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13 Garden Chores to Set Your Spring Garden Up for Success

Smart gardening in March can set the tone for a successful spring garden. Use this helpful list of March gardening chores to stay on track this season.

spring blooms

Caring for annuals and perennials

1. Cut back perennials

Cut back to the ground any of your perennials and ornamental grasses that you left up for winter interest. Using your foot, gently press down on any perennials that have been pushed up by the ground freezing and thawing.

2. Check on your spring flowering bulbs.

Remove any plant debris that may be covering them. If any of your bulbs are above ground because they were pulled up by squirrels or soil heaving, use your garden trowel to slip them back into the soil.

3. Clean all of your seed starting pots, trays and cells.

Prepare them for starting warm season annuals and vegetables. Remember to start them 6-8 weeks before your last frost date.

4. Plant pansies and violas.

It may seem early, but this will give your early spring garden some much needed color interest.

Fruiting Tree

Tree and shrub care

5. Prepare your tools

Clean and sharpen all of your pruning tools before you begin tree and shrub care.

6. Plant fall trees, if possible.

If you missed planting any of your fall trees and shrubs, now is the time to plant them before the buds swell if the soil isn’t frozen.

7. Prune fruit trees on a dry day before the buds break.

Cut away any sucker growth, water sprouts and any branches that may be dead or diseased. Any branches that rub together, or grow toward the center of the tree should be pruned.

8. Prune roses

Prune roses of dead or diseased canes, and sprayed for black spot.

Kale

Fruit, vegetable and herb care

9. Prune raspberry bushes.

Everbearing fruit bushes should not be pruned, but raspberry bushes can be pruned now.

10. Sow root vegetables.

When the soil temperatures are consistently in the 50s, it’s time to direct sow cool-season vegetables. Root crops like beets, radishes, carrots, parsnips and turnips can be sown now. Leaf crops like Swiss chard, spinach, mesclun mix, kale, mustard and collard greens can be sown now, too.

Indoor plant care

11. Repot indoor plants.

March is a good time to re-pot houseplants. Start your houseplant fertilizer schedule with low-dose fertilizer.

12. Propogate.

Take cuttings and propagate any annuals you successfully overwintered indoors.

13. Give summer flowers a head start.

You can also plant summer-blooming bulbs indoors in pots to give them a head start before they get planted in the garden. If necessary, place your cuttings and summer bulbs under lights to ensure they grow strong and healthy.

These March gardening chores may seem like a lot of work to get accomplished in just one month, but setting aside time for the cleaning, pruning, planting and seed starting will ensure you don’t start the beginning of the garden season behind schedule.

In particular, make sure you focus on starting your cool-season garden crops so you can enjoy some fresh food from the garden. And treat yourself and your garden to some early spring color by planting pansies and violas. These annuals are very tough and can withstand the cold and rains of the early spring and keep blooming.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and was updated in March 2018.

12 Comments

Carol Beaulieu

I have always enjoyed gardening. Now I only have a perrenials and few spots for anuals.

Reply
Marion

Love gardening, is this for Canada? Ontario ? Thank you looking forward in spring flowers and shrubs.

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Georgia Brooks

I love to garden until it gets in the 90s. But I love to watch things grow and will harvest asparagus this year after planting couple of years ago.

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Kazon

Thanks for the March tips.
I’ve learned my lesson from last year because I missed doing my March chores & made the mistake of cramming all the work in April. I got severely sick (Asthma attack) as a result. This year I started even before March on warm days in Feb.: clearing beds, turning soil, some small snipping of dead & dubris plus fertilized a bit. Doing chores bit by bit early works wonderfully.

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kim clarke

Love these tips, but we have so much snow covering the ground in Maine, I wonder if we will see bare earth until May.

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Mr Brendan Fahy

I was doing some digging in my raised beds yesterday where the soil was unbelievably cold (38F) here in the west of Ireland. The climate is definitely changing; we’d normally have this kind of weather in late January. BTW thanks for the tips about early spring sowings.
Brendan

Reply
Paul Malloy

Still 2-3 feet of snow on the ground on Cape Cod. I can’t even get to anything that needs to be pruned. lol.

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margaret kistner

Love gardening!

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Belinda

Here in Californias central valley ive got most of my garden in the ground. I only have tomatoes and cucumbers in peat pots waiting for me to finish building more garden boxes. Just worried the 80-90 degree weather forecast for this week might make all my winter salads bolt. Already watering twice a day or at least every day…

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Judy Losier

This post made me smile. If only we could cut back our perennials now. We still have 5 feet of snow in New Brunswick, Canada in many areas.

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Barb Graves

Yes, they should do fine. Plus they will have a head start and be bigger plants sooner.

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June bradley

I live in Yorkshire uk an at moment we r gettin bad snow here so march an spring clean up in my garden will b put off until it’s all gone

Reply

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