Gardening This Weekend: November 10, 2022

Our plants are getting toughened up for the winter ahead as temperatures drop little by little. That said, here are your important tasks for the next few days.

Cool-season color from annuals such as pansies, pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale and snapdragons. These are great in beds, also in large decorative pots near entries and on patios. In South Texas add in English daisies, stocks, sweet alyssum, Iceland poppies, California poppies and wallflowers, among others.
Daffodil, narcissus and jonquil bulbs, also grape hyacinths now. Continue chilling tulips and Dutch hyacinths for a total of 45 days at 45 degrees, planting them the last two weeks of December. They require this “pre-chilling” to develop normal flower buds and stem heights.
Trees and shrubs now. Nurseries have sales going on, and the plants will be established by the time next summer arrives. Fall is an outstanding time for planting.
Finish up plantings of ryegrass for temporary cover over the winter. It may be slow to germinate if temperatures turn cold.

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Trim patio plants lightly as you bring them indoors for the winter.
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.
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.
Finish removing dead stalks, foliage from perennials.

Pansies, pinks and other winter annuals with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food each time that you water them.
Ryegrass and fescue with all-nitrogen food now during its prime growing season.

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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.
Brown patch (now referred to as large patch by university plant pathologists) is showing up in St. Augustine turf across Texas. It appears in rounded patches 18 to 24 inches across. 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 has fungicides to control it.
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. Note: Do not leave fallen leaves on the lawn. They trap moisture and warmth and foster diseases.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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