By PARKER COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS
Well, we survived another Texas summer. This one was not as bad as the past few years, and it is great to be able to get back outside in cooler temperatures to enjoy working in the garden. Fall is actually the best time to work in your garden to revive your existing landscape, as well as to think about new plants for the coming year. In this article, I will give you some tips on what to do in this perfect time of the year and suggest some plants for spectacular fall color.
Fall is the best time to reassess your landscape to see which plants really thrived and were enjoyable, and which ones did not perform so well. For those plants that performed well, you may want to think about multiplying them by root division, seed collection, or other propagation technique. Many plants propagate best in the fall. For the plants that did not perform well, ask yourself why? Perhaps your landscape has evolved, going from a sunny garden to one with more shade as your trees have grown. Maybe some plants have been affected by water restrictions, and you need to replace them with a more drought-tolerant variety. It could be that the plant is just not adapted to grow well in Parker County.
Once you have assessed the situation, you may find you need to replace some plants. Fall is the perfect time to plant shrubs, trees, spring flowering bulbs and many perennials. They will have a long cool season to establish a good root system before the heat of next summer. Also, plants are cheaper because many nurseries will be running specials to clear out their inventory before winter.
Fall is the perfect time to clean up your landscape and get ready for another year. Remove weeds from your beds before they go to seed. Reapply mulch to discourage weeds and help retain moisture. Prune your shrubs that need reshaping, and remove any dead or distressed limbs from trees and shrubs. Wait until December or January to prune Live Oak and Red Oak trees because of the threat of oak wilt fungus. Wait to prune herbaceous perennials such as flame acanthus, lantana, or Turk’s cap until after the first freeze. Then, prune these very close to the ground as no growth will occur on dead stems next year. Do not prune spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia or bridal wreath spirea. Wait until after they bloom next spring.