March Gardening Chores

Last week, I took four days off and took my wife and my college age kids to Vegas. I’m quite certain my kids would have enjoyed the edgier side of Vegas if it weren’t for their fuddy duddy parents.

We don’t gamble, but the last time I was in Vegas was about ten or so years ago and the slot machines in the casinos made a raucous sound of ding, ding, ding when the quarters paid out. Today, it’s impossible to play a slot machine with money, it’s all plastic. Boy do I feel like an old relic, I miss the sound of the quarters.

Since gambling wasn’t on the menu, I had ample time to take a look at the landscape plants that Vegas grows especially those on the Strip. It became apparent to me that we Wyomingites have more choices of plants to use in the landscape than Vegas ever thought of. I saw about three types of palm trees, about 5 different deciduous trees and shrubs and about the same for evergreen trees and shrubs. Ho hum.

But you’re not reading this article to glean growing tips for Vegas! Wyoming is waking up and there are lots of gardening activities to get going on. So let’s get started:


Get a jump on spring and plant your cool season veggies now. I’m talking beets, spinach, peas, kale, turnips, carrots and radishes. These veggies love the cold of early spring. Repeat planting every ten days or so.


Cut back your ornamental grasses. Your ornamental grasses have been standing tall all winter and now they need a hair cut in preparation for them to grow again. Basically cut all ornamental grasses back to four to six inches above the ground. Ornamental grasses fall into two categories: cool season and warm season. The cool season grasses are already beginning to grow while the warm season grasses don’t wake up till sometime in May.


The evergreens, especially pines and junipers, around central Wyoming took a severe hit of intense cold back in early November causing the cells within the needles to freeze, expand and burst. Today there are a lot of sad, burnt red evergreens in gardener’s landscapes. We really don’t know how these evergreens will respond to this stress until sometime in late May-early June when they normally begin growing for the spring. For those of you sick at looking at red evergreens and are ready to pull them out: I’ve got an easy tip for you. You don’t need to pull roots out of the ground, simply cut the trunk off with a saw as close to ground level as possible. These evergreens will not re-sprout.


Time to kill weeds. Already the first flush of weeds has emerged. Now is an easy time to kill these weeds either with herbicides or with a hoe. If using herbicides, wait for a warm day of around seventy degrees and little wind to apply. These herbicides work most effectively when the temperature is warm. For choosing the right herbicide for your needs contact your local garden center.

Spring in Wyoming is an endurance contest between snow and cold followed by warm sunny days. Enjoy your sunny days out in the garden!

Originally published in the Casper Star-Tribune, March 29, 2015