Tuesday, February 28, 2017

March in the Deep South Texas Garden

Huisache, citrus, and yuccas are all blooming in the Lower Rio Grande Valley so it's high gardening season around here!   Here's my guide for March gardens tasks in deep south Texas:Rose growers prune around Valentines Day:  If you grow modern hybrid roses, cut them back to 18-24”.   Antique or “found” roses are simply pruned to fit the space; try not to remove more than 1/3 of any cane (or branch).   Do not prune spring-blooming climbing roses until after they bloom.   If course, remove any dead canes.  f
  • If adding roses to your landscape is in this years plan, this is the last best month to do that!    Any existing roses should have been pruned in February.     The main exception is spring-blooming, climbing roses.   Wait to prune them until after they bloom. 
  • If you haven't cut back your woody shrubs that have been looking leggy, do it in the next week or two.   Some, such as Firebush (Hamelin patens), Thyraxis, Shrimp Plant, Porter Weed, Turk's Cap , Carissa I cut almost to the ground.   Others, such as lantana, LIttle John bottlebrush, and Vitex,  I try trim back 1/3 of the over-tall branches.   This encourages branching making for a fuller, lusher plant. I shred most of the shrubs that I trim with my beloved electric chipper/shredder.    It makes a wonderful fresh mulch.    The one change since this photo is that everyone using it wears safety glasses!   But as you can see, it is easy enough for a supervised child to feed.   
  • Trim back or divide ornamental grasses.  
  • Cut poinsettias down to 12 inches.   After this, encourage branching by pinching out new buds after each three leaves.   
  • Continue to collect and shred leaves for ground cover and to compost.   My electric shredder is below.  It is a string shredder and works well for the cost.   But, the next time I will buy one with some metal blades.   I do love the ease of an electric appliance.  Right now, I either shred and chip where I'm going to use the leaves or mulch OR I do it over a sheet and carry it to its end home. 
  • This is a great time to apply a layer of compost and / or mulch to all your planting beds. 
  • March is a wonderful month to replant large pots with either a mass of one item or a mixture of different items.    Be sure to refresh the potting soil when your replant.   
  • Trees:   The best time to plant shade trees in the LRGV has passed.  The stress of high winds and high temperatures could  negatively effect any tree planted now.  If it is possible, it is best to wait until next October or November to add trees to your landscape.  
  • Palm Trees:  A palm tree is a monocot or grass that thrives with warm (okay, HOT) temperatures.   Now is beginning the best months to plant palm trees
  • Shrubs:  Plant all shrubs.  
  • Vegetables:  green beans, radishes, peppers,  summer squash, tomato, zucchini.    
  • Herbs:  basil, catnip, dill, fennel, lavendar, mint (in a pot to contain the roots), mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme.  
  • Flowers from seed:  ageratum, alyssum, calendula, dianthus, geraniums, kalanchoe, larkspur, snapdragons, stocks, sunflowers, vinca (periwinkle), zinnia. 
  • Flowers from transplants: dianthus, ice plant, geraniums, kalanchoes, marigold, petunias, ruellia (Mexican petunia), salvia, sunflowers, zinnia
  • Flowers from cuttings:  geranium, ice plant, kalanchoe, ruellia
  • Rose bushes
  • Vegetable Planting Date Sources:  Texas Extension Service and the Old Farmers Almanac .


  • Roses.   Include a systemic insecticide if you grow grafted roses.   Found or Antique roses are supposed to take care of themselves. 
  • Acid fertilizer for your acid loving plants like gardenias. 
  • Add some inches of high-quality compost to your vegetable beds before you plant.  
  • After trimming, I like to apply a few inches of compost around shrubs. 
  • Fertilize daylilies for bigger blooms.  

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