August is a month of transition. Families are busy getting kids ready for a new school year, and life seems to move at a faster pace. With the transition of hot summer days and vacations to school work and cooler fall temperatures comes the time to plan for our fall landscapes. Planning for colorful fall colors, pumpkins in the landscape and pots of mums for flower color. Part of that planning also includes evaluating the damage to shrubs from heat exposure and damage, trees for wind damage, and perennials that died out this summer.
Flower Color: Fall flowers are a welcome addition to a long winter with colorful pansies and kale planted in your landscape. You can save money by creating one or two focal points close to the front entrance of your home that captures your attention. You do not need to replace all of your annual beds with pansies. We have found that cabbage and kale do not attract rabbits as much as the pansies do (guess Texas rabbits have not read any of Beatrice Potter’s books). We have also found raw eggs mixed into the soil when planting pansies can also deter rabbits. Once planted you can sprinkle ground red pepper around the flowers to also deter rabbits.
Pots: chrysanthemums make a beautiful fall statement and create colorful focal points. Add several into your clay pots adds instant color. chrysanthemums are perennials that bloom twice a year in the late spring and fall. Most people tend to use mums as annuals rather than perennials in the front landscape.
Grass: Winter Rye needs to be seeded in September. Winter Rye is an annual grass seed that grows during our winter months giving your lawn and landscape a solid green color throughout our winter months. Perfect for kids and pets to enjoy.
Shrubs: Many Pittosporum & soft leafed shrubs were sunburned. Prune off the tops that were severely damaged, and check the over all look. If you have time for the plants to grow back then leave it. Otherwise replace those affect the overall look of the landscape. Hostas and other tender shrubs may have been completely lost. You should see new growth by the beginning of October if these shrubs will come back.
Trees: The best time to plant is October & November. Plan to replace any damage trees including Bradford Pears and Elms with better Texas Native or tolerant trees. Shade trees have a positive affect on your house by lowering electric bills and creating shade for outdoor living areas. Plan for shade trees that can reduce the sun’s glare on your sitting areas.
Perennials: Most perennials will have survived the heat. Prune back 4-6″ if severely damaged.