As North Texans, we welcome fall with great joy. It brings cooler temperatures, October festivals and, usually, much needed rain. Fall is also a great time to give some well-deserved attention to your landscape. Here are six tasks to do now for a successful start next spring.
- Plant trees, shrubs, and flowering perennials. This allows time for roots to establish before the first freeze of the season. For the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the average first freeze is around November 22.
- Do light pruning. The shorter days and cooler temperatures of fall slow the growth of plants and makes it the perfect time to do some light pruning. Trim off tree limbs that are broken, damaged, diseased, or causing an obstruction. Prune over-growth of evergreen shrubs and remove spent blooms on flowering perennials. However, save any major pruning for the winter.
- Add a fresh layer of mulch. Spruce up your planting beds by adding a fresh layer of mulch and cover any bare spots to protect the soil. Fall is also a great time to plan and prepare new beds for spring planting.
- Top-dress turf grass with organic matter. A 1/4 inch layer of compost raked over the grass is a good way to improve the soil structure. Compost adds nutrients to the soil and helps the lawn recover faster in spring. Also, continue to mow the lawn, as needed, but don’t go too short. Taller leaf blades will encourage deeper root growth and increase cold tolerance for winter.
- Start a compost pile. Speaking of organic matter, now is the time to take up composting. Soon there will be plenty of leaves on the ground and plant clippings to feed your compost pile. Turning the compost pile once every 2-4 weeks will produce compost more quickly. And, as a bonus, the finished compost will be ready to use for new spring plantings.
- Follow the weekly watering advice. With the active growing season winding down, lawns and plants do not require as much water to stay healthy. Automatic irrigation systems should be run manually or on an as-needed bases. Due to natural rainfall, additional watering throughout fall and winter is typically not necessary. Check the weekly watering advice each Monday afternoon at www.SaveTarrantWater.com to help give your lawn only what it needs.