I make this point every year at the start of October that I bet many of you weren't aware of this, but the months of October and November, are considered to be THE BEST month for landscaping projects. It can be brand new landscape jobs, or revamping of existing landscapes. Many plants can be set out in the beds and their roots have plenty of time to still establish before what we know of as winter comes rolling along. It doesn't matter how ragged the leaves of a transplanted tree look, or even if they lose all their leaves upon transplant. The most important thing in using the month of October (as a landscaping re-do) is root establishment. Unless your backside is glued to the Lazy Boy, watching football continuously, I don't think you'll ever find weather more comfortable to work in.
What if you aren't a do-it-yourselfer? Fear not, since almost every landscape company that actually knows what they are doing also believes that October and early November can be one of the best opportunities to revamp landscapes, they are ready to get busy working for you today. And statistically speaking, you can usually get a better deal from landscapers at this time of the year.
October is the perfect time to be replacing plants lost due to this summer's drought, or for that matter gardening negligence. Plus, most nurseries have the lowest prices of the year on plant material. I don't think I'm giving away any industry secrets, but the nursery doesn't want to keep their stock in pots during the winter months. But if you get them planted into raised beds, they stand a much better chance of making it through the winter. As noted above, the shrubs don't have to look specimen-perfect for transplanting in the autumn months because it's all about root establishment. If you get them established in fertile beds now, they will reward you in the spring with robust growth.
October is also bulb-buying month. They are in fresh supply, and provide welcome late winter and early spring color for the yard. Bulbs that can be planted right after purchasing include daffodils and the smaller flowered jonquils, species tulips and grape hyacinths. The larger showy tulips and hyacinths need to be refrigerated at least 45 to 60 days to provide enough chilling to bloom properly next year. Plant them anytime from late November through early January. This year's Houston Bulb and Plant Mart at the Westminster United Methodist Church (Bering & San Felipe) will be Thur., Fri. and Sat., October 12-14.
It's also time to start thinking about the "winterizing of the yard." As some of you may have seen on a recent segment I did for Great Day Houston on Channel 11, October and November gives us a huge two-month window for winterizing. I suspect in the next two weeks I will get into more detail about the winterizing, but for now to the GardenLine Lawn Fertilization Schedule at and know that the two most important things we should be doing in October and November are the winterizing fertilizer and the pre-emergent herbicide.
Finally, if all this seems like too much work for you, at the very least please use the autumn months to revamp your mulch in the bed. At least it will look a little like you've done some work to the landscape. And the ultimate benefit of the mulch addition is to protect root systems from future cold weather, prevent weeds and conserve precious moisture.
Be sure to check out Randy's event page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.
And you can still purchase a copy of my new book
Until our next issue, here's to great gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings 8 a.m.-noon on TALKRADIO 950 KPRC.
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