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March Landscape Tips!

These rains are great.  Looking forward to how our landscapes will flourish with these rains and the coming sunshine. Once the grounds dry out a bit, it should be a good idea to get a lawn aeration done to help keep your lawn healthy and add to the longevity of your lawn’s life.

Pest! Uh Oh! Snails and slugs can be a major problem for gardeners this month. Use baits, traps or hunt/collect to control populations. Cleaning up plant debris can help reduce food and hiding places. You may notice Spittle bug on rosemary, penstemon, and several other landscape plants toward the end of this month. These are leafhopper like insects that create a foam to protect themselves from predators. Although they may be unsightly, spittle bugs do not cause any significant plant damage. High populations can be reduced by using a strong blast of water.

Aphids can be a serious pest as the new growth resumes in your landscape. These tiny insects prefer the lush, succulent growth that is abundant this time of year. If you start noticing signs of aphids, please don’t hesitate to call! 

Scale insects are also becoming active now that the weather is warming up. March is typically when their eggs hatch into the crawler stage. The crawlers are very vulnerable to insecticides including light horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps. To easily monitored when to spray for scale wrap a piece of two sided sticky tape on a few scale infested branches. Check the tape every few days using a magnifying glass. Treat or call us when you begin to find crawlers.

It’s a great time to Plant!  This is a great time to get new plants in the ground so they can acclimate before the summer heat hits. Citrus and strawberries planted now will become established quicker and bear fruit sooner, than if planted later in the year. Perennial trees, shrubs, ground covers and lawns will require less water and get ahead start if planted now.

What about nutrients? A complete fertilizer should be given to your trees, shrubs and ground covers to help insure healthy growth. A slow release moderate nitrogen fertilizer with a high iron content is recommended for most areas of Central Contra Costa County. Use a fertilizer with a high sulfur content on acid loving plants. 

What to Prune: Azaleas, camellias, Lilacs, Rhododendrons and other spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after they finish blooming. Prune conifers as they put on new growth.

Lawn Care! For lawns with crabgrass or other summer annual weed problems, it is important that a pre-emergent is applied before soil temperatures reach fifty five degrees (55°F). Most years this happens by the tenth of March in Central Contra Costa County.  However, this year it could be a little alter judging by the weather we have had lately! Fertilizer requirements are low at this time as many nutrients are made available by the natural breakdown of organic matter in the thatch layer (aeration is great to get this process going!) and the plants utilization of stored carbohydrates from the previous fall.