March Lawn and Garden Tips 2022

Spring 2022

March brings Spring, warming soil, longer days, and a return to Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 13, a week before the first day of Spring on Sunday, March 20. Our last frost and freeze days are likely behind us. Gardeners in Northeast Florida must stay prepared for late-season cold fronts while going ahead with planting, fertilizing, and watering their palms, fruit trees, shrubbery, warm-season annuals, perennials, herbs, and vegetables.

Consider planting these perennials African Iris, Agapanthus, Aptenia, Aztec Grass, Blue My Mind, Calendula, Sunflowers, Gaillardia, Geraniums, Ice Plant, Jasmine, Kalanchoe, Liriope, Pentas, Porterweed, Salvia, and Sedum.

Herbs and vegetables in stock for March plantings include Bay, Cilantro, Dill, Eggplant, Fennel, Gooseberry, Lettuce, Lemongrass, Mint, Okra, Oregano, Parsley, Peppers, Rosemary, Sage, Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, and Thyme. Speak with a member of our staff about soil amendments to get the most from your garden.

Earth Works Garden Center is fully stocked with herbs & vegetable plants.

New shipments arrive weekly stocked with a wide assortment of palms, fruit, bamboo, and hardwood trees.

Our Peach trees are currently blooming and setting fruit.

Get prepared for a successful season ahead using our Northeast Florida Spring Lawn and Garden Checklist.

MARCH USHERS IN LONGER DAYS
March brings Spring and an increase in seed germination rates, while seedlings flourish as solar radiation increases soil temperatures. The sun moves north and crosses the equator on the first day of Spring and reaches its peak in the Northern Hemisphere on the first day of Summer. As the sun moves closer overhead and shines longer each day our plants draw vital life energy. March has the distinction of adding more minutes of daylight of all the months on the calendar. The shortest day was 10:11:21 back on the first day of Winter, December 21. January reversed that cycle of declining minutes per day and added 31 minutes of day length for a total of 10:44:34. February accelerates the pickup of daylight hours, adding 47 minutes for a total of 11:31:02 by month’s end. March adds 56 minutes, followed by April adding 52 minutes, May adding 38 minutes, and June an additional 8 minutes in the lead up to the longest day of 14:06:19 on the June 21, Summer Solstice. Long days with the sun shining brightly means plants have the maximum amount of light energy possible and we have more daylight hours for gardening. Yay!

Give us a wave when you spot us in Northeast, Florida!

SEASONAL PRECIPITATION AND WATER RESTRICTIONS IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
During the winter months, plants need less water due to lower growth rates, dormancy, and less evaporation in the lawn and garden. With higher temperatures and longer days, our lawn and garden plants begin their intensive vegetative growth stage that to thrive requires adequate rain or irrigation.
In Duval County, water restrictions loosen during Daylight Savings Time, allowing twice per week residential landscape irrigation with no limits for a new landscape or hand watering. “Residential properties with even numbered addresses or those ending with A-M** may water on Thursday and Sunday; properties with odd numbered addresses, those ending with N-Z*, or properties with no street address may water on Wednesday and Saturday, according to the City of Jacksonville. “Non-residential irrigation is only permitted Tuesday and Friday. Irrigation is not permitted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.” Be vigilant in making sure your lawn and garden are sufficiently watered. Earth Works lawn care division recommends two rain or watering events per week for a healthy lawn.

NOAA’s Meteorological Spring Precipitation Outlook

BE PREPARED FOR POSSIBLE DROUGHT

While Northeast Florida’s sub-tropical climate usually receives an abundance of rain in Spring, it can come all at once or not at all. For instance, Jacksonville had nearly twice the normal rain totals by this time last year compared to half the normal rate thus far this year. January and February normally receive 5.4 inches of rainfall in Jacksonville (Craig Field weather station), but for 2022 it was half that at 2.73 inches. Compare that to 9.64 inches of rain over the same period last year. Less rain was predicted by NOAA due to La Nina. “The Southwest will certainly remain a region of concern as we anticipate below-normal precipitation where drought conditions continue in most areas,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief, Operational Prediction Branch, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

BEWARE: CHINCH BUGS LIKE DROUGHT CONDITIONS

Drought conditions can increase the chance of chinch bugs infestation in your St. Augustine turf. Chinch bug season in North Florida is typically March through November. “Chinch bug damage can be confused with certain lawn diseases or other physiological disorders,” according to Texas A&M. “For example, brown patch is a common disease affecting the leaf blades of St. Augustinegrass. Brown patch symptoms, however, usually occur in a circular or semi-circular pattern, as opposed to the irregular-shaped areas of dead and dying grass that result from chinch bug feeding. Chinch bug damage also can be difficult to distinguish from that caused by drought.”

Droughts threaten the health of the lawn, garden, and homes due to the increased threat of wildfires. Florida’s wildfire season begins in March and typically ends in May or June as the rainy season ‘hopefully’ arrives. “Florida’s population has nearly tripled in the last century, and much of the growth has occurred in undeveloped areas,” according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “The trend has created a complex landscape known as the Wildland/Urban Interface, a set of conditions under which wild land fires move beyond trees and undergrowth to threaten neighborhoods. Ensuring a home is compatible with nature can help save it and the entire community when wildfire strikes.” Fire breaks with lawns forming a buffer of 30’ between wooded areas and homes are recommended.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services updates daily their map of the projected fire threat by the county.

An additional resource provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI). “The Keetch-Byram drought index (KBDI) is a continuous reference scale for estimating the dryness of the soil and duff layers, according to FDACS. “The range of the index is determined by assuming that there is 8 inches of moisture in a saturated soil that is readily available to the vegetation.”

Visit us at the Earth Works booth at the Jacksonville Home + Patio Show, Thursday – Sunday, March 3-6, at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville.

A great way to enjoy a Spring Day!
Stop by each Saturday in Spring for Sip & Shop. Enjoy a beautiful Spring Day while you sip on a cool beverage and browse among our beautiful plants, ponds, and pottery. Find your happy place this Saturday at Earth Works garden center!

Shop for beautiful flowers after hiking the trails at the Earth Works Pop-Up Plant Sale at the Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens on Saturday, Saturday, March 12, 2022.

For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden, and landscping need, contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online or at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions. 

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.