaves emerge. If you live along Colorado’s Front Range, that means you need to finish pruning your shrubs by March 30, if not sooner. Here’s a good article from Colorado State University Extension on the topic.
Cut back your ornamental grasses. The new growth is really starting to grow now that the weather has warmed up. If you wait too long to cut them back, the new growth will intermingle with the old stems and you’ll have trouble cutting them back later. Here’s a video where I demonstrate my approach to cutting back ornamental grasses.
Cut back any perennial flowers. Although it can be confusing, the main goal is to cut off as much of the brown material as possible without cutting off the green. Here’s a video on this subject that may give you a bit more confidence for this task.
In areas with wood chip or shredded wood mulch, add enough additional mulch to bring the layer to 4 inches thick. I love to add more mulch in spring after everything has been cut back. It’s so much easier to maneuver around the plants than during the summer or fall when they’re bigger.
Give your lawn a little water. It’s growing new roots right now, and they need moist soil to form properly. Here’s a video on how to winter water your lawn.
Although you may have a lot of enthusiasm right now, there are a few things that should wait until later.
Fertilizing the lawn. Most Colorado homeowners should wait to fertilize their lawn. Here’s a post I wrote to explain why, plus a short quiz to see if you might be the exception.
Planting. It’s too early to plant almost everything. I have to admit I felt a wave of spring fever this morning. I went to Lowe’s and what did I see by the front doors? Trees for sale! But not dormant trees; these trees were just leafing out!
It’s tempting to embrace the flush of spring, but not a good idea to do that through planting. I can guarantee we are going to get another frost. Newly-planted plants usually get damaged or killed by frosts. Save your money and energy and plant later.
It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful weekend. So get out there and give your yard some proactive love. You can post a question if you need advice on a specific topic.