How To Get Fall Color in Your Lawn and Landscape

View More: http://ingridhunsickerphotography.pass.us/nallswebWe are officially in the fall season. The temperatures have come down to a more pleasant level and that means that your lawn no longer needs as heavy a watering schedule as it did through the summer (don’t forget to adjust your automatic sprinklers.) You shouldn’t be watering the same amount as you did during the summer.

Typically at this time of year most flower beds and borders look worn out. But though it may feel counterintuitive, fall is the best time to plant in North Texas for a few good reasons.

  • Your soil is still warm in fall in North Texas.
  • The air is cooling down which means plants will lose less moisture through their leaves.
  • And most importantly, these conditions lead to stronger root growth than any other season of the year. 

I went into much greater detail on this subject on our blog a few weeks back. You can read that entry here if you like.

At this time of the year nurseries are well stocked with hardy, late-blooming plants to refresh your bed. And the best part about planting at this time of year is that the plants will have ideal conditions to grow strong roots over winter, so they’ll be ready to sprint into bloom next spring.

If you want to introduce some fall color some of our favorites are…

  • Pansies:   In North Texas Dallas if you want colorful blooms over the winter your go-to flower are pansies.  I’ve never understood why the name pansy got associated with wimpy when they’re the toughest flower I’ve seen.  They can weather single digit temperatures and wintry precipitation.  Then, a few sunny days later, will bounce back and start blooming again.  They will bloom better with a high phosphorous fertilizer (5-30-5 ratio.)  Like most flowers they prefer a loose well drained soil so they don’t stay wet after watering.  An easy way to accomplish that is to add potting soil to the bed.  Pansies are like candy to rabbits, so if you have a large population in your area, it may be challenge to grow them.
  • Violas:  They have pansy-like blooms except the blooms are tiny.  You can plant these in similar conditions to pansies.
  • Kale and/or Cabbage:  Oddly enough, if you have rabbit problems, you are safe planting kale and/or cable.  Rabbits would rather eat your pansies versus eating your vegetables!  These aren’t as colorful as pansies but they’re easy to grow.  To make them look nice later in the spring, trim off the blooms.
  • Mums:  These are wonderful fall plants.  Like azaleas, they only bloom a few weeks out of the year, but when they bloom they look great, especially with pumpkins.
  • Cyclamen:  These are beautiful, delicate flowers but a our North Texas winters can be too harsh for them.  I recommend planting a few of them for a nice change of color in your lawn or landscape, but don’t get carried away.

You can also introduce a burst of color by purchasing some pumpkins and gourds at a local pumpkin patch. As a long time member of Arapaho United Methodist Church I’d like to put in a plug for you to visit our patch at the NE corner of Arapaho and Coit if you live in the area.  For customers living farther east, check out Cornerstone United Methodist Church (this is my parent’s church) in Garland.

Village Green offers full landscaping design and installation for our customers. I invite you to view our online portfolio and if you are thinking of adding some fall color, or doing any landscape work to give us the opportunity to earn your business. We’re happy to do a free quote and answer any questions you may have. Simply call 972-495-6990 or email ken@villagegreen-inc.com.

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Secrets to a Healthy Lawn: Food

LawnDifference

What better day, than Earth Day, to publish our final installment on our three part series on the secrets to a healthy lawn? As we’ve said, a North Texas lawn needs three things to thrive: sun, water, and food. If you want to read our first two installments follow these links.

Secrets to a Healthy Lawn: Sun
Secrets to a Healthy Lawn: Water

Today I want to talk about food for your lawn. Typically in North Texas we start fertilizing our lawns as the weather warms up in late February or early March. The exception is when we’re having a particularly cold winter (like this year!) When we have a cold winter we’ll postpone our treatment for a few weeks.  When we fertilize is the same for all lawns, but the what is dependent on your individual lawn…your type of grass.

Bermuda grass likes a kick start to help it green up quickly so we apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer. If you’re a DYI person, be sure and find a ratio of 28-3-10 (all fertilizer bags will have three numbers separated by a dash (-) usually located across the top. The three fertilizer numbers represent the percentage of Nitrogen (N)- Phosphorus (P)- Potassium (K), in that order. These numbers will always be listed on the bag in bold writing.)

St. Augustine and zoysia are different than bermuda. During our warm, wet spring weather they are prone to a fungus called brown patch. Just like the name suggests, this causes patches of brown to creep into the grass. These brown patches feed off of nitrogen which is why we use a different ration, 5-10-31 (The last number (31) promotes better root growth, a good thing right after winter since both St. Augustine and zoysia are cold sensitive.) Once we’re past brown patch season we’ll switch over to the higher nitrogen fertilizer (usually in late May.)

So what does all of this mean for us today? We’re coming off the the 6th coldest winter on record in North Texas with 40 days below 20 degrees. Many are looking at their brown lawn and wondering if they will ever have a nice looking lawn again (I’ve even had a few customers mention they are considering replacing their lawns because they look so bad.) My advice. Patience. If you have the three keys to a healthy lawn (sun, water, and food,) your lawn will recover.

Still not convinced? As always, if you have questions give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com. I’m always happy to chat about ways to improve your lawn and landscape.

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