Today I have a cool weather gardening checklist for you…….

With cooler weather knocking at our door you can cut back on you irrigation schedule for you grass. I recommend watering once or twice a week until your grass goes dormant. Once your grass has gone dormant you can cut the irrigation down to once a week or turn it off altogether to your grass zones. We normally have adequate rainfall through the winter to supplement your grass.  Don’t forget to give your newly planted trees and plants a steady supply of irrigation through the winter by watering them at least once or twice a week. This only applies once they have gone fully dormant. Water more often until that point.

Over seed your lawn with winter rye to have a beautiful green lawn all winter that will naturally die down when your warm season grass returns from dormancy. Don’t worry about using Perennial rye as it is not really perennial here. I prefer to use annual rye grass seed as it is less expensive. You can also do this to control erosion.

You want to be reducing the amount of fertilizer on you indoor plants from October to mid-February. An exception would be plants located in an atrium, heated greenhouse, or lighted window.

Don’t get in a hurry to prune woody plants. You will want to wait to prune them until February. The exception to that rule would be perennials that die to the ground every year and return from the roots. These non-woody, deciduous, perennials can be cut to the ground once they have seen a hard freeze and gone dormant.

Inspect your tender potted plants for insects and then move indoors. Be sure to clean them up and remove any leaf litter or debris that bugs could hide in. If you are moving your plants into an enclosed location, it’s a good idea to give them an organic preventative insect spray such as insecticidal soap or neem oil to make sure you are not transporting any critters inside with them that you may not see with the naked eye. Also, watch for fire ants that have taken refuge in your container plants.

This is the time of year that you want to be treating with fire ant bait. Be sure to use a bait that kills the ants but also contains a birth control agent to sterilize the queen and prevent new eggs from hatching.

Mulch all plants, including trees and shrubs. Be sure that you are not covering the base of the trunk and creating a “mulch volcano” around your trees and shrubs. This will end up rotting the bark and eventually killing your trees and shrubs. It’s a good idea to periodically pull away mulch and debris from the base of your trees to expose the natural flare at the base of the tree. Leaf and lawn litter can get deposited there over time and cove the flare of the tree. I just had to do this at my house due to grass clippings that accumulated at the base of my young trees. You will be surprised how much they can get covered up in the course of a year.

If you haven’t done so already, get your spring flowering bulbs in the ground. You can plant daffodils, narcissus, species tulips (these actually survive and multiply in Texas), ranunculus, oxblood lilies, rain lilies, Spanish bluebells, and lycoris bulbs now to enjoy them in early spring. We have a great supply of these right now. If you want to have a great blooming centerpiece for Christmas then you need to go ahead and plant your amaryllis bulbs right now to force them into bloom before the Christmas holidays. Remember that when you are planting bulbs….size matters. Large amaryllis bulbs will give you at least two to three blooms spikes that will bear 2-8 flowers each. That’s a huge difference compared to the box store varieties.

Don’t forget that November through February is the best time of the year to be planting trees and shrubs….all of them! Get them in the ground now and take advantage of saving water and letting your trees and shrubs get that root system well established before the heat sets in next summer.

This is also your last chance to plant wildflower seeds so get them in the ground for a spectacular show next spring and summer.

Continue to set out cool-season bedding plants, such as pansies, violas, stock, dusty miller, snapdragons, and dianthus.

Don’t neglect the vegetable garden. You can still plant seeds of spinach, lettuce, mustard, radish, spinach, leeks, carrots, rutabaga, parsnips, cilantro, snow peas, and garlic bulbs. You can also plant transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and, Swiss chard. I like to plant these in succession to provide a steady flow of fresh vegetables that are not ready all at one time.