March is mud season. It’s the time of year when early heavy spring rain washes away the snow. The frost comes out of the ground which softens the driveway, dirt roads, and lawns. Please stay off of the lawn with the truck and tractor!
March begins the battle between winter and summer. As the sun inches higher in the sky, it starts to warm the ground and the larger water bodies. March storms can be intense, and some of our most vicious coastal storms can be in March. Watch out for the ice!
March is a seed month. As the ground temperature rises and the sunlight becomes more intense, the landscape comes alive. Snow drops, crocus, bloodroot, skunk cabbage, early daffodils, and pussy willow begin to bloom. The stage is set for April showers bringing in May flowers.
As the early morning light starts to glow in the East, the birds go into song. The March bird song is loud and intense during the early morning. Some say it’s a mating ritual. Some say it’s a territorial thing. Personally, I think it’s our feathered friends singing hallelujah. It’s the end of winter and the beginning of spring. No more night shivers, no more searching for food, it’s time to eat and have some fun. No wonder they are singing at the top of their lungs.
By the end of the month the snow has finally melted and it’s cleanup time. Once fields and meadows dry out they can be mowed. Some years we need to wait until April or May to mow the meadows. During a wet spring it’s more important to wait until the surface soil dries out before you mow. Riding over wet soil creates soil compaction problems. Heavy machinery traveling over wet soil squeezes the air out of soil. The lack of air in the soil can choke plant roots over time and then it will be necessary to aerate the soil.
Last month we talked about establishing meadows in the landscape. Additional information on this process has come to me from local experts. When seeding into established lawn areas it’s important to give seed room to grow and germinate. In many cases thatching, tilling, and the use of a localized herbicide on these designated meadow areas may be necessary to establish these native flowers and grasses. Seeding can be done in spring and fall. Many recommend a heavy fall seeding for better germination and to keep invasive species competition to a minimum. Many existing soils are loaded with dormant weed seeds. The quicker we establish our native wildflower and grass meadow, the less competition we will have from unwanted plants. There are a handful of growers and experts on this subject. If more information is needed contact me at Native Landscapes Inc. We can point you in the right native meadow direction. Have a successful spring planting.
Pete and the Natives