Timely Tips: October 2014
Plant: Perennial ryegrass as overseeding for warm-season turf or where you have no lawn and would like to avoid mud in the house. Plant early in month. Fescue for permanent turf, primarily in Northwest Texas. Cool-season annuals such as pansies, pinks, snapdragons, Iceland and California poppies and flowering cabbage and flowering kale once temperatures begin to drop. Pansies especially tend to stretch and get lanky if planted when it’s still in the 90s. Buy sturdy, stocky plants, and set them out in mid-October. Daffodils and grape hyacinths can be planted this month. Buy tulips and Dutch hyacinths now, but refrigerate them at 45 degrees until mid-December. Watch for close-outs of nursery stock. Trees and shrubs planted now will be really well established before next summer. Finish transplanting spring-flowering perennials early in October. Replant into well-prepared garden soil at proper spacings.
Prune: Perennials by removing spent flower and seed stalks, dead and dying leaves. Dead limbs from shade trees while you can easily distinguish them. If you’re trying to bring hibiscus, bougainvilleas and other tropical plants indoors for the winter, trim them back and reshape them first. Continue mowing at same height you have mowed all summer. Letting grass grow tall does not improve its winter hardiness. In fact, it weakens the grass.
Fertilize: Apply a quality high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen lawn food early in month. Cut back on fertilizer you apply to patio plants if you’re going to bring them indoors for the winter. Apply a high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food to new bedding plants to get them off to quickest possible start.
On the Lookout: Check patio pots closely before bringing the plants indoors for the winter. Grub damage shows up as dying grass that has no roots intact. The C-shaped white larvae with legs should be readily visible beneath the sod. If there are four or more per square foot, apply Merit. However, it is unlikely that you will need to treat this late in their season. If dying leaves pull loose easily from St. Augustine runners, you’re probably seeing brown patch. Apply labeled turf fungicide, and water only in morning hours. Apply glyphosate spray to eliminate grasses and other weeds from areas you intend to develop into formal landscapes next spring. Plant Elbon cereal rye to entrap nematodes in flower, vegetable gardens. Plow under in late January.