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Essential Spring Gardening Tips

March 3, 2022


March Planning Guide

Spring is a fabulous time to assess damage from winter, fix tools, fill in holes in the landscape, tend to your lawn, perform essential pruning, make new beds, start a journal or new garden bed, fertilize everything, & begin composting. Before you know it, you can be enjoying a nice salad on your patio fresh from your own backyard! Here are a few tips to help you get started.



Prune shrubs that flower on new wood when the temperatures are above freezing.

Remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches from woody plants. Thin and trim summer-blooming shrubs such as hydrangea and most roses, except for old-fashioned varieties. For old-fashioned roses or species roses that bloom only one time per year, prune in spring after flowering. Prune old-fashioned and species roses that are repeat bloomers during their dormant season.

Prune cold-damaged wood after plants resume spring growth. Prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees after flowering.

Start Seeds Indoors

Starting your plants from seed is a great way to beat the winter blues. Crops that are best started indoors include broccoli brussels spouts, cabbage, tomatoes cauliflower, celery, eggplant, and peppers. Learn the proper methods in our Seed Starting Blog.

cabbage seedlings
ornamental grass

Trim Grass

Use pruning shears, or hedge trimmers to trim ornamental grasses either by two-thirds for cool-season grass, or to ground level for warm-season grass. Once they are cut, take a hard rake to remove any excess debris throughout the base of the plant. If too much thatch is kept around the base, it can cause rot and dieback to occur in the center. MVG carries gardening accessories and tools for purchase in house or online for curbside or front desk pick up.

Spray Fruit Trees

The best time to spray fruit trees with a preventative dormant oil is in late winter or early spring following guidelines for each type tree. This effort helps to protect trees from overwintering pests, larvae and eggs, which improves success with controlling pests during the growing season.


Avoid spraying dormant oil when temperatures are below 40ºF
Shake well before adding dormant oil to desired water amount. Mix thoroughly*.
Make sure the application covers the entire surface of branches and trunk (don’t miss the undersides of branches!)

Inspect Ponds

Removing as much dead material, fallen leaves, spent plants and sludge from your pond as possible. This includes vacuuming the bottom of the pond, pruning any dead leaves from aquatic plants and scrubbing any submerged pots.

As the water temperatures in your pond rise to 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to inspect any pumps and filters. Be sure they are clean and operating efficiently, and repair, replace or upgrade the equipment if necessary. At the same time, check any aerators, sprays, fountains or waterfalls to ensure they are also working well.

Start testing your water quality in early spring to judge the amount of nitrates and ammonia, as well as the overall pH level.

As the water temperature consistently remains above 50 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, you can begin to reintroduce hardy plants to the pond and position them where you’d like them to flourish through the spring and summer. Floating plants can be added when the water gets warmer as well, but be sure there is no risk of late spring frosts or freezes before you add more delicate plants to the pond. MVG carries a nice variety of water plants for your ornamental ponds.

February is for Houseplants

Repot Houseplants

March is a perfect time to give indoor plants a new lease on life by transplanting them into a larger pot with fresh soil. This is especially important if your plants are root bound. Root bound plants are those you’ll see roots coming out of the pot’s drainage holes. Also, if the roots are growing in a tight ball, loosen them to encourage new growth.

Tip: March is also a good time to prune houseplants that might have grown leggy over the winter. Pruning will also encourage new, more compact growth.

Garden Journal

Keeping a garden journal is a fun, simple way to track your garden’s progress through the seasons, and learn from it as years go by.

High tech, low tech or somewhere in between, there’s a journaling tool to fit you and your budget. Start with a single piece of paper or a simple computer document, or get more creative in your journal approach. Make your own scrapbook or sketchbook journal, complete with pages for sketching garden plans, pockets for holding images and seed packets, and even places for pressing keepsake leaves.

cabbage seedlings

Start Composting

Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.

Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.

Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.

Add manure, green manure (clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.

Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job.

Cover with anything you have – wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden.

Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material like straw. Once you’ve established your compost pile, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers.

Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion. If you want to buy a composter, rather than build your own compost pile, you may consider buying a rotating compost tumbler which makes it easy to mix the compost regularly.

TIP: Keep a container with a lid and a handle under the sink to store kitchen waste until you’re ready to transfer it to your composter. A stainless steel compost pail with a carbon filter or a ceramic model will cut down on odors. If you don’t mind occasional smells, use an old ice-cream pail. Chop up any large chunks before you toss them in.

Divide Perennials

Perennials such as hosta, chrysanthemum, and daylily can be dug and divided as soon as they break dormancy. Use a sharp spade to dig and lift the clumps and break them into smaller sections with a large garden knife. Replant the divisions as soon as possible. 

Tip: Some perennials prefer being divided in the late summer instead of early spring. These include peony, lily, Oriental poppy, and bearded iris.

More questions on our products, acclimating young plants, or getting your garden off on the right foot this season?
Stop in or give us a call at 937-845-0093.