What to do Now for a Greener Lawn this Spring
Your fall landscape planning guide
By: Giuseppe Baldi, GM Baldi Gardens
Fall’s officially here, and although we’re still waiting on those cooler temps, the season brings with it many changes in your lawn and landscape.
Now’s time to start your lawn’s winter prep so you can have that greener lawn come spring. Your landscape shrubs, trees, and even your lawn should be coming out of their summer heat-induced dormancy, and you should be noticing quite a bit more growth than you’ve seen the last two to three months. With winter approaching, fall is an important time for plants and trees, and there is much for them to be doing this time of year. That includes establishing deeper root systems, hardening off any still-tender spring/summer growth, and storing carbohydrates to help them survive the colder months.
Timing of pruning, fertilization, and herbicide applications can be tricky to get right due to unpredictable North Texas weather. In other parts of the country, it is generally not recommended to fertilize or prune shrubs late in the season. This could encourage a flush of new growth that may not harden off before the cold wind begins to blow through, making for ugly ornamental plants.
With the mild winters, it’s typically not as problematic here as it can be further north. Generally, you should perform your last ornamental pruning and fertilization by late September or early October.
Pre-emergent applications are also a very important fall task if you don’t want a weedy lawn in spring.
These herbicides are designed to eradicate weeds before they have a chance to become large and unsightly. The timing for proper applications depends on soil temperature which is, again, very difficult to predict in our area. As a general rule, they should be applied in late September or early October. This application should prevent most spring weeds from coming up in your lawn. They will not, however, be effective on weeds that have already grown, for those you will need to apply a selective post-emergent herbicide.
Fall and winter, as we all know, bring with it tons and tons of leaves to rake up. This process is what brings about those wonderful fall colors, which can be as unpredictable as our weather. Since these leaves are comprised of natural materials it is a wonderful thing to mulch them into your grass, recycling them into fertilizer for your healthy, beautiful lawn.
Many people assume that spring is the best time to plant trees, sod and shrubs but, as with everything else, that may not be the case in North Texas. Because of our extreme summers and mild winters, fall is actually the safest time to plant.
When planted in the spring, plants don’t have much time to establish a healthy, deep root system before the summer heat and drought set in. Plants have a much better chance of survival when planted in the fall, as they have much more time to put down roots before summer since our winters are not as extreme.