Gardening This Weekend: November 3, 2022

It can be cool and cloudy this time of the year, or it can be absolutely wonderful for working outdoors. We take our workdays as nature provides. Here are the critical tasks.

Last call for sowing ryegrass seed for winter cover. You may have to water a couple of times to get it started.
Trees and shrubs from the nursery. Inventories are going to start shrinking quickly. If you want to take advantage of fall planting to give them a head start on getting established, you must get them planted now.
Daffodils, narcissus, jonquils, grape hyacinths and summer snowflakes now. This is just about your last chance to put tulip and Dutch hyacinth bulbs into the refrigerator to give them their 45 days of “pre-chilling” before planting them into the garden toward the end of December. Without the treatment they will not flower properly in Texas.
Pansies, pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale and other cool-season annuals now. For the record, planting in large pots allows you to get them up and out of the way of rabbits, a common problem. However, they’ll also be more vulnerable to cold damage in extreme weather because their root systems will be exposed.

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Dead and damaged branches from trees, shrubs and vines. I’m seeing dead branches falling from trees that were hurt badly by the cold of February 2021. Have them removed before they do damage.
Mow lawn regularly to keep fallen leaves picked up. If they compact atop the grass they will encourage development of diseases. Use the leaves as a mulch beneath shrubs or put them into the compost.
Stubble from perennial garden, leftover vegetables and annual beds. Shred it all and put it into the compost pile.
Patio plants to reshape them before bringing them inside for the winter.

Cool-season annual color with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food to get plants off to a quick start.
Compost pile with nitrogen fertilizer to supply microorganisms with the nutrition they need to speed the decay process.
Cool-season grasses fescue and rye with a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer. They are able to utilize the nitrogen in cooler soils. It is too late to feed warm-season grasses.

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Fire ants have shown up quickly following last week’s rains. Use area-wide baits for best long-lasting control. Individual mound treatments are better where people and pets are likely to encounter the ants along walks and patios.
Brown patch (now being referred to as “large patch” by university specialists) in St. Augustine. Look for browned circles of turf. As the disease develops, the circles may meld together. Apply Azoxystrobin fungicide to stop its development.
Spray broadleafed weeds (those that aren’t grasses, including henbit, clover, dandelions, thistles and chickweed) with a broadleafed weedkiller containing 2,4-D. Read and follow label directions for the best results. You need to make this application before temperatures turn really cold in a few weeks. Your next opportunity won’t come until February or March. Note: spring wildflowers are also broadleafed plants, so you must not apply these products where wildflowers are growing.
Last call to apply glyphosate-only herbicide (no other active ingredient) to turf areas to eliminate grass and weeds where you want to establish a new lawn come very early spring. You will have to prepare the soil before you will be able to use sprays in January or February (too cold).
Houseplants you’re bringing indoors to be sure you don’t carry pests inside with them. Watch especially for whiteflies, mealybugs and scale insects, and treat while you still have them out on the patio or in the garage. Be on the lookout for fire ants and roaches that may have moved into their potting soil.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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