Usually we begin March’s Timely Tips with a reminder to give your trees and shrubs some water before the Spring kicks into gear. Luckily this year, our precipitation levels have been pretty good – just in case you have questions – refer to our high desert winter watering fact sheet for tips. Now let’s pray for sun and let the growing season begin!

Plant Doctor Quips

Moana Lane Plant Doctor, Jon Bruyn, says, “When I started applying my degree in horticulture back in 1983, I, as with much of us in the country, loved the spring flowering spiraeas such as Bridalwreath and Vanhouttei. Their abundant and beautiful clusters of white flowers were a sign that spring was here at last. After moving to Reno, I quickly learned that those spireas could be very disappointing due to our late frost date of May 1st to 15th. Then came Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’ in the mid 90’s, with the same beautiful white clusters of flowers but with a blooming time at least a month after its cousins, and even better a much more compact growth in comparison. As with all spiraeas, they are waterwise and deer, rodent and rabbit resistant, even during those time when everything else with that description, is eaten. My Snowmound Spiraeas in all years have missed a full bloom period only twice, and have remained their stated 5 foot by 5 foot size with very little effort from me.  Blooming in mid to late May, they are a focal point in my yard with their arching branches. As with most of the spiraeas, they give the wonderful display of fall colors as well.”

Plant Doctor, Gary Jentink, talks about a Maple to Celebrate: In 1967 botanist James Zampini noticed a strange maple seedling growing amongst a patch of young silver maple trees in Perry, Ohio. It was different than it’s silver maple brethren in both size and color, and after close examination under a microscope it was confirmed this little tree was indeed a hybrid! A combination of the Red maple (Acer rubrum) and the silver maple (Acer saccharinum), the new tree was given the name “Celzam” and carried the best qualities of both parents. Fast strong growing wood and extreme cold tolerance combined with a strong root system able to adjust to nearly any environment in the continental united states. These days Celzam has been propagated and grafted to tens of thousands of maple root stock and distributed all over the world under the official trademarked name Celebration. It’s wonderful fall color and ease of growth makes this tree, truly, a maple to CELEBRATE!

In South Virginia Plant Doctor, Michael Roth:  “Spring is just about upon us, and I’m sure that you are feeling just like me, ready to get out and start planting again.  My perfect recipe for success when planting Blueberries, Japanese Maples, and all of our shade dwelling plants is to use G&B Organics Acid Planting Mix and incorporating G&B Rhododendron, Azalea & Camellia Fertilizer.  Together it provides the essential nutrients needed for the plants’ health and vitality, has the correct ph level that acid loving plants require, and can be used both for in-ground planting to enrich our native soil, and for container gardening.  Mix in the correct amount of fertilizer at the time of planting and reapply every 2-3 months throughout the growing season.  In no time at all you’ll have happy, healthy, and flourishing plants.”

Our Pyramid Way plant doctor, Angela Turner, shares her thoughts blueberries.

I absolutely love having fresh berries to eat and have almost every kind in my yard! Blueberries are more tricky to grow here in Nevada than other berries, but you can absolutely be successful! Nevada soil is the largest hurdle to overcome, so my advice is to actually grow them in pots so you can fully control the soil. Use a pot that’s at least 24” in diameter and fill with G&B Organics Acid Planting Mix and use G&B Rhododendron, Azalea & Camellia Fertilizer for healthy Blueberry bushes. 

If you love the taste of Blueberries but want a larger shrub or small tree, consider growing a Serviceberry! They are more tolerant of our soil and give you tons of berries that are just like blueberries in color and taste!”

If you want to maximize the number of different birds that you see in your yard, and also make sure to provide a calcium source to support a successful nesting season, Bark Butter® is the answer! Jim Carpenter, the founder of Wild Birds Unlimited, spent many years coming up with just the right formulation to attract a Brown Creeper. These small birds are widespread across North America, yet not at all common to see at feeders, and Jim was determined to come up with a food that they would love. Bark Butter® is the result of his dedicated efforts. No other food attracts a wider variety of birds -150 species and counting, including Brown Creepers, quail, hummingbirds, wrens, Wood ducks, tanagers and bluebirds, just to name a few! This spreadable suet is easy to use year round, and many nesting birds will seek it out and feed it to their young. Sources of calcium are limited in nature, yet calcium is absolutely essential in making eggs as well a developing bird’s bones. Spread some Bark Butter® today, and welcome a healthy, new generation of songbirds!

South Virginia plant doctor, Steve Packer, shares his a bit about his favorite shade perennials:

One of my favorite shade perennials is the Hellebore or Lenten rose. The two-part common name of Lenten rose refers to the plant’s bloom season, which is around the Christian season of Lent that falls in late winter, and its rose-like flower buds. 

What I love about this perennial is that it grows in the shade,  it’s one of the first perennials to bloom in late winter/spring ,has evergreen foliage, and is easy to care for. 

Hellebores grow best in moist (not soggy) well drained soils with a pH close to neutral,even alkaline. They come in a variety of colors: white, pink , purple, maroon, cream and yellow. 

My Hellebore is planted on the north side of my yard where it gets mostly shade with some early morning sun. It is amazing to see  when it starts to bloom, even when it is still surrounded by snow!”

March Timely Tips

  • Cut back close to the ground all ornamental grasses & perennials.
  • Gently press back any perennials that heaved out of the ground over winter.
  • Plant cool-season flowers – stocks, primrose, pansies, violets, Shirley poppies, ranunculus, candytuft, thyme, flowering kale and cabbage, etc. with G&B Organics Starter Fertilizer.
  • Enjoy summer blooms earlier by potting up gladiolas, dahlias, crocosmia, lily of the valley, etc. indoors at the beginning of the month, then transplant in the garden when weather has warmed up with Happy Frog Steamed Bone Meal or G&B Organics Bud & Bloom Fertilizer for long lasting blooms.
  • With wild birds’ natural food supply at its lowest this month, offer them high energy foods like peanuts, suet, Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter and mealworms.
  • Some birds will begin building their nests this month; place nesting materials out for them now and consider a Wild Birds Unlimited birdhouse for wrens, chickadees or woodpeckers if they are visiting your yard.  
  • Offer Peanut Butter n’ Jelly suet dough to provide the extra calcium needed during nesting season.
  • Continue to supply fresh water and change it every 5 days to keep it clean.  
  • If you have a water feature, turn it on as soon as weather permits.
  • Install a customized Wild Birds Unlimited bird feeding station where you can easily watch the birds it attracts.
  • Indoor Plants – Interior Plant Services offers clean air plants, design, installation, maintenance & more call 775-825-0602 x134.
  • Make an appointment for an at-your site consultation with one of our plant doctors to help with the following:
    • Help with winter damaged trees and shrubs
    • Diagnose disease & insect problems on trees, shrubs & lawns
    • Identify existing plants in your landscape and how to care for them
    • Provide plant placement for DIY customers
  • Seasonal Color & High Desert Gardening Team is ready to help with small yard clean-ups, planting bed preparation, early spring pruning and container designs. Schedule a consultation today!
  • Your irrigation system is important to the health and growth of your plants. If you’re noticing that it’s not operating correctly, or if water bills are increasing due to inefficient usage – we can help! Contact us now.