Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Missouri Environment & Garden


Donna Aufdenberg
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 243-3581

Kathi Mecham
University of Missouri Extension
(660) 542-1792

March Gardening Tips

minute read

Donna Aufdenberg
University of Missouri Extension
(573) 243-3581

Kathi Mecham
University of Missouri Extension
(660) 542-1792

Published: February 16, 2023

  • Clean up flower beds by removing all weeds and dead foliage.
  • Tree, shrubs and perennials may be planted as soon as they become available at local nurseries, garden centers and retail stores.
  • Fertilize woody plants with a well-balanced fertilizer (12-12-12) before new growth begins, but wait until soil temperatures have warmed. For more information, see MU Guide g6865 Fertilizing Shade Trees https://extension.missouri.edu/g6865.
  • Apply dormant oil spray to control scale insects & mites on landscape plants. For more information, see MU Guide g7274 Aphids, Scales and Mites on Home Garden and Landscape Plants https://extension.missouri.edu/g7274.
  • Divide and transplant perennials, such as hosta, asters, shasta daisy and daylily. Rework beds before replanting, adding organic matter and fertilizer.
  • Loosen winter mulch from roses after the danger of frost has passed.
  • To help control iris borer and foliage diseases, clean up and destroy the old foliage before new growth begins.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs after bloom. For more information, see MU Guide g6870 https://extension.missouri.edu/g6870.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses. For more information, see MU Extension Guide g6661 Ornamental Grasses https://extension.missouri.edu/g6661.

  • As daylength increases, plants begin new growth. Repot root bound plants, moving them to containers 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than their current pot.
  • Fertilize houseplants that are showing new growth or beginning to flower.
  • Check for insect pests on plants and apply controls as needed. For more information, see MU Extension Guide g7273 Least-Toxic control Methods to Manage Indoor Plant Pests https://extension.missouri.edu/g7273.
  • Leggy plants can be pruned now.
  • Start new plants from cuttings to revive overgrown plants. For more information, see MU extension guide g6560 Home Propagation of Houseplants https://extension.missouri.edu/g6560.

  • Clean up the asparagus bed before new spears emerge: remove weeds, the old, dead stalks of last year's growth and remove any mulch that protected crowns over the winter. For more information, see MU Extension Guide g6405 Growing Asparagus in Missouri https://extension.missouri.edu/g6405.
  • Cultivating wet garden soils can destroy soil composition. Delay planting if garden soil is wet. When a ball of soil crumbles easily after being squeezed together in hand, it is dry enough to be safely worked.
  • Plant cool season crops such as peas, lettuce, spinach, various greens, radishes, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, turnips, Irish potatoes, and onions outdoors. Set out broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and cauliflower transplants into the garden. For specific planting dates, see MU Extension Guide g6201 Vegetable Planting Calendar https://extension.missouri.edu/g6201.
  • Start tomatoes indoors now for transplanting around May 1st. For more information, see MU Extension Guide g6570 Starting Plants Indoors From Seeds https://extension.missouri.edu/g6570.

  • Gradually remove mulch from strawberries as the weather begins to warm. If night time temperatures dip below 32°F degrees, place a protective covering or mulch layer over strawberry plants to prevent cold injury.
  • Finish pruning all fruit crops BEFORE bud break and leaf emergence. Burn or destroy all pruning to minimize insect or disease occurrence.
  • On grapes, tie vines to the trellis before the buds swell to prevent bud injury and crop loss. For more information, see MU Extension g6085 Home Fruit Production: Grape Culture https://extension.missouri.edu/g6085.
  • Apply dormant oils to fruit crops when freezing temperatures are not expected and the days are dry. For more information, see MU Extension Guide g6010 Fruit Spray Schedules for the Homeowner https://extension.missouri.edu/g6010.
  • Begin spraying for apple scab at green tip state (and thereafter) if this disease has been problematic in the past or after rainfall when leaves remain wet for an extended period of time.
  • Peaches and nectarines should be pruned just before they bloom.
  • Mulch blackberries and raspberries for weed control.
  • Thinning fruit trees should start at fruit set and be completed before the end of May. Thinned fruit should be 6 to 8 inches apart. For more information on thinning, see MU Extension Guide G6030 Home Fruit Production: Peach and Nectarine Culture https://extension.missouri.edu/g6030.

  • Use broadleaf herbicides for perennial and winter annual weeds not controlled in the fall.
  • Overseed thin spots early if missed last fall.
  • Clear lawn of any leftover leaves or cover from winter. Do not let leaves sit wet over lawn surface and smother the turfgrass.
  • Watch for moles: Traps and baits are excellent means of control. Repellents containing castor bean oil may also be effective.
  • Have the soil tested if you have not done so recently. See your local county extension office for information on this process.

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REVISED: April 18, 2022