September is here. We begin to think fall around this time of year. The normal things in fall are back to school, football, music festivals and spending evenings outside with friends. Fall is the unsung savior of the landscape world. It’s one last hurrah for your landscape before winter takes over. The season marks the end of the summer’s heat and drought. For those last weeks of September, October and November your lawn and plants can thrive again.
You may have heard that fall is the best time for planting and it’s true: the mild weather makes it ideal for planting trees and shrubs, since lingering warm days and increased precipitation are key for a new plant growth. I love to plant this time of the year because plants have time to get a little growth up top and, more importantly, down below where it counts.
The shrubs and trees planted should get some root stimulator or a slow release organic fertilizer with a high middle number which is phosphorus. These plants don’t have to move right into the heat like ones planted in the spring. Instead the fall planted landscape will start their new lives by going into shorter days, more rain, less stress. From winter they will slowly come out of dormancy in the springtime and be more prepared for the summer months ahead. The plants do better and the work for you is easier.
Your lawn is the same, getting a high middle number fertilizer helps the roots get stronger and you will notice a thicker, healthier lawn next spring if you will get a winterizer applied before it goes dormant in October. Keep in mind that a thick, healthy lawn leaves less room for weeds to creep in during the winter months.
I am going to top dress all of my beds with cottonseed meal this weekend. Cottonseed meal is a very slow release fertilizer and soil conditioner that can really make a difference in the health of your yard. I like it because it is inexpensive, it doesn’t burn plants, and it promotes healthy foliage and fosters profuse and spectacular blooms. I have two 50 pound bags which I think is going to disappear quickly. I’m going to see how much more I’ll need. I’m going to use about a cupfull worked into the soil for each good size shrub and more for the trees. There is no telling how many more bags I’ll need. I’ll be listening to a lot of music for a couple days while I get that done.
The old-timers swear by cottonseed meal, I’m going for it.
September and October typically are the dryer months. I like to get my big stuff done during the dry times. With the dryer ground trucks and equipment can move across my lawn without making me too crazy.
This fall we are having some trees removed and our tree guy will clean out dead branches and suckers from the big oak trees. We will work on the arch that is taking shape from my 40-year-old Live Oaks lining the driveway. We will groom our giant Vitex trees into that African Sahel tree shape we love. Some of the our debris pile that builds up over the year will be hauled off. We do this maintenance every fall. The results are beginning to really show. With the dry ground we will have the truck come in that pumps the septic tank. We are bringing in loads of topsoil to raise some sections of the yard in order to build retainer walls from natural stone. At the same time we will add a seawall to the pond where our yard is sloughing off into the water. We will replace the gutters on the house in an effort to improve a drainage situation. There will be a lot of traffic on my lawn so I’m trying to end up with as little damage as I can by having all this happen when it should be dry. Of course since I have all these Big Plans, it’ll probably rain.
I guess we like to have a lot going on at one time,, but I am so excited to see the changes coming to the yard, plus the changing weather.
This is when Mimi and I will prune all of the roses for one more flush of blooms. It takes exactly 45 days to get them blooming again after a good pruning so we will be looking for one more good rose show around mid October, I think it will look like spring again for those last few weeks.
We are already lining up all the crazy pumpkins and gourds for you to decorate your house with. I love using those great colors with a healthy green background in the yard. That stuff looks great on the front porch but we use them in the landscape for the view from the kitchen window. The colors really sing when the leaves begin to turn yellow and red around the yard.
I enjoy fall more than any other season for all of those reasons but I don’t forget to up my irrigation system for this last dry hurrah. Put your yard to bed this winter as healthily as you can by using plenty water and an organic slow-release fertilizer; the difference next spring will amaze you.
I believe this is the time to lace up your boots with this Covid thing and not let your guard down. Keep yourself healthy and most of all help someone who may be feeling overly anxious or fearful of this dreadful virus and all the changes that are easier for some people then others to endure. Our yards are the one place where all that fear and anxiety can not be allowed in. Make it yours.