Fall. The time to breathe a deep sigh of relief now that mother nature’s turned the thermometer reading from molten to mild. Now that the outdoors have become welcoming once more, there’s work to do in the yard. Break out the shovels, gardening gloves, and wheelbarrows and tackle these six lawn and garden tasks to complete this fall.
1. Fall Planting
If you’ve been eyeing some new shrubs or trees, now is the time to get them into the ground. Autumn planting gives them a nice, mild window of time to establish strong roots and transition to their new homes. Take your time and do it properly to give your plants the chance to flourish.
2. Adjust Irrigation
With the arrival of cooler days, plants won’t be as thirsty as they have been over the summer. If you have an automatic irrigation system with a controller, now’s the time to make some adjustments for less frequent watering. Plants in containers will also need far less water than they did last month, so ease up on the watering can.
3. Turf Treatment
Lawns take a tremendous beating from the long, hot months of summer. It’s not uncommon to see bare or thin areas of turf right now. Fall is prime time for treating the lawn. Some core aeration, top-dressing, and overseeding, and your grass will be thick and green come spring. Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda or centipede can be overseeded with annual ryegrass for a little winter boost. Think of it as a soothing spa facial for your lawn.
4. Costume Change
Summer annuals will be a little worse for wear by now, which means it’s time to replace them with fresh cool-weather annuals. Nourish your garden beds with some organic compost or slow-release fertilizer. This will set the stage for a show-stopping winter display. Use a pitchfork or tiller to loosen the soil before planting, and then after planting top it all off with a uniform mulch. While you’re at it, fall is also the time to plant native Texas wildflowers. Come next April, you’ll pat yourself on the back as a blanket of beautiful bluebonnets, Indian blankets, and purple cornflowers rise to greet you.
5. Sow Some Greens
As you begin to pull up your tomatoes and peppers, you must remember that this is Texas where we are blessed with year-round gardening. Fall is the perfect time to sow some seeds for your favorite greens. Collards, kale, mustard greens, turnips, and lettuce are all more than happy to grow through fall and into winter.
6. Compost Your Leaves
Cleaning up the yard and garden becomes a serious, ongoing job throughout fall — depending on how many trees are on your property. Once the kids have finished jumping into leaf piles, rather than bagging them up and putting them out on the curb, blow them into a pile and turn them into garden gold: compost. In a discrete corner of the yard far from the house, make a pile of leaves alternated with grass clippings or any other green material. Top it off with a few shovels of soil and some organic fertilizer and give it a little watering on weeks with no rain. If you turn the pile periodically with a pitchfork, you’ll have crumbly, dark finished compost by the time spring rolls around.
Unlike our northern states, fall brings Texans sweet relief. We’re finally able to kick back and relax outside without breaking a sweat. If you take care of these six fall tasks early on, the remaining months of autumn can be spent basking in the yard you’ve worked so hard on.
About The Author
Francesca Singer is a landscape architect who is passionate about plants, gardening, and home improvement. When not writing, she can be found working in the garden, wrangling her toddler, or wielding power tools in Texas or rural France.