Fall in Austin: Time To Plant & Winterize!
Plant Those Perennials!
With the cooler weather comes the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs, clumping grasses and cold tolerant perennials. Spring planting is great too, but why not let your plants get a jump start on their root systems during the colder months?
Due to our (mostly) mild winters, most outdoor plants here in central Texas will continue to develop their root systems when our temperatures are above 40 degrees. And since most of them are dormant during the cooler months, they can spend all their energy getting those roots established. Then when spring is here, the plants will have all this energy to spend on regrowing their foliage and flowers!
Just because our days are getting shorter and colder doesn’t mean you can’t have a pop of color in the landscape. Don’t forget about adding some annuals to the yard while you’re waiting for your trees and shrubs to wake up! Ornamental kale and cabbage can last you into the spring while pansy, dusty miller, alyssum and cyclamen can all add color and texture to your beds during those gray days.
Check out this guide we put together on how to plant outdoor landscaping plants. It also includes important resources we use when referencing planting times and native plants! You can find more important info like this when visiting the store by scanning the QR codes found on our large signs. Check them out on your next visit!
Get Ahead Of Winterizing Your Plants & Landscaping
Mother Nature is getting ready to start sending us some cooler weather so now is the time to start prepping our plants! Here are a few steps and ideas to help our outdoor plants transition into the cooler weather.
- If you haven’t already been spraying your plants with liquid seaweed, this is a great time to start! Liquid Seaweed has over 90 components that help plants become more disease & fungal resistant, as well as making them better suited to withstand temperature changes. Spray a fine mist on plants every two weeks. This includes fruit trees and indoor plants! We recommend using a sprayer like this one (or this smaller version) to apply this to your plants!
- Make sure you have plenty of N-sulate Blankets and/or Plankets. These are plant freeze blankets and are a far better alternative than using tarps, sheets, or plastic! Plant blankets allow light and air through, but not moisture, so they can cover plants for longer periods without smothering them. N-sulate works by covering plants, then using heavy items like rocks to hold it down to the ground, trapping in the heat of the earth. Plankets work best for container plants because the bottom conveniently tightens around the pot, keeping the plant safe and warm.
- Native perennials, trees, and shrubs will all be able to withstand our winter weather. Most perennials will go dormant for the winter with our first hard frost, meaning the tops will brown but the root system will still be alive. Some trees, such as Crape Myrtles, will also go dormant. When they are completely free of foliage, this will be a great time to trim and shape. We carry all types of clippers, trimmers, and loppers. Feel free to bring in pictures of dormant plants and trees and we can help you to decide how and where to trim.
- It isn’t too late to lay down pre-emergent for your lawn. We carry Corn Gluten spreadable which is a great option and helps cut down weeds for the next season! To help your lawn for the winter, spread MicroLife Humates Plus and water in with Medina Soil Activator. This will help aerate the lawn, softening our hard, compact soils.
- It is time to spread Annual Rye Seed. This is a wonderful cover crop for lawns and garden beds. Rye will grow in sun or shade and will last until April. Just make sure not to put down in conjunction with Corn Gluten.
- When the night temperatures dip below the 45 degree mark, it is time to bring tropicals and houseplants inside. If the containers are large, or you don’t have a lot of help, plant caddies are a great tool! Having large pots on solid rolling casters makes moving pots into your home much easier!
- Before bringing your houseplants and other ornamental container plants inside for the winter, fertilize with MicroLife 6-2-4 and treat with Systemic Houseplant Granules. This way, no pests will come in and the fertilizer is good for the 2+ months the plants will be inside. If you wish to skip on the granular fertilizer, we suggest using a liquid fertilizer every other month during the slow growing months. These HastaGro or Microlife products are great liquid alternatives. Don’t forget to dilute them according to the labels on each product!
- When bringing your ornamentals inside, check the lighting for your plants. If your home has low lighting, we do carry Grow Lights. These lights are very high quality and come backed by our team members who have them on their plants at home!
Protecting Your Plants
A light freeze is between 32 and 29 degrees. A hard freeze occurs when the air temperature falls to 28 degrees or lower and then stays below 32 for long enough to freeze vegetation and cause ice formation in standing water. Here are some tips and tricks to protect your plants from a hard freeze!
Mulch your beds and around young trees! Place mulch 3-4 inches in beds as well. This will help to act as an insulator agains cooler temperatures.
Water ahead of predicted cooler weather! When there is a hard freeze, make sure to water all outdoor plants well, even deep watering young trees. This also acts as an insulator to the roots!
Cover with a N-Sulate or Blanket plant blanket during the hard freeze.
For any plant care and health questions, please come in to speak with a sales associate directly! They will show you everything you need! Be sure to bring in photos of your plants and landscaping to give them a good idea of what you’re working with!