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Pacific Northwest Gardener’s March Checklist

March is an exciting time in the garden. The birds sing, the borders become more colorful every day as trees and shrubs break bud, spring bulbs open up in the gentle sunshine and the greenhouse goes into full production. Finally we feel we can start really gardening again. Sharpen your pruners, find your hoe and get ready for some fresh air!

Plan for apple pie with proper pruning. I’m not sure if I love the apple blossoms or the actual apples more, but I do know that without proper pruning, the trees will not be as vigorous nor produce as much fruit as they could.

This is the last month to prune fruit trees, so sharpen those pruners. Entire books have been written on how to prune apple trees, but here are the basics of pruning a mature tree.

  • Remove, dead, diseased or dying branches.
  • Remove branches that are growing toward the trunk, straight up or straight down.
  • Remove branches that are rubbing against each other.
  • Thin out the canopy enough to allow light to filter through even after it has leafed out.

You will notice two distinct types of bud:

  1. Sharp, pointed ones, which become leaves and branches
  2. Fatter, darker buds, which form fruit

Watch out for weeds. It’s a sad fact that weeds seem to be the fastest-growing plants in the garden this time of year. Be sure to spend some time each week removing them before they set seed.

Courtesy of Houzz

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