All this rain is so great to know California grounds should be well hydrated.  They snow pack in the mountains is not only great for skiing, but also provides increased water flow into he summer months!  It is exciting to know California will have some ground water replenished, and our gardens will benefit too!  In March, there’s a lot to keep up with, so check out some notes we’ve made to help you stay ahead of the curve!

 

Watch out for pests! Snails and slugs can be a major problem for gardeners this month. Use baits, traps or hunt/collect to control populations. It is a good idea to cleanup plant debris to reduce food and hiding places. You may also notice Spittle bug on rosemary, penstemon, and several other landscape plants toward the end of this month. These are leafhopper like insects that create a foam to protect themselves from predators. Although they may be unsightly, spittle bugs do not cause any significant plant damage. You can reduce high populations by using a strong blast of water. 

Aphids can be a serious pest as the new growth resumes in your landscape. These tiny insects prefer the lush, succulent growth that is abundant this time of year.

Scale insects are also becoming active now that the weather is warming up. March is typically when their eggs hatch into the crawler stage. The crawlers are very vulnerable to insecticides including light horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps. To easily monitored when to spray for scale wrap a piece of two sided sticky tape on a few scale infested branches. Check the tape every few days using a hand lens. Treat when you begin to find crawlers.

Planting! This is a great time to get new plants in the ground so they can acclimate before the summer heat hits. If you can plant citrus and strawberries planted now they will become established quicker and bear fruit sooner than if planted later in the year. You can also give perennial trees, shrubs, ground covers and lawns  a head start by planning them now, and they will require less water. 

The power of Fertilization!  Give your trees, shrubs and ground covers a complete fertilizer to help insure healthy growth. A slow release moderate nitrogen fertilizer with a high iron content is recommended for most areas of Central Contra Costa County. We recommend you use a fertilizer with a high sulfur content on acid loving plants (Read the labels).

Don’t forget to Prune! Prune azaleas, camellias, Lilacs, Rhododendrons and other spring flowering shrubs once they finish blooming.  Conversely, prune conifers as they put on new growth. 

Love your Lawn!  We recommend and think it is important that pre-emergent is applied before soil temperatures reach fifty five degrees (55°F) on lawns with crabgrass or other summer annual weed problems. In Central Contra Costa County, this happens by the tenth of March most years. It’s nice to know that the fertilizer requirements are low at this time as many nutrients are made available by the natural breakdown of organic matter in the thatch layer and the plants utilization of stored carbohydrates from the previous fall.

Note: If you plan to renovate your lawn this spring do not apply pre-emergent.

If you must fertilize apply low amounts as the cool season grasses are approaching their annual growth peak. Apply a selective broad leaf weedkiller such as WEED-BE-GONE

if there are too many weeds to hand pull.

FIRST DAY OF SPRING, MARCH2OTH