KTRH GardenLine Newsletter
September. 17, 2009 - Issue #132
Here's Randy's Weekly KTRH GardenLine Tip:
The idea for this week's tip sheet came courtesy of my nearly 3-year old daughter's Barney tape. There's a song about all the seasons, and in the part about fall the refrain is... "You can call it Fall if that's what you please, but I say I like autumn." I was scratching' the old noodle, wondering what I would make this week's email tip about, and while I was preparing to go out and plant some annuals and perennials, that Barney song was playing in the background. So, it was a sign to once again delve into the topic: Autumn is the best time to do landscape work!
Yes, the autumn months are here (don't laugh... its football season isn't it?) And I'll bet many of you weren't aware of this, but in Texas the end of September, October and November are considered probably THE BEST months for landscaping projects. Many plants can be set out now 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 months of September October and November as a landscaping re-do, is root establishment. And unless your backside is glued to the lounge chair watching football, I don't think you'll ever find weather as amenable as it is right now. Seriously, I did a ton of landscape work myself this past Tuesday, and I don't think the temperature ever got hotter than 82.
What if you aren't a do-it-yourselfer? Fear not, since almost every landscape company worth their salt in Houston also believes that this is the best time and best opportunities to revamp landscapes. And statistically speaking, you can usually get a better deal from landscapers at this time of the year, because not everyone knows as much as you know now. So, historically, some landscapers have offered price breaks during this time of the year.
When the weather breaks like it has recently it's also 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 if they can keep from holding any plant in stock during the winter, they'll be very happy.
And October is 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 last November through early January. This year's big Houston Bulb and Plant Mart is just around the corner as well.
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.