For The Answer
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
“October Landscape Tasks”
Now is the time to apply your lawn fertilizer for the autumn. Fertilizer applied now contributes to winter hardiness, and fast green-up in the spring.
Sandburs are evident in some locations after a relatively
sandbur free summer. The rains in July
and August allowed the burs to germinate.
If the plants do not have burs yet, kill them with MSMA in a
If the burs are evident, you will need to pull the plant. As the burs brown, it sometimes works to drag a carpet remnant over the area. The rug will pick up the mature sandburs.
It is generally too late to kill hot weather weeds with herbicides in October and too late to prevent cold weather weeds with a pre-emergent herbicide. The hot weather weeds are declining with cool weather. The best thing is to keep them mowed to reduce seed production. The broad leaf cold weather weeds such as thistle, bedstraw, dandelion, and henbit can be killed with a 2 – 4 D product like Wipe-out. The grasses are harder to control because the same herbicides that kill them will kill your lawn.
October is a good month to plant snapdragons, dianthus, petunias, calendulas, and stock in the sun. Wait until next month for pansies and cyclamen. In the vegetable garden, plant broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, kale, turnips, mustard, and rutabagas, beets, radish, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Wait until next month for spinach.
Keep your tomatoes well watered and fertilized. Control hornworms with a Bt product. Pentas, also are attacked by the hornworms. Spider mites should not be a problem as the temperatures cool, but if populations show up use seaweed extract. Spinosad or Bt will control the cabbage loopers on the cabbage related vegetable.
Now is a good time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Dig the hole for trees and shrubs the same depth as the container and two or three times as wide. Do not add organic material or potting soil to the hole. Use the native soil.
a shade tree, consider
Crape myrtles make good shrubs or small trees for full sun. Select the color and size you want by reviewing the posted list at your favorite nursery. Other good small trees are ornamental pear, oriental persimmon, loquat, and Mexican plum.
For shrubs in the shade, select from the hollies, nandinas, and viburnums. Standard pittosporum is also a good choice for a large shrub, but avoid dwarf pittosporum. It has a disease problem. The other species come in various sizes from small to large shrubs. For deer-resistant shrubs in the shade, choose from the viburnums and yaupon hollow or dwarf Chinese holly.
Autumn is good time to feed the birds. Sunflower seeds attract cardinals, doves, chicadees, titmice and American sparrows. Suet attracts woodpeckers, kinglets, jays, starlings, and other insect eaters. Goldfinches will eat sunflowers, but they are especially attracted to thistle seed.
To reduce the seeds eaten by squirrels and white-winged doves, use a steel feeder with a weight-sensitive perch that closes out these heavy hungry pests. Plenty of seed reaches the ground to keep them occupied.
While we are on
the topic of attracting birds, consider visiting the
One of the many events at the Fall Festival is the Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden Raffle. The main prizes are two custom built gardens on the site of your choice. The prize includes a design, plants, mulch, and compost, planting, and drip irrigation.
Buy the raffle tickets for $2 each or six for $10 at Milberger’s, Fanick’s, R&R Tractor (Boerne), Keller Material, Fertile Garden Supply, Green Haven Industries, Garden Ville, Allied Feed, Coopers (Floresville), Burns Nursery, Rainbow Gardens (Bandera), Rainbow Gardens (Thousand Oaks), Lockhill Feed, Antique Rose Emporium, Birds Unlimited, and Curious Naturalist (Schertz). You do not have to be present to win.