As the weather warms up and plants awaken, we await new blooms of spring to decorate our landscape with a vivid plate of color.
Finish up any severe pruning of shrubs that have overgrown an area in height or size. If some of these are early spring bloomers, such as azaleas, wait until after they have bloomed most of their flowers.
Severe pruning is a rejuvenating of plants so they can come back stronger and meet the needs of space and height that you want. If the plant is old and weak, however, severe pruning might kill it. Be cautious with older plants.
If you have not pruned your roses yet, do so quickly. It is time to clean up under your old roses by removing old mulch and replacing it with new mulch.
If you have had problems with black spot on your roses, you will need to spray the ground and bases of your roses with a fungicide before putting the new mulch down.
It is still a good time to add some new shrubs to the landscape. Make sure to dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and no deeper than the root ball, so you do not plant the plant any deeper than what it is planted in now.
You can prune any other plants that bloom after May now, but if they bloom before May then do not prune or shape these plants, as you are removing the flower blooms.
The grass will just be starting to green up this month (especially Centipede), so hold off on fertilizing until you have mowed once. If you fertilize too early, especially with a weed and feed, all you will get from this application is weed control. The fertilizer will move down below the root zone as the roots are not ready to absorb the nutrients from the fertilizer, and it will be wasted.
Once it starts to grow, then you can fertilize and get the most from your fertilizer. If you have St. Augustine, Bermuda or Zoysia, you will have to wait longer before fertilizing, as these grasses take longer to green up and grow.
You still can do weed control in March to help control weeds that might be there or will be germinating. Continue to remove leaves that have fallen. This will help the ground warm up easier and allow the grass to green up and grow easier.
Now is the time to redo your annual flower beds with mulch, lime and some fertilizer so they will be ready for the new plantings you will be adding to the landscape.
If you have perennials, you might consider dividing them at this time. If you do so, rework the beds with plenty of organic matter, lime and fertilizer, as you will not be dividing them for a couple of years.
Make sure you apply a new mulch to your flower and ornamental beds to help reduce weed growth, conserve water and give the beds a finished look.
Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.