Building fertile gardens starts with great soil

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By Denise Metzger, Garden Services Manager
Lambert Landscape Company

Fertility is front and center in our March garden calendar. And improving the health, appearance and nutritional value of your soil through mineral and microbial-rich compost and organic fertilizer is the first step in our recommended list of To Do’s.

Because March weather is unpredictable, garden tasks should vary accordingly.

Early March:
• Get cool-season perennials and grasses in the ground now. Getting them in now will help them get established before the weather gets too hot.
• Have plant covers handy to protect plants on chilly nights.
• Cut back any grasses that have not already been trimmed.
• Revitalize containers with exciting and colorful spring flowers.
• Plant ornamental trees and shrubs while the weather is mild.
• Plant cool season flowers.

Begin feeding plants with liquid organic fertilizer. For the best results, sources of organic matter should be as diverse as possible. Be sure to apply the right type of food. Some plants have specific nutritional needs. For example, azaleas and hollies have different needs than snapdragons.
As the weather begins to warm, pull mulch away from perennials, shrubs and trees to allow the soil to warm. Although you will have to move the mulch back once hot weather arrives, the warmer spring soil stimulates increase root production, resulting in greater drought tolerance later in the season.

Late March
Continue liquid organic feedings, paying special attention to plants that are actively producing new leaves and/or buds.
The nights should now be warm enough to allow you to pull mulch away from plants in shadier or cooler areas of the garden.
As nights become more consistently warm, begin planting plants more intolerant of cold weather.
At the end of the month, begin feeding lawn areas.

About the author: Denise Metzger is a horticulturist and Garden Services Manager at Lambert Landscape Company and serves homeowners in Fort Worth.

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