We are finally getting some crisp cold weather. Those warm season flowers of summer are all but dead at this point and should be pulled up. After pulling the old plants, you will need to prepare the soil.
Pull the weeds first. Add at least two inches of organic additives like chicken manure, compost, etc. Till the soil between eight and twelve inches deep. Sprinkle on your choice of fertilizer. Form the bed into a nice plateau and rake it smooth. For new beds, most cool season flowers want sun. Choose areas that are well drained and have a lot of sun. The more sun, the better.
If growing flowers from seed, read your seed packet closely to get the correct planting depth and spacing from other plants. Generally, the smaller the seed, the closer to the surface they are planted. If you accidentally plant too many seeds, thin them out when they start to grow. Overcrowding will make your plants under perform.
Use mulch. It prevents weed growth, deters fungus from spreading, and holds moisture in the ground. Keep your colors simple. Stick to one or up to three colors per grouping. Too many colors become distracting instead of interesting and enjoyable.
It is time to pick out your flowers that will last into spring. It is important to get those flowers into the ground so they can get established before the real cold season hits. Here are some nice flower choices for areas that get at least six hours of direct sunlight: calendula, delphinium, dusty miller, galliardia, geranium, holly hock, larkspur, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage, kale, petunia, poppies, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, and toad flax.
Sometimes you have a shady area that could benefit from some color. If you have an area that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight, try out the following flowers: viola, pansy, alyssum, diascia, and columbine. If you have an even shadier area that requires color, try out the following flowers: cyclamen, foxglove, primrose, forget-me-not, and lobelia.
Some cool season plants will bloom in fall, lose their blooms, and bloom again in spring. Think of these as getting double for what you paid for and enjoy the show. The extra root development will lend itself to much larger blooms in spring.
Last month we had an exceptional amount of rain. It felt like the sun had abandoned us for some weeks. Since we had so much rain, small drainage problems in your yard may have become large drainage problems. Here are some common drainage solutions to your frequent drainage problems.
How to fix the unwanted new pond in my yard?
Large areas holding water are caused by poor grading. If possible, you will need to level that part of your yard to slope toward a desired area to drain. If using large equipment on your yard is not possible or desired, an underground drain can be installed to move the water elsewhere. These drains usually tie into a pipe and leads to the closest road.
How to stop my landscape beds from getting washed out?
Excessive water from your roof causes a lot of wash outs. Installing gutters is a quick solution to capturing most of the water and moving it elsewhere. Another solution is to use rocks at the drip line of your roof. The rocks will break the water’s fall and guide it toward a more desirable drainage area like a small creek during rain storms.
How to stop the water from sitting on the foundation of my home?
Landscape beds and poor grading can cause water to sit next to your home's foundation. Sometimes, simply making a trench through your bed can allow the water to drain. A small pipe can also be inserted into the bed to let the water pass through. A more involved approach would be to install a french drain along the side of your home. This include water permeable layers on top and a drainage pipe beneath that leads out to a different area. The top is usually a rock layer which looks appealing to you at the rear of your landscape beds.
How to keep the water from pooling on my walkways?
Water sits on your walkways longer if the areas surrounding it are higher than the path. Also, the path should have been given a slight angle to drain toward a road or drainage area. If these were not done originally, drainage gutters can be added along side the pathway. These are covered with decorative drain caps so they add or enhance the pathway. Another solution is to add a drain to the center of the location holding water.
If you have a problem with standing water in your yard, please contact us today for a free drainage quote.
What to do with your lawn in fall?
This is the time to prepare your grass for the dormant season. This means that your grass will no long spread out and fill in thin areas, so don’t do anything that can cause damage. This includes excessive core aeration or dethatching. Save that for spring. If you need to fill in an area of open ground, use sod in early October so it has time to root into the ground. Anytime later and you are likely to have dormant sod sitting on top of your soil until the following spring.
Switch your fertilizer away from high nitrogen varieties. Nitrogen promotes growth and your grass is finished growing for the year. You will only fertilize weeds and fungus if you apply high nitrogen fertilizers now. Instead, fall lawn care requires the use of fertilizer that contains a lot of potassium and low nitrogen. The potassium will help fortify the grass against winter damage so it will look better next spring.
A lot of your summer weeds will die off soon until next year, but winter brings its own set of weeds. Most winter weeds are not as problematic as summer weeds. They do stick out like a sore thumb since they are green in a lawn of winter yellow. Apply a pre-emergent now that targets winter weeds so those weed seeds never even have the chance to grow. Read the product label and follow it.
There are some bugs that can cause problems in fall. Both sod webworms and army worms can cause a lot of damage quickly. Look for grass that has bite marks and for small moths flying out of the grass when you mow. If you see these signs, treat the area with a product labeled for your grass type and the worms mentioned. Sometimes these insects have already laid their eggs, so you will need to check and see if the problem returns in a couple weeks and retreat as necessary.
Fall is the time for lawn fungus. You may have noticed mushrooms in your flower beds already. Circular yellow-brown rings in your lawn are a sure sign of fungus. Brown patch and take-all patch are the usual culprits around south Louisiana. These two fungi can cause some real damage to your yard if left untreated. If you notice the circular pattern in your yard, get some fungicide from the hardware store and treat it early. The area inside the circle is most likely dead already, so you are simply trying to prevent the patch from spreading further. These areas will be thin next spring and primed for weeds to take hold. If you have had a problem in the past with these fungi, we recommend applying preventative fungicide treatments every two weeks during October.
Are you tired of looking at a drab yard during the winter? If you would like some green grass this cool season, October is when you want to spread out some rye grass seed. This cool season grass will look great in the winter and will die off on its own when the weather warms up. If you decide to do this, make sure your pre-emergent does not prevent rye seed from germinating. This is a common mistake which causes people to waste their time and money since they are killing the seed they want to grow. There are a few varieties of rye seed. Look for one that stays low as it grows. You will get the benefit of green grass without the need to cut it during the winter.