Summer’s Gone. Now What?

Now that the summer heat has passed, it is time to look forward to autumn and the cooler months. Most people think about replacing annual color or rotating to fall vegetable crops in the garden, but there are many other things to do in the fall season. These include planting or dividing bulbs, planting cool-season herbs, fertilizing, overseeding the lawn, planting woody plants and planning.

For those with bulb plants in the landscape, fall is a wonderful time to divide and plant or replant them. Keep in mind that if these plants bloom in the fall, you should wait until they are finished before digging them up. Planting bulbs in the landscape is a wonderful way to add interest or pops of color to a landscape throughout the year with little effort. Bulb plants, such as callas, elephant’s ears, daffodils, amaryllis, crinums and daylilies, all add various colors and textures to any garden space. Many of the spring-blooming bulbs — if planted soon — could even flower this coming season.

Cool-season herbs are another fun thing to grow to keep the garden going if fall vegetables are not wanted. Herbs like mint or rosemary can be planted year-round, and some of our warm season herbs like basil keep producing if you trim off the flowers or allow them to flower and seed so seed can be collected for next year’s planting. There is also a wide variety of herbs that like cooler, drier weather, including parsley, sage, thyme, dill, cilantro, oregano, borage, fennel, chives and catnip.

Fall is also a great time to fertilize one last time, be it winterizing the lawn or giving woody plants in the landscape one more boost of fertilizer for the year. Both can have a wonderful effect come spring. With woody plants, such as trees and shrubs, this application gives them the nutrients to help them come out of winter stronger. As for turf applications, a winterizing fertilizer could be applied. This application should be made before the lawn goes dormant and should contain a high rate of potassium (K) and lower rate of nitrogen (N), something like a 10-0-14 fertilizer.

Fertilizing is not the only option for the winterizing the Southern lawn. Overseeding with annual ryegrass can be done in October and November to provide a lush green lawn throughout the fall and winter months. This annual rye seed should be applied evenly at a rate of 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. A light application of slow-release lawn-blended fertilizer can also be applied to lawns that are overseeded, with the first application around Thanksgiving for north Louisiana and a second application about seven weeks after the first.

This is also the time to plant woody perennials. This includes the trees and shrubs used as the backbone of a landscape as well as fruiting trees and shrubs, such as apples, peaches or blueberries. By planting in the fall, this allows the newly planted plants time to adjust to their new environment and get established before the hot summer months of the following year come around.

Just like spring, the fall season can be as involved as one wishes it to be with many things to consider, plan and apply throughout the gardens and landscape.

For this article, and other related articles view the Northwest Horticulture Hints - Fall 2021

Mark A. Wilson
Northwest Regional Horticulture Agent

11/9/2021 6:58:11 PM
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