FALL: Month by Month Gardening To-Do List
- first frost date for Collin County is November 15
- last frost date is March 15
- annual rainfall for Frisco, Texas is 39 inches
- number of sunny days per year Frisco is 230
- July high temperature is 96 degrees
- January low temperature is 33 degrees
PLANT: Petunias, dianthus, snapdragons, and mums for fall color. Wait on pansies until October when the daytime temps are not in the 90’s. You can plant or replace perennials and shrubs now, just be sure to follow up with proper watering. Container trees can be planted now, however, we will wait until mid-October to schedule the planting of balled and burlapped trees. Now is a great time to plant wildflowers from seed, and we carry a really nice selection of seeds from Botanical Interests®.
PRUNE: Trim shrubs as needed to shape, and you can also groom your perennials as needed if they are scraggly from their summer’s growth. Click here to download our How & When To Prune Perennials garden guide.
FERTILIZE: After pruning, apply one last feeding to your perennials with Color Star, ColorScapes, or any of our organic fertilizer choices. It’s time for the fall application of Texas Tee 6-2-4 fertilizer. This is a very important time of year to give everything – lawns, shrubs, perennials, and trees – a boost for fall. It’s organic and non-burning and helps rejuvenate your soil after summer. Use greensand on evergreen plants such as hollies, magnolias, and live oaks, to maintain a source of iron for healthy foliage. Dry molasses applied now will stimulate microbes in the soil that assist in making fertilizers work better and improve the health of your soil.
PEST: Check your crape myrtles for scale. We carry an organic solution – All Seasons Oil. Or we also carry a non-organic systemic choice – Bayer Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed. Fall webworms can also be a common occurrence. Bacillus Thurengensis (‘B.T.’) will control these organically. Ironically, one person’s pest is another’s pet, as we’ve had numerous people buying host plants to feed their caterpillars in the garden. So use ‘B.T.’ carefully … as it will kill these ‘pet’ caterpillars just as easily. Fall is a good time to apply beneficial nematodes to keep fire ants, grub worms, and fleas under control.
WATER: …as needed.
Remember water DEEPLY and less frequently on established plantings and turf grass. Newly planted plants should be hand-watered with a hose DAILY (or at least every other day) for the first couple weeks to help them establish.
LAWN: Keep mowing all turf about 2 ½ – 3” to maintain enough green leaf tissue to store up energy in the roots before winter. Apply Corn Gluten Meal in mid to late September for pre-emergent weed control. An early application of Weed & Grass Stopper with Dimension and Gallery pre-emergents can cut down on those pesky late winter / early spring weeds. If you have nutgrass popping up in your lawn and planting beds try SedgeHammer +, a turf herbicide that can eliminate this pesky weed.
- Fall’s cooler weather makes the soil microbes active again. Now is a good time to top dress beds with compost to enrich the soil and re-mulch with shredded bark. Trees planted last year or this spring can have their guy wires and stakes removed now.
- Put out plant markers to locate your perennials before they go dormant later this fall.
- Use a rain gauge to see how much rainfall you get at your house. If you receive a half-inch of rain or more, skip watering on your designated watering day.
- For Mosquito Control, put out Mosquito Bits and Mosquito Dunks to control the mosquito larvae.
PLANT: Fall really is the best time of year for planting!
- Annuals – plant pansies, ornamental kale, snapdragons, alyssum, dianthus, and mums.
- Perennials – Plant just about any of them! They’ll get established this fall and winter to flourish next year. Dig up, divide and replant spring flowering perennials such as daylilies, iris, shasta daisies and oxalis. These all benefit from thinning out clumps at least every 3 years. Share any surplus clumps with family, friends, and neighbors.
- Bulbs … Narcissus bulbs (Daffodil and Paper White) can be planted this month. Tulip bulbs will need to be chilled in the fridge and planted later in December.
- Wildflower seeds should be planted now if you have not done so yet.
- Shrubs and Trees
PRUNE: Shrubs and perennials to groom and shape. We like to leave perennials shaggy through the winter to provide seed and fruit for wildlife. If you prefer to tidy up your beds, use plant markers by your perennials to remind you where they are come spring
- If you did not use Texas Tee 6-2-4 in September, you can still apply it now.
- Blood Meal on pansies and other fall color will help them give their best blooms. Apply every 2-4 weeks through winter.
- Mix Bone Meal into the planting hole when planting your bulbs. This benefits the bulb’s fall root growth.
PEST: Fall is a good time to apply beneficial nematodes to control grubs, fire ants, fleas, and ticks. They help keep a natural balance between good and bad bugs in your soil.
WATER: …as needed. Hand water newly planted plants to get them established. Turn your sprinklers OFF and conserve water after we’ve had a rain of 1/2” or more during a weekly period. Use a rain gauge to monitor your rainfall.
LAWN: Watch for brown patch on St. Augustine lawns. This fungus prefers cool temperatures (50°-60°) and moisture to develop. Use Horticultural Cornmeal (not Corn Gluten Meal) or MicroLife™ Brown Patch 5-3-1 to prevent Brown Patch, and help cure it.
Rake and/or mulch leaves from your lawn to allow sunlight to continue to strengthen the grass’s food storage for the upcoming winter.
- Check your houseplants for hitch-hiking insect pests before you bring them in for the winter!
- Get out and enjoy the cooler temps and start changing your landscape this fall.
- Feed and water the birds in your garden.
- Mulch your planting beds before winter’s cold arrives.
PLANT: Plant winter color! Pansies, violas, snapdragons, dianthus, ornamental kale & cabbage, and cyclamen. Now is the best time to plant shrubs, perennials, vines, and trees. Planting them now allows them to root-in and become established before next summer’s heat.
FERTILIZE: Fertilize pansies and other winter color with Blood Meal and/or a slow-release organic fertilizer. Sprinkle over the top and water in every two weeks. Use Superthrive™ on newly planted trees once per month to get those roots established and growing.
- Prune trees, shrubs, and perennials as needed to keep things shapely. You can trim back old flower stalks and unsightly foliage on perennials if you are a tidy type.
- Wait on major tree pruning until trees are dormant – usually mid-December to mid-February. Call an arborist for major tree trimming.
- Remove the wires and stakes on trees that have been in the ground a year or longer.
- Hand water newly planted plants instead of running the whole sprinkler system. This concentrates the water where it’s needed most – and saves water. Once trees and plants have shed their foliage and gone dormant, they require less water.
- Water your plants once per week if we go two or more weeks without rain.
- Use a moisture meter to help determine how dry your soil is before you water.
- Run your sprinkler system manually to water your lawn if we get little to no rain in a 3-4 week time period. Remember, roots are still growing in winter. Don’t water during below freezing temps, which may create a safety hazard on pavements.
BUGS & BIRDS: Fire ants can mound up in cold, wet, weather. Use Come and Get It (a great organic bait).
Keep your bird feeders filled with seed and fresh water in the bird baths.
OTHER BITS: Remove the wires and stakes on trees that have been in the ground a year or longer.
Now is the time to transplant those perennials, shrubs, roses, and crape myrtles that seemed to be unhappy this past season in their current circumstances. Be sure to use Superthrive™ to help them get re-established in their new location.