March Garden Tips

Annuals to plant this month include: zinnia, marigold, coleus, cosmos, portulaca, amaranthus, gloriosa daisy, salvia, vinca, begonia, aster, ageratum, torenia, balsam. Vegetables include: tomato, watermelon, radish, lima bean, cantaloupe, snapbean, okra, sweet potato, summer squash, southern pea, mustard, onion sets. Most trees, shrubs, palms and citrus can be planted now, particularly if the rains continue. 
· Fertilize all trees, shrubs, palms, citrus, groundcovers and other plantings with a high-quality all-purpose fertilizer such as Lesco 12-2-14. Fertilize lawns with a 16-4-8 fertilizer with minor elements. Follow application directions exactly. 
· Bug populations are starting to increase again now that the weather is warming up and new growth is emerging. Grasshoppers will hatch and should be killed as soon as you see them. Aphids will attach to new growth. Mites are common on citrus, crotons, avocados, copperleaf and mango. Scale and thrips also appear now. Chinchbugs will soon show up in lawns. 
· Cut back ornamental grasses to eliminate old leaves and stimulate new growth. 

· Mulch flower beds to suppress weeds. Keep mulch 1-2 inches away from leaves and stems so the bark can breathe. Let a professional apply weed and feed products to the lawn if needed. Homeowners traditionally over-apply and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, killing lawn, trees and shrubs. Setting the mower permanently at its highest setting and reducing watering will go a long way to reducing the need for expensive chemical treatments. 
Green Thoughts: The next time we have a full moon, go outside and check your plants. Scientists may disagree, but my casual observations indicate that some fragrant plants bloom during the week of the full moon. Check your angel's trumpets, night blooming jessamine, lady of the night, orange jessamine, and other fragrant bloomers. 

Desert Cassia (Senna polyphyllla)

Desert Cassia (Senna polyphyllla) 
This small tree has tiny compound leaves that provide a delicate tracery over the dark barked branches. Bright yellow blooms can occur all year but are most prevalent between mid-October and May. Blooms are bright yellow and quite large considering the delicate foliage. Desert Cassia likes dry conditions, as its name indicates. It is not shade tolerant and needs bright sunny conditions to bloom. One major advantage over the popular small street tree, Cassia surattensis, is the more open growth habit. This allows the tree to resist winds and be less likely to be blown over, the main problem with Cassia surattensis. Expect a height of 10-15 feet with this small tree. 
  • Origin — Australia 
  • Foliage — Tiny, dull green compound leaves 
  • Nutritional requirements — Not fussy, tolerates alkaline soil 
  • Salt tolerance — Medium 
  • Drought tolerance — High 
  • Light requirements — High 
  • Growth rate — Medium 
  • Propagation — Seed 
  • Major problems — None. Attracts egg laying sulphur butterflies. Some newly hatched caterpillars will chew the leaves slightly, but most people consider their attraction a bonus rather than a minus. 
  • Environmental problems — None 
  • Availability —Check your local nursery and ask if they can order it for you. 


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