Gardening This Weekend: October 5, 2017

I’ve made a list of the things that are most critical to your gardening success. Let’s take a look.


• Trees and shrubs to give them maximum time to establish before next summer’s heat. Watch for end-of-season sales as nurseries reduce their inventories before winter.
• Dig and divide spring-blooming perennials such as iris, daylilies, coneflowers, gloriosa daisies, thrift and others.
• Daffodils and grape hyacinths as soon as you buy them. Ask questions about how well the types that you’re choosing will “come back” year after year. Tulips and Dutch hyacinths must go in the refrigerator for 45 days (or longer) at 45 degrees.
• Pansies, violas, pinks, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage and kale for late fall, winter and early spring color. Choose pansies that are full and compact. Plants that have been exposed to high temperatures may have grown lanky.


• Continue mowing at recommended height until frost. Letting grass grow tall weakens it.
• Dig and remove roses infested with rose rosette virus. I have details at my website. This disease is rampant in the DFW area but not so much in other parts of Texas.
• Reshape houseplants you intend to bring indoors for winter on an as-needed basis.


• Newly planted winter color annuals with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food. Repeat weekly until frost.
• Fescue turf if that is your permanent lawngrass, with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer so it can take advantage of cooler growing conditions.

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• If you intend to develop new garden or landscape beds next spring, and if they currently have grass and weeds growing in them, apply a glyphosate herbicide now. It won’t contaminate the soil, but it must have warm conditions to kill out the unwanted vegetation. You’ll be able to rototill within a couple of weeks so that you can start working up the soils well in advance of late-winter plantings.
• Brown patch in St. Augustine. See related story this issue.
• Fall webworms in pecans, other shade trees. It’s easier to prune the webs out with a long-handled pole pruner than it would be to spray them. As late as it is in the season you may choose just to let them fall to the ground as the trees lose their leaves later this fall. They will probably do no further damage.
• Houseplants you intend to bring indoors for signs of insects. It’s better to eliminate them while they’re still outside.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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