Gardening This Weekend: October 6, 2022

Nurseries have been proclaiming that “Fall is for Planting” for several decades. Let’s join in that chorus. This is a great time to be a gardener in Texas!

Pansies, violas, snapdragons, pinks and ornamental cabbage and kale for winter color. Wait until temperatures are securely down into the 70s and 80s in the daytimes. South Texas gardeners may want to wait a few more weeks, but you’ll also be rewarded by having even more types of plants for winter color in your more moderate climate.
Ryegrass seed for green turf in winter (but not if you applied pre-emergent herbicide last month).
Trees and shrubs. Fall planting gives them months to establish new roots before summer.
Spring-flowering perennials should be dug and divided soon. The list includes violets, oxalis, candyturf, thrift, iris, daylilies, Shasta daisies, coneflowers and many more.

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Dead branches from trees and shrubs to prevent them from breaking over the winter. It’s much harder to distinguish them from bare living branches once leaves have fallen.
Remove spent flower stalks and browned foliage from perennials.
Mow to remove fallen leaves including those brought down by honeydew of aphids. (See related story this issue.) Bag to be able to put them into the compost or use as mulch beneath shrubs and around perennials. Do not send them to the landfill.
Dig and remove roses infested with rose rosette virus, roots and all. Leaving plants in place allows the virus to spread to others’ roses. Here is information on RRV that I’m leaving archived on my website.

New pansies and other winter color plants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food for quickest start.
Fescue turf in Northwest Texas (where it’s best adapted) with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer. It grows in fall’s cooler weather.

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Dry plants. Trees and shrubs aren’t necessarily dropping their leaves because it’s autumn. Many are very dry. If it’s been more than 7-10 days since your area has had rain (very likely), soak the plants deeply. Plants that are kept properly hydrated survive extreme winter weather much better than plants that are kept too dry.
If they are still actively feeding, prune fall webworms out of pecans, persimmons, mulberries and other trees with long-handled pole pruner. Spraying isn’t efficient. Do not attempt to burn them out (way too dangerous). They are mostly cosmetic. Your trees will survive them just fine.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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