March Madness may be in full swing on TV, but don’t neglect your landscaping completely. Mid to late March is the perfect time to get back into the swing of things in the landscape world. March weather is very unpredictable, and the record highs and lows dictate it is the most extreme weather month. From 91 degrees down to -16, it can be anything in Omaha in March. If the weather is on the nice side, it is a good time to rake out leaves along with tidying up any beds that may have been shuffled during the winter months.
Old man winter will stick around for a few more weeks at least, at least on average. So don’t go all-out and cut back everything, just a few simple things to get you started and get your plants ready for the summer ahead. The biggest thing is mulching this time of year. Before the bulbs start, and before perennials start to grow, put a nice new blanket of mulch over the beds. This will do a lot to help the plants get a good jump start. Mulch provides erosion control, moisture retention, and provides warmth if we get a cold snap again. Without mulch some bulbs will get too exposed and die, and some perennials won’t make it through winter without it.
Many perennials can be cut back now, especially ones with just twigs and tattered old leaves like hostas and daylilies. I wouldn’t do too much to shrubs yet, they are likely not awake from dormancy and could be damaged by too much pruning. Keep grasses standing tall for a little while more, it will help new growth start and keep the root crown protected. Late March is when the alarm goes off for most plants to wake up, but many hit snooze and wont start until April. Keep checking the shrubs and perennials in your landscape for buds, flowers and sunshine are right around the corner.