Garden Update – March

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Plants in Flower

Saucer Magnolia, Bradford Pear, Flowering Cherry, Forsythia, Star Magnolia, Breath-of-Spring (Winter Honeysuckle), Spirea, Flowering Quince, Carolina Jessamine, Periwinkle, Thrift, Violets, Crocus, Daffodil, Hyacinths, and Tulips

redbud blossoms

What to Fertilize

  • Fertilize shrubs and important shade trees.
  • Fertilize asparagus beds early in March before spear growth begins.
  • Fertilize turfgrass.
  • Farm Ponds should be fertilized starting this month and continuing through October.
  • Before planting your vegetables, fertilize your garden as recommended by your soil test results.
  • Apply the recommended amount of lime if this was not done in the fall.

What to Plant

  • Plant your small fruit plants, grapevines, and fruit trees before the buds break. March is a good month to transplant trees and shrubs.
  • New shrubs and ground covers can be planted the entire month of March. Be sure to follow your planting plan.
  • Plant seeds of the following perennials: columbine, hollyhock, coreopsis, daisy, and phlox. Sweet William can also be planted this month. New rose bushes can be planted this month.
  • Plants of broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower should be set out in the garden in mid-March. The following vegetables can be planted this month: beets, carrots, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, Swiss chard, turnips, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Start any annual flowers or warm-season vegetables inside your home that are not commercially available in early March.
  • Nationally, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April. However, most states observe a separate Arbor Day on a date of their choosing in accordance with the best tree-planting times. In North Carolina, we celebrate Arbor on the first Friday following March 15. Plant a tree whose shade you do not plan on sitting under…

azalea formosa flower

What to Prune

  • Finish pruning fruit trees.
  • Prune spring-flowering plants like breath-of-spring (Winter Honeysuckle) and flowering quince after the flowers fade.
  • Prune roses late in March.
  • Prune shrubs like abelia, mahonia, and nandina this month if needed.
  • Pick off faded flowers of pansy and daffodil.
  • Pansies will flower longer if old flowers are removed.

Pest Outlook

  • Scout the following landscape shrubs for the following insect pests: euonymus-scale, juniper-spruce spider mites, rhododendron borer, Hemlock Woolly Adelgids in early March. If observed treat with a recommended insecticide. Contact your local Extension office for the latest recommendations.
  • Kudzu bugs appear this month.
  • Begin organic pest control programs on tree fruits

azalea stem borer Azalea stem borer

Lawn Care

  • Cool-season lawns may be fertilized with 10-10-10 fertilizer at 4 pounds per 1000 square feet if not done in February.
  • Apply crabgrass preemergent herbicides to your lawn early this month to help control crabgrass in the turf. Generally wait to apply when Forsythia is in full bloom.
  • Mow your tall fescue lawn as needed.
  • Seed bare spots in the lawn with tall fescue and bluegrass if not done in September.


  • Continue to divide perennials like daylily, Shasta daisy, purple coneflower, and rudbeckia this month.

Specific Chores

  • Check all garden equipment, lawnmowers, tillers, hedge trimmers, tools, hoses, and sprayers to see if they are in good working order before they are needed.
  • Prune away last season’s growth on older perennial plantings, like peony, hollyhock, and phlox.fescue lawn

Written By

Steve Pettis, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionSteve Pettis, Jr.Extension Agent, Agriculture - Consumer and Commercial Horticulture Call Steve Email Steve N.C. Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center
Updated on Mar 27, 2023
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