HORTICULTURAL ACTIVITIES FOR FALL
Fall is a busy time for gardeners. The weather cools down and
the plants burst into active growth after their summer lethargy.
Here are some timely tips to get your landscape and garden in
-These days are ideal cleanup days--get a head-start on early
falling leaves, destroy what is left of summer weeds before they
provide seed for next year's crop in the garden--cut away or dig
out that misplaced seedling tree and give the hedge its final
clipping for the year.
-Still time to plant: snap bush beans, beets, 'Green Magic'
broccoli transplants (in late October or early November), Brussels
sprouts, cabbage, carrots, Swiss chard, collards, cucumbers, garlic
(cloves), kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard, parsley, southern peas,
radish, spinach transplants (Coho in November), summer squash
-If tomatoes haven't been planted, consider container culture
as a surefire production technique. See: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/misc/container.html
-WHEN, not if, green loopers are present and eating on your
broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower, control with Bacillus thuringiensis
(Bt) products mixed with two teaspoons of a liquid soap per gallon
-Plant strawberries transplants in October or November. See:
-Protect foliage of fruit trees with periodic insect and fungus
sprays. Water adequately. Remember that foliage this year produces
fruit for next year. Yellowing foliage can be corrected with Fertilome
Iron Plus or Greensand.
-After temperatures cool in late October and November is an
ideal time to put in transplants of cold-hardy annual flowers.
You may get some blooming this fall, but they will certainly grow
over the winter then bloom like gang-busters early next spring.
My favorites include Dianthus (pinks), ornamental cabbage and
kale, pansies, petunias ('Laura Bush' variety is the best but
risky for Hill Country region), phlox, Shasta daisies, snapdragons,
stock and violas. Don't forget the wildflower planting described
-Stake mums through growing season when necessary. Don't divide
crowded mums until spring.
-Divide oxalis, bearded irises, daylilies, perennials, daisies
and cannas. Apply small amounts of fertilizer around tomatoes,
peppers and eggplants after fruit has reached golf ball size.
-Powdery mildew season is here. Check crapemyrtle, evergreen
Euonymus and zinnias. Ortho Funginex or Greenlight FungAway will
usually give excellent control. Read and follow all label directions.
You should consider removal of disease susceptible crapemyrtles
and replace them with resistant varieties. Decide how large you
want the crapemyrtle to ultimately grow and what color you want,
then find that exact variety in the listings at:
-Continue to feed and water mum plantings until the flower buds
show color. Prepare new rose beds for winter or early spring planting.
Locate the proposed roses in morning sun in a well-drained soil.
Collect dried materials for winter bouquets. Learn how to care
for roses and the best rose varieties at:
-Okay to prune out dead or diseased wood right now from trees
and shrubs. Hold off any major removal of healthy tissue until
January or February as doing so at this time will only stimulate
tender new growth that could be damaged by frost.
-Early autumn is an ideal time to make landscape plans. Select
additional trees and shrubs needed for the landscape. Choose plants
which will best do the job intended. Be sure each plant has a
function in the total landscape plan. Choose ONLY from the list
-Prepare spring flowering bulb beds for planting this fall.
It's important to cultivate the soil and add generous amounts
of organic material (grass clippings, leaves, compost, well-rotted
manure, etc.) to improve water drainage. Bulbs will rot without
-It is time to select spring bulbs for late October and November
planting. It is time to plan for the spring beauty of daffodils,
jonquils, narcissus, Dutch iris, Dutch hyacinths, grape hyacinths
and anemones for next spring. Spring bulbs should be planted in
late October and November so the roots become well established
before they send up their flower buds. Select bulbs now. Keep
them stored in a cool, dry location until the beds are well-prepared
and planting time arrives. See the information at: http://www.plantanswers.com/garden_column/oct_02/2.htm
-The secret of success with tulips here is to pre-chill the
bulbs before planting in late November and December. Place the
tulip bulbs in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for 45 to
60 days before planting. Our winters are not cold enough to trigger
the biological clock to initiate the tall stems and good, colorful
blooms. Do not freeze the bulbs and plant them as soon as they
are removed from storage or all your efforts will be in vain.
Some nurseries are offering pre-chilled bulbs.
-Continue to mow lawn at regular cutting height (2 ½
inches for St. Augustinegrass, 1 inch for Bermudagrass and zoysia
-Don't attempt to plant Bermuda grass seed after September 15,
as it will seldom develop a root system strong enough to withstand
freezing temperatures. Okay to plant Bermuda or St. Augustine
sod on into the fall if it's watered regularly, however.
-Hold off fertilizing established St. Augustine or Bermuda lawns
until late October or early November. Fertilization now could
make your grass more susceptible to a common fungus disease in
this area called brown patch.
These and other ideas for fall planting can be found simply
by reading the monthly column titles of articles written by Dr.
Calvin Finch and me at: http://www.plantanswers.com/garden_columns.htm
You can also check the monthly garden calenders at: http://www.plantanswers.com/garden_calendar.htm
So don't let one of the best times to garden in Texas pass you
by just because you just didn't remember what to do and when to