Garden Checklist for Fall
– Fall is just around the corner. If you have an open area to be planted, now is the time to clean it and get it ready to go. If weeds have moved in, treat with an appropriate herbicide to kill them. Select one that will not contaminate the soil or damage the new plants you want to put in after the weeds are dead. Ask before purchasing, read the label, and follow any special instructions. Once the weeds are dead, remove, then add compost to the area, tilling or digging it into the soil. You can also add a supplement of plant food –organic or standard – and till it in with the compost for extra benefit.
– Purchase spring flowering bulbs while there is a good selection. All may be planted as soon as purchased except tulips and hyacinths. Chill tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the lower part of the refrigerator until late December before planting. Do not leave the bulbs in airtight bags during refrigerated storage. Plant bulbs in well prepared beds so that the base of the bulb is at a depth three times the diameter of the bulb.
– Roses can be trimmed and fed to encourage new growth.
– If you plan to save caladium bulbs, dig them in late October and allow to dry. Pack in dry peat moss, vermiculite or similar material and store in an area where temperature will be 55 to 60 degrees.
– Divide and reset perennials such as Shasta daisies, phlox, iris, daylilies, and violets. Then dig clump and separate or cut into sections. Reset the plants at the same depth level in their new location. Firm soil around them and water well. They will establish roots over winter and be ready for spring growth.
– Clean up the garden, removing annuals that have completed their life cycle. Remove spent blooms and tops of plants when frost has killed the leaves. This will reduce the insect and disease potential for next year’s garden. Cut back perennials that have finished flowering.
– Replenish mulch materials where needed. Ask the neighbors if you can have their fallen leaves to use for mulch or compost. Turn their discards into “brown gold” for your yard.
– Plant cool season vegetables: cabbage, onions, spinach, turnips, radishes, lettuce, Swiss chard. Set out transplants or grow your own from seeds. Perennial herbs can be planted now. Keep all transplants, vegetable or flowers, well watered. Monthly feedings of a nitrogen fertilizer will keep them vigorous and productive.
– Plant bluebonnets and other spring wildflowers in early fall so they can germinate and develop good root systems. When weather warms in spring, they will be ready to grow and bloom. Prepare your spot by lightly tilling the soil to loosen before planting the seeds. Most require full sun and good drainage.
– If your red-tipped photinias and Indian hawthorns have bright, red spots on the foliage, these are caused by the fungus called Entomosporium. Apply a fungicide such as Daconil three or four times from mid-October to late November if wet weather prevails. No fungicides should be applied during hot, dry periods. If possible, remove the fallen diseased leaves from around the plants. Severe infections can cause heavy defoliation, greatly reducing the landscape screening value. If watering is necessary, do it in the morning so that leaves can dry quickly. Extended leaf wetness encourages disease development.