spring garden
Norm Plate

The Zone System

March weather can range from 80ºF and sunny in Miami to 10ºF and snowy in Minnesota. Because of this variation, gardeners across the country use the Zone Map as a tool when preparing and planting the garden.

We have assembled a garden calendar for March through May divided by region to serve you in the garden and ensure the success in the outdoors.

Use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Checking garden trellis
Robbie Caponetto

Zones 3-5: March

Plants: Cut perennials and ornamental grasses to the ground. Trim fall-blooming clematis to 12 inches. Remove mulch from perennial crowns.

Lawn: Take time to tune up your mower. Sharpen the blade; replace the spark plug, air filter, and oil.

Landscape: Inspect patios and pathways, and reposition stones if frost has caused them to rise. Check trellises, garden art, and decks, making repairs as needed.

Mowing the lawn

Zones 3-5: April

Perennials: Dig and divide summer- and fall-blooming perennials. Mulch beds to reduce water needs.

Grass: Feed cool-season lawns with a slow-release fertilizer. Sharpen the mower blade, and set it to remove no more than one-third the total grass height in one cutting.

Veggies: Sow cool-season vegetables, including lettuce, radish, and greens. Set out transplants of broccoli and cauliflower.

Tending a vegetable garden
Norm Plate

Zones 3-5: May

Insects: Treat aphid outbreaks with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. For smaller infestations, a blast of water removes feeding aphids.

Plantings: Choose annuals that flower all summer, such as angelonia, zinnia, pentas, and trailing petunia. When frost is no longer a threat, plant canna and calla lily outdoors.

Edibles: Set out warm-season transplants of tomato, okra, and pepper. Sow cucumber, bean, and melon seeds.

Mowing the lawn at first sign of growth
Joseph DeSciose

Zones 6-8: March

Grass: Sharpen your mower blade. Mow when grass shows signs of growth. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to lawns. Dethatch and aerate warm-season turf.

Plants: Prune woody plants. Remove damaged branches and those growing toward the center of the plant.

Bloomers: Fertilize plants with a granular, high-nitrogen product. Don't fertilize azaleas and rhododendrons until after they bloom. Cut clematis back to the strongest stems.

Place plants outside
Karim Shamsi-Basha

Zones 6-8: April

Tropicals: Set plants outside when night temperatures reach above 50ºF. Place plants in shade, and water well. Fertilize two weeks later.

Shrubs: Prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as azalea and gardenia, after they bloom. Feed with an acidic fertilizer after flowering.

Bulbs: Allow spring foilage to ripen naturally before removing. Mark bulb groupings that didn't flower well, and plan to dig and divide them in fall.

Prune roses

Zones 6-8: May

Roses: Prune climbing roses after flowering, cutting stems to 4 or 5 feet. Tie canes as they grow, wrapping them around supports.

Annuals: Plant colorful annuals, such as sun-loving coleus, Mexican bush sage, lantana, Persian shield, and cat's whiskers.

Tubers: Plant caladium and calla lily tubers. Mix organic matter and a slow-release fertilizer into beds for optimal growth.

Growing peppers
Van Chaplin

Zones 9-11: March

Veggies: Set out warm-season transplants of tomato, okra, eggplant, and pepper. Sow cucumber, bean, melon, and Southern pea seeds.

Turf: Sharpen your mower blade monthly. Apply a complete lawn fertilizer to warm-season grasses.

Trees: Fertilize citrus trees with a citrus fertilizer, such as 8-2-8. Scatter the product under each tree (all the way to the dripline) and water well. Prune to remove suckers.

Pruning roses
Ralph Anderson

Zones 9-11: April

Trees: Inspect and prune trees before hurricane season, removing branches that overhang roofs or show signs of disease.

Water: Check your turf irrigation system, making repairs as needed. Set it to deliver about 3/4 inch of water every three to four days.

Roses: Irrigate roses in the morning without splashing water onto the leaves. Apply a fungicide at the first sign of black spot or powdery mildew.

Butterfly garden
Thomas J. Story

Zones 9-11: May

Lawns: Repair bald spots. Use plugs to mend St. Augustine lawns. Seed spots in Bahia lawns, keeping the soil moist until seeds sprout.

Palms: Plant them when the soil's temperature is above 75ºF. Use twine to tie fronds up over the buds for protection. When new growth emerges, you can snip the twine.

Beauty: Design a garden that attracts butterflies. Use lantana, red bird of paradise, hibiscus, pentas, or firebush.

From Lowe's Creative Ideas

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