Tips for transitioning to fall landscaping, gardening

The fall weather seems far away, but it’s time to switch to the fall landscaping and gardening. Fall is the best time of year to plant many landscape extensions such as trees, shrubs, and ground cover, but choices and inventory will be limited this year. Pick the plants that best suit the landscape’s needs and look out for them early – if they show up at the nursery, grab them ASAP.

Some good transition plants for fall are Bachelor's Button, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Marigold, Zinnia, Celosias, and Pentas.

To freshen up the landscape a bit for late summer, some good transition plants for fall are like bachelorette party, coreopsis, cosmos, marigold, zinnia, celosia, and pentas. Whenever possible, buy plants that have buds but no flowers – full flowering plants won’t establish as well as plants that only have buds.

Autumn fertilization of the lawn is important as it improves winter hardiness and the grass recovers healthy in the next spring. Nitrogen fertilizers should only be made available when there is active growth and sufficient water; Don’t fertilize now when it’s so hot and dry. But September is a good month for one last lawn fertilization. Don’t wait past October 1st or there may be a lot of new growth that doesn’t have time to harden before the frost. A soil test is the best way to find out how much fertilizer is needed. More information is available at http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/.

Beans, pentas and hydrangeas are featured in this home garden.

The landscape grass that I get the most questions about is khakiweed, a warm season perennial that grows flat to the ground and forms a prickly burdock that breaks open and clings to everything. The most important factor in keeping khakiweed at bay is to have something that will occupy the soil – it will thrive in bare spots and thinned lawns. Thick healthy lawn grass, deep mulch, ground cover, etc. will greatly reduce the khakiweed population. On large existing plants, use gloved hands to locate the taproot and pull it up; smaller, actively growing young plants can be controlled with a herbicide that contains a combination of several active ingredients such as 2,4-D with Mecoprop, Carfentrazone, Dicamba or Metsulfuron (e.g. Fertilome brand ‘Weed Free Zone’).

Nitrogen-rich, slow-release fertilizer should be applied every four to six weeks through August to feed grass.

The Master Gardener’s Fall Landscaping Symposium will take place on Saturday, September 11th. Pre-registration is required, visit https://txmg.org/conchovalley/ for details and registration. If you have any questions, call the Extension Office at 325-659-6528.

Allison Watkins is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent for the horticultural sector in Tom Green County. Contact them at aewatkins@ag.tamu.edu.

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