Spring Is Coming, Time to Prepare

Lenten rose

March is a good time to shop for and add lungwort (Pulmonaria) and Lenten rose (Helleborus), shown above, to your garden.

The weather is warming, the days are growing longer and our thoughts are increasingly focused on how to improve our landscapes and gardens. Jason Reeves, curator of the University of Tennessee Gardens, Jackson, offers these tips for coordinating a few of your outdoor efforts as spring approaches:

· Evaluate your vegetable garden plans. Often a smaller garden with fewer weeds and insects will give you more produce.

· Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, chard, onions and potatoes should be planted this month.

· When night temps get above 40 degrees, feed your pansies with a water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20.

· Pull or carefully spot-spray winter weeds in your landscape with Roundup. Doing so now will make the plant beds look better and prevent them from going to seed, therefore making fewer weeds next year.

· Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn if you had crabgrass and other summer weeds in the past. The timing of application is important, and a good indicator is to do it just as forsythia begins to show some color.

· Sow nasturtiums this month. Soak seed overnight in water. Cover with three-quarter inches of soil.

· March is a good time to shop for and add lungwort (Pulmonaria) and Lenten rose (Helleborus) to your garden. Lungwort is an early flowering shade perennial that often struggles in the heat and humidity of our Tennessee climate, so be aware that Pulmonaria longifolia cultivars and hybrids are much more durable. Good selections are 'Roy Davidson,' 'E. B. Anderson,' 'Trevi Fountain' and-my favorite for its vigor and heat tolerance-'Diana Claire.'

· ​Climbing roses should not be pruned until after their first flush of growth. Now is a good time to tie the canes to a support before they flush out with spring growth.

For additional gardening tips, visit the UT Extension website:
extension.tennessee.edu and click on the menu link to “Publications.” Enter the term “gardening” in the search engine.

The University of Tennessee Gardens include plant collections located in Knoxville, Crossville and Jackson. Designated as the official botanical garden for the State of Tennessee, the collections are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture. The Gardens’ mission is to foster appreciation, education and stewardship of plants through garden displays, educational programs and research trials. The Gardens are open during all seasons and free to the public. For more information, see the website:



Jason Reeves, UT Gardens, Jackson,