Gardening This Weekend: November 12, 2020
Temperatures stairstep down as we progress through the fall. That lets our plants acclimate before it starts to turn really cold in December and January. Here are the tasks to finish while you still can.
• Daffodil, narcissus and jonquil bulbs, also grape hyacinths now. Virtually the last call to chill tulips and Dutch hyacinths for a total of 45 days at 45 degrees in the refrigerator. Plant them the last two weeks of December. They require this “pre-chilling” to develop normal flower buds and stalk heights.
• Cool-season color from annuals such as pansies, pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale and snapdragons. In South Texas add in English daisies, stocks, sweet alyssum, Iceland poppies, California poppies and wallflowers, among others.
• Trees and shrubs from nursery pots now. Garden centers have big sales going on, and the plants will be splendidly established by the time next summer arrives. Fall is the best time for planting!
• Continue mowing lawn at same height as you have used all the rest of the growing season. Raising the mower does not improve the lawn’s winter hardiness. In fact, allowing grass to grow tall actually weakens the grass and makes it more susceptible to invasion by weeds.
• Finish removing dead stalks, foliage from perennials.
• Do light shaping of errant growth of shrubs, vines, but save major pruning for mid-winter for evergreen species and after the blooming season for types that flower in spring.
• Ryegrass and fescue with all-nitrogen food now during its prime growing season.
• Pansies, pinks and other winter annuals with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food each time that you water them.
• Houseplants no more than monthly during short, dark days of winter.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Run fallen tree leaves through the mower, then use them as mulch around shrubs and perennials or put them into the compost pile. Do not send them to the landfill. They are too valuable a natural resource to waste in that way. Hats off to those cities that recycle yard waste and conserve valuable landfill space in the process!
• Clover, dandelions, chickweed, henbit and other cool-season broadleafed weeds are up and growing now. Spray them with a broadleafed herbicide (containing 2,4-D) on a warm day in November to eliminate them before winter weather makes it impossible. Your time is limited. Do not delay.
• Brown patch continues in St. Augustine turf across Texas. It shows up in rounded patches 18 to 24 inches across. By this late in the season, those patches may have grown together to be larger, irregularly shaped areas. Blades pull loose easily from runners. You will see decayed tissues at bases of leaf blades. Runners and roots remain healthy, so grass will rebound, but it is weakened and can be damaged by winter cold. Your local independent retail garden center or hardware store will have Azoxystrobin fungicide to control it.
• Use appropriate perimeter insecticides outside your home to stop invading pests that may be trying to enter for winter protection. Check weatherstripping and other places where they may be able to enter.