Gardening This Weekend: October 3, 2019
Here are the things I’m going to try to get done as the weather shifts from summer’s heat to fall’s much more tolerable cooler temperatures.
• Pansies, violas, pinks, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage and kale for late fall, winter and early spring color.
• 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.
• Trees and shrubs to give them maximum time to establish before next summer’s heat.
• Reshape houseplants you intend to bring indoors or into the greenhouse (hopefully not the garage – that’s a last choice) for winter on an as-needed basis.
• Continue mowing at recommended height until frost.
• 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.
• Just about last call for applying high-quality, all-nitrogen or high-N lawn fertilizer (upwards of half its nitrogen in slow-release form) to lawn and landscape plants to prepare them for winter.
• 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.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• 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 is likely to develop in St. Augustine lawns now that it’s turning cooler. If we get rains with the cooling, that’s when brown patch will be most likely. Look for yellowing blades in round patches 18 to 24 inches across. The blades will pull loose from the runners with just gentle tugs. Treat with an approved turf fungicide as soon as you see these symptoms. The grass will green right back up again. Brown patch is not fatal.
• Most tree and shrub insect pests do not justify spraying this late in the season. There isn’t time for the plants to regrow healthy new leaves before frost. Just make note of what hit them and watch for it earlier next time around.