Gardening This Weekend: October 27, 2022

As October rolls on out, here’s my list of top things to get done as time and weather permit.

Buy tulips and Dutch hyacinths immediately, then place them at 45 F. in the refrigerator for at least 45 days to give them artificial chilling. Without it in Texas they won’t bloom normally. Plant the second half of December.
Daffodils, summer snowflake and grape hyacinths as soon as you buy them. Choose daffodils and narcissus that have the best chance of “naturalizing” (blooming in successive years). Best types include Carlton, Ice Follies, Geranium, Cheerfulness, Golden Cheerfulness and other early and smaller-flowering types.
Pansies, snapdragons, pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale and other cold-hardy annuals. You’re seeing commercial landscapers doing this now. You and I need to follow suit soon.
Trees and shrubs so they can get their roots established before next summer. This is a great time for landscaping.

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Trim away spent flower stalks and dead leaves from perennials to tidy things up. As soon as first frost kills tops to ground trim off all the frozen tissues and apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of shredded tree leaves as mulch over the clumps.
Remove dead branches from shade trees while you can still identify them. It’s much more difficult when their branches are all bare.
Lawn at regular mowing height. Raising the blade does not help improve winter hardiness at all. Bag fallen tree leaves. Compost them or use them as mulch. Don’t send them to the landfill.

Newly planted cool-season annuals with diluted mix of complete-and-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer each time that you water them.
Ryegrass and fescue turf with a high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen lawn food. Use half the recommended rate for ryegrass that you’ve used to overseed bermuda or St. Augustine. Use the recommended rate for permanent fescue turf.

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Brown patch (now called “large patch” by Texas A&M) is turning circular areas of St. Augustine yellow, then brown. Blades pull loose from the runners quite easily. Azoxystrobin fungicide and other labeled turf fungicides will stop it.
Inspect patio pots and hanging baskets you intend to bring in for the winter for insects. Treat while they’re still outdoors.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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