In November we start to experience colder temperatures and usually our first frost of the season. The average first frost day for our area is November 15th. While many plants above ground are moving into a dormant state for winter, there are still many important gardening tasks to be completed in and around the garden.
If you lost plants this summer due to the excessive heat and are looking to replace them, fall is the best times of year to replant. All horticultural professions are in agreement on this point - FALL IS FOR PLANTING. Trees and shrubs planted this time of year get their root systems established for better spring growth and blooming. Plus, it greatly improves their chances of surviving our hot Texas summers.
Preparing your plant and vegetable beds in the fall ready for spring is recommended. Using compost, manure and dried molasses to improve the quality of your soil will give your plants a big head start in the new year. At Cedar Creek Lake there are several different soil types. If you have heavy clay, use expanded shale or lava sand to break up the soil and improve drainage. For sandy soils, amending with compost will improve the soil structure and help hold moisture.
If you are looking to have bright vibrant colors in your home for the holidays or in your landscape in spring, think bulbs. Daffodils, tulips, paperwhites, amaryllis and hyacinths are all available now for planting. Bulbs, especially daffodils, look spectacular in the landscape when planted in clumps or groups rather than standing alone.
According to the Dallas Arboretum, single late tulips grow best in North Texas. They should know, they plant over 400,000 each year! Recommendations include Menton, Blushing Girl and Maureen. Tulips are best chilled in the refrigerator for 4 - 6 weeks before planting to ensure the best flowers.
If you have tropical plants like hibiscus, bougainvillea, palms or citrus fruits that are not winter hardy, remember to bring them inside before the night temperatures get too cold. When inside find a sunny location and continue to water but less often.
Pruning is recommended at this time of year. Pruning trees and shrubs serves two purposes - to remove dead branches that are an entry point for unwanted diseases and insects and to shape and beautify the look. Use sharp pruners and a pruning sealer to protect the cut. Perennials should be cut back to the ground after the first frost.
If your lawn is a warmer season grass like St Augustine or Bermuda it will start to go dormant this time of year. Cut back on watering to prevent fungus and disease from developing.
"McDade's Newsletter is most informative. I forward it to my friends in Texas"