It’s autumn landscaping season in Texas. Now that the weather has cooled, it’s a perfect time to get outside and get your hands dirty doing what you love and beautifying your lawn and garden.
Autumn in Texas is an ideal time for cutting, cleaning and clearing your lawn and garden. It’s also a great time to fertilize and mulch, as these elements will keep your soil healthy over the winter. You’ll also need to add plenty of moisture, prepare your garden beds and plant your bulbs, winter veggies and other cool weather-loving plants.
If you’re still learning the ropes, never fear. While it may seem overwhelming, there are only five things you need to do to keep your outdoor space in good health over the cooler months. To keep your lawn and garden healthy read more about our five steps to success.
Cut, clean and clear
It’s time to hop on the riding mower or push your favorite push mower on a lower setting. Two and a half inches is recommended this time of year to keep your lawn short and healthy.
It’s also time to clip your flower bed for the following year. Some perennials can’t stand the cold. Check your Farmer’s Almanac or the online Farmer’s Almanac winter weather forecast to see if you’re getting a bad frost in your area this year. If so, you may want to consider clipping back some of your daintier perennials.
Plus, you should take this time to clear out your summer annuals from the garden bed to make room for new plants come spring. You’ll also want to clear the leaves and grass clippings from your lawn to add on top of your compost and underneath your mulch for an extra layer of warmth and fertilizer. Your spring garden bed will thank you.
Fertilize and mulch
Speaking of fertilizing and mulching, autumn is the best time to prepare your lawn and garden for the spring. It’s a great time to flip your soil, dig out dead areas and add a nice layer or two of fertilizer or compost and then a layer of mulch, dried lawn clippings and compost. This layer will help keep your garden soil healthy, keep weeds at bay and prepare for spring planting.
When it comes to the lawn, you should also fertilize while the weather is cool in late October and November. When you aerate in the spring, your fertilizer will already be well embedded into the grass and the rich soil beneath it.
If you insist on removing leaves from the lawn, place them in your garden beds as a natural fertilizer and mulch. You may also leave your leaves (without large branches) in your lawn and run them down with your mower. The bits of leaves will be small enough not to kill your grass, and since leaves naturally fertilize the ground, they’ll leave your yard healthier. However, leaving leaves isn’t for everyone. Sometimes there are just too many. Some people have dogs and don’t want messes to be hidden in a bunch of leaves. If you need to clear them for whatever reason, they can be added to your compost or to your garden bed, away from your lawn.
Water deeply and thoroughly
Now that the sun isn’t baking the ground, it’s a great time to water deeply and thoroughly. It’s also a great time to have your sprinkler system tuned up.
Be sure to allow a longer period of watering so the ground gets plenty of moisture before the weather gets cold. You will want one inch or more of thoroughly wet soil before the winter sets in, especially if you are planting autumn plants. Then, if you are in an area where you need to winterize your sprinkler system, you can go ahead and do so. While winterizing, have a professional check your system for any leaks or any other issues so you can be sure it will work properly in the spring.
Make your beds
Whether you prefer to plant directly on the ground or build a raised garden bed to keep wildlife away, now is the time to make your garden beds.
Garden beds are particularly easy to DIY. Just be sure to choose sturdy, unfinished wood if building a bed with lumber. Small garden beds can be made from unbleached cardboard boxes or small wooden boards. Modular, raised garden beds can be made from many materials including unfinished wood, recycled plastic bins or metal tubs.
Whatever materials you choose, once you’ve raised your garden bed, it’s time to compost and plant.
Exactly what can you plant in the fall? Many wonderful vegetables, shrubs, trees, bulbs and perennials! Autumn is a wonderful time for planting things that will thrive year-round.
In autumn, you can begin planting your cool weather vegetables. These include garlic, lettuce, onions, spinach and turnips. You can even start your seeds for beets and carrots.
It’s also a great time to plant new evergreen shrubs. If you plant Autumn Sage or Damianita in late autumn, their root systems will establish better than planting any other time of year. Be sure to keep them watered through the winter months to keep them green and healthy.
Late October and November are also perfect for planting new trees in Texas. In cooler weather, the tree’s roots will grow strong, preparing for spring growth and flowering.
October and early November are good months for planting perennials. Cooler weather keeps your plants happier, especially those that don’t do well in the hot Texas summer. You can plant just about anything right now. You might even consider sowing wildflower seeds like Indian Paintbrush and bluebonnets.
And don’t forget about bulbs. Daffodils, tulips, oxblood lilies, hyacinth and other bulbs will bloom beautifully in the spring. Be sure to read the directions when you buy your bulbs to plant them deep enough and keep your flower bed watered. You can even plant annuals now such as pansies and petunias.
Also, don’t forget to sit outside and enjoy the monarch butterflies and migrating hummingbirds! If you have bright autumn blooms, the butterflies and birds will love to visit your garden. Be sure to put out some nectar and a water source for them. And enjoy the fresh air, beautiful views, and autumn colors.