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McCourt Real Estate Blog

Spring Break + Spring Planting

March 17th, 2009 9:05 AM by Caren McCourt-Crane


  • Cool-season vegetables early in the month: beets, carrots, Swiss chard, collards, lettuces, radish, spinach, mustard, turnips.
  • Flower plants:  alyssum, calendula, candytuft, cosmos, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, phlox, pinks, salvia, stock (dwarf), sweet pea, verbena.
  • Warm-season annual color plants (marigolds, zinnias, impatiens and others) 2 to 3 weeks after last killing freeze.  More tropical types (pentas, tropical hibiscus, moss rose, lantanas, caladiums and others) should be planted one month after last freeze.
  • Color into containers for several-week head start on growing season.  Use lightweight, highly organic potting soil.  Move into protection on cold nights.
  • Finish transplanting summer and fall flowering perennials very early in month before new growth emerges.
  • Bulbs: agapanthus, amaryllis (in containers), allium, alstroemeria, daylily, society garlic, tulip, rain lily, liriope, monkey grass.
  • Roses.  Buy quality, top-grade plants and avoid those that have been indoors.  They will not be acclimated to outdoor conditions. See additional information and pictures for Earthkind Roses at
  • Fruit trees, grapes, pecans, blackberries and other fruit plants.  Our County Extension office has a list of the best varieties to plant for West Texas.  Call 489-4071.
  • Onion transplants:  February 20 – March 5.
  • Dig and divide summer and fall-flowering perennials such as liriope, daylily, Shasta daisies, mallows, cannas, gloriosa daisies, purple coneflowers, perennial salvias, mums and fall asters before new spring growth begins.
  • In heavily shaded parts of the landscape where grass is difficult to maintain, choose one of the well-adapted groundcover plants such as English or Algerian ivy, Asian jasmine, vinca, prostrate juniper or mondograss.
  • Don’t plant caladiums yet, wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 70º F.


  • Finish all dormant-season pruning early this month before buds begin to swell.
  • Shade trees, before new growth begins.  Remove dead, damaged and diseased branches, then crossing branches.  Make cuts just outside the branch collar, avoiding a flush cut.  Pruning sealant is not needed, except with oak species.
  • Trim and reshape tropical plants as you bring them outdoors for the spring.
  • Cutback old chrysanthemum plantings to encourage new growth. 
  • A severe pruning now of overgrown beds of groundcovers will remove woody stems and induce new, compact growth from the base whereas later pruning will retard growth.
  • Do not prune blooms on early-blooming plants like Indian Hawthorne, Texas mountain laurel, climbing roses, spirea, mock orange, forsythia, Carolina Jessamine, wisteria, coral honeysuckle, etc. Wait until after bloom is complete.
  • On daffodils, Dutch iris and other low-chill bulbs, leave the foliage until it turns brown and then cut down.  The green leaves are replenishing the bulbs for next year’s blooms.


  • All-nitrogen fertilizer to pecans on 30-day intervals March through May.
  • Liquid fertilizer to newly planted flowers and vegetable transplants.
  • Use complete water-soluble fertilizer for bougainvilleas growing in the greenhouse.  Bougainvilleas will bloom all winter if they are in a greenhouse or sunny room.  Keep watering and fertilizing.
  • Houseplants once a month with diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer.

On the Lookout

  • Use broadleafed weedkiller spray to eliminated dandelions, clover, dichondra, dollar weed and other non-grassy weeds.
  • Fruit crops require protections from insects, diseases.  Follow “Homeowner Fruit and Nut Spray Schedule,” downloadable online from Texas A&M.
  • Use bug baits or dust to eliminate snails, slugs, pillbugs if they are damaging your plants, such as pansies, calendulas and cool-season annuals.
  • A wide variety of caterpillars may soon begin appearing throughout the garden.  Check tender foliage on such plants as petunias, kale, lettuce and cabbage.  Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt.) is a biological control that works well on most larvae (worms).
  • Cankerworms strip foliage from trees, hang by slender threads from twigs.  Control with Bt. biological worm spray.
  • Aphids may cause sticky honeydew drips from tender new foliage, also from tree branches.  New leaves may become puckered from their piercing and feeding.  Control with insecticidal soap, Neem oil spray or general-purpose organic or inorganic pesticides.
  • Be careful not to get lawn herbicides too close to trees.  Weed-and-feed type fertilizers are notorious for killing young shade trees.

Odd Jobs

  • Repot overgrown, root-bound pot plants.  Keep plants in light shade until reestablished.
  • If you plant container-grown trees this month, be sure to make a 6 ft. circle around the tree for mulch which will keep the grass at bay.  Do not add organic material to the planting hole.  The tree needs to root in the soil in which it will live the rest of its life.
  • March is a good month for aeration of the lawn.
  • Tune up the lawnmower and be sure the blade is very sharp.  Dull blades tear the grass, sharp ones cut it.
  • Check out the automatic lawn sprinkler system for leaks, broken pipes or heads or wasteful misting.

Information provided by Permian Basin Master Gardner's

Posted in:General
Posted by Caren McCourt-Crane on March 17th, 2009 9:05 AM



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