March Gardening Chores

March is a major gardening month in our area.  The weather stabilizes and by the end of the month it is warm enough to consider planting warm season plants.  The last average freeze date occurs early to mid-month.  

Birds and Wildlife

  • Black chin, ruby-throats and rufous hummingbirds will show up sometime during the month.  
  • Thistle or hulled sunflower seeds attract the goldfinch flocks that linger until May.  
  • Purple martins will be settling in this month.  


  • You can cut tulip foliage down as soon as it is unattractive.  
  • Fall-planted pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, stocks, alyssum and larkspur are spectacular this month.  
  • If the weather is warm after the 15th, consider moving the bougainvillea, plumeria, and hibiscus on to the patio. 
  • Keep up the spray regimen with roses. Be sure to fertilize the roses this month
  • Fertilize the cool-season flowers one more time early this month. 
  • Plant hibiscus, bougainvillea, mandevilla and allemanda vines in containers for tropical landscape color.
  • Fertilize established perennials this month.   

Fruits and Nuts

  • You can spray fungicides while the trees are in bloom, but not insecticides.  
  • When peaches are the size of a dime, thin them to one fruit every 6-8 inches of stem.  
  • You can still plant the thornless Navajo blackberry.


  • Be sure to fertilize with an orchid-fertilizer every time you water and place them in a bright location.
  • March is a good time to divide and transplant mums, ajuga, liriope, daylily and Shasta daisy.

Shade Trees and Shrubs

  • Weed-and-feed type fertilizers are notorious for killing young shade trees.   
  • Paint all wounds on oak trees immediately.  
  • If you see army worms or leaf rollers on your oak trees, apply Bt, Spinosad, or Malathion.  
  • Finish any pruning except for the early bloomers such as climbing roses, mountain laurel and ornamental fruits.   
  • Check mountain laurels for worms.  Use Bt or Spinosad to control them.

Turf Grass

  • It’s still too early to fertilize the lawn.   
  • March is a good month for aeration and adding a half-inch of compost as a soil dressing.  
  • Mow your Asiatic jasmine at the highest level on your mower to encourage a new growth of leaves. 
  • You may start mowing grass this month.
  • Check out the automatic lawn sprinkler system.  
  • Establish or renovate the lawn as needed. 


  • Put the containerized tomatoes in the ground towards the end of the month.   
  • March is a month to plant the gardener’s favorite vegetables. 
  • Protect tender transplants and seedlings with Grow-Web.

Seasonal Gardening Checklist Prepared by Tom Harris, Ph.D., Honorary BCMG