From veggies to flowers to where to find the latest info about pests, here are this month’s gardening tips


Buttercups

Daffodils are among the first harbingers of spring in the landscape. Photo by J. Reeves, courtesy UTIA.



Submitted by Jason Reeves, horticulturist and curator at the University of Tennessee Gardens, Jackson



When night temperatures rise to above 40 degrees, feed your pansies with a water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20.

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

Pull or carefully spot spray winter weeds in your landscape with an appropriate herbicide. Besides making the bed look better, doing so now will prevent them from going to seed, therefore making fewer weeds next year.

Don’t delay cutting back the following plants. It is a much easier task before the new growth appears. March is an ideal time to cut back the following garden plants:


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Knock Out™ roses or other shrub roses. In mid to late March cut well-established plants back two to three feet shorter than the height you desire them to reach. In cooler parts of the state you may wait until early April.

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Miscanthus (maiden grass), Pennisetum (fountain grass), Muhlenbergia (muhly grass) and Nassella (Mexican feather grass). Cut to 3 to 6 inches above the ground.

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Liriope (monkey grass). Cut before new growth appears. Use a string trimmer for larger areas.

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Hardy ferns. Cut to the ground, particularly evergreen forms before new growth appears.

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Epimedium (barrenwort). Cut foliage to the ground.

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Acorus (sweet flag) and Carex (sedge). Cut back to 2 to 3 inches if the winter has browned the foliage.

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Prune out older branches on Cornus sericea and C. sanguinea (red twig dogwood) to encourage new growth, which will have the brightest color next winter.

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Summer-flowering Spirea japonica that are overgrown are best cut back before the new growth appears, and you won’t even know it come spring. A few       common cultivars are ‘Gold Mound,’ ‘Magic Carpet’ and ‘Gold Flame.’

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Limb-up and remove crossed branches on trees and tree-type crapemyrtles as needed. Never top trees or crapemyrtles. For more information on tree topping, visit https://tiny.utk.edu/tree-topping. For proper pruning tips on crapemyrtles check out this site:  http://www.statesvilletrees.org/

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Look closely at grafted plants and remove all growth below the graft. Commonly grafted plants include witchhazels, contorted filberts, weeping cherries, weeping mulberries, dogwoods, fruit trees, crabapples, grafted roses and Japanese maples.


A great way to stay in touch with insect and disease happenings is to follow the UT Extension Soil, Plant and Pest Center’s Facebook page. You will find a wealth of information on what is going on in the landscape:  http://www.facebook.com/SoilPlantPestCenter

The UT Gardens includes plant collections located in Knoxville, Jackson and Crossville. 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 http://utgardens.tennessee.edu

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Contact:

Jason Reeves, UT Gardens research horticulturist and curator, 731-425-4765,
jreeves@tennessee.edu

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