Monthly Gardening Calendar for Austin & Central Texas
- Monthly Gardening Calendar for Austin & Central Texas
- Your Landscaping Agenda – January
- Your Landscaping Agenda – February
- Your Landscaping Agenda – March
- Your Landscaping Agenda-April
- Your Landscaping Agenda-May
- Your Landscaping Agenda-June
- Your Landscaping Agenda-July
- Your Landscaping Agenda-August
- Your Landscaping Agenda-September
- Your Landscaping Agenda -October
Landscaping creates more than just scenery; it creates an interaction between people and places. Landscapes offer aesthetic enjoyment, escapism, and tranquility, as well as a sense of belonging to an area with a distinctly organic and cultural identity. Investing in things like pools and patios supports the health and well-being of all home dwellers by encouraging a relationship with the outdoors as well as opening a door for physical activity. Enjoy entertaining and spending time with your friends and family in a relaxing atmosphere through outdoor living.
Although certain services overlap in some months, we’ve put together a useful landscaping calendar to keep you on track. Although most people consider the landscaping season to begin in the spring, we’ll begin in January to adhere to the calendar year.
Your Landscaping Agenda – January
January is the start of the new year, which also means new beginnings for your Austin landscape and garden. This is also the season for quick, hard freezes, which you MUST look out for over the next 90 days. If a freeze is coming, then be sure to water everything well beforehand. Do NOT overwater. Following is a list of things to do this month in order to keep everything healthy for the rest of the year.
Cut ‘em back:
- If you have dormant, woody plants or shrubs and you haven’t done so already, cut ’em back for the coming growing season.
- This is the time to prune your trees – especially Live Oaks. Some ordinances only allow tree pruning two-three times a year and this is arguably the best time to do it. If you need help or have any questions about pruning, please ask us. We would rather you did it right than hurt your trees and potentially those of your neighbors.
- This is a great time, the best really, to move roses, shrubs, and trees – when they are in a more dormant state.
- Bare-root plants need to be put in the ground now. Get it done.
- Move hardy seedlings outside.
- Divide and transplant perennials if they have gotten too big for their space. If you want to get rid of some, be sure to offer them to your friends first or donate them.
Fertilize, Weed and Pest Control
- Now is the time to add manure or compost to your veggie gardens if you have ‘em. They need time to marinate.
- Also, fertilize your roses, berry bushes, iris, daylilies, pansies, etc. If you have questions about it, contact us.
- Add certified-organic labeled pest controls (typically an oil) to your fruit trees and shrubs.
- Use a certified fungicide treatment on your lawn where you typically find brown spots.
- Weeding is crucial right now. DO NOT JUST SPRAY THEM! Seriously, how lazy can you be? The soil is fairly moist. Either dig them out or, better yet, pull ‘em. Get down low and look for little sprouts and such. In empty beds, turn them as you fertilize and pull out any weeds that you see. Be diligent because it gets so much harder to get rid of them once the warmer, dryer months come around.
- Check for mealy bugs and scale on your plants right now.
- Remove grass from around the trees.
- As we said in the section above, take care of those problem patches of brown during the green season now with a fungicide.
- DO NOT overwater or over-fertilize.
For a complete, alphabetical list of plants broken down into types to be planting in January, please visit the Central Texas Gardener.
Your Landscaping Agenda – February
Austin weather is fickle. One day it’s 40 degrees outside and the next it’s 85. There is no accounting for what you will deal with, especially in February, when Central Texas is teetering on the brink of Spring. Oftentimes we get a false start before everything drops back down to winter temperatures for another month. Other times, like this year, we suspect that the cold days are behind us. Time is running out. February is the safest last chance you will have to transplant your hibernating shrubs and other woody plants. We have some advice to get you going for the quickly approaching growing seasons. It’s mainly about pruning.
Prune and Prepare…
In Your Yard:
- Prune woody perennials and dormant native plants that look like sticks. Pruning them now will help new shoots to flourish in the coming months.
- Prune trees, especially oak trees. The colder the better to help diseases like oak wilt. If you were wondering, Crepe Myrtles fall into this category.
- Brown patches in your lawn typically mean you need to treat them with a fungicide. Late February is the time to get this done. Keep an eye on those brown patches, however, because you might have to reapply the fungicide in a few weeks.
In Your Garden:
- Prune asparagus foliage to the ground, this will encourage emerging spears to shoot up faster and stronger.
- Properly tending to your roses, fertilizing and pruning them to maintain strong and healthy leaves and beautiful buds.
Prepare (Before the infamous Texas heat!)
- Weed, weed! Weed now or forever deal with the seeds in the coming months.
- No chemicals, by the way, even the safe ones this time of year. They are not going to do you any good. Get a shovel, get a trowel, get your kids, your wives, and your husbands. Make it a weeding party (insert typical Austin joke about weed here…) Dig them out, get their roots and then spend 5-10 minutes each day scanning and pulling new sprouts. Mowing the lawn regularly will help to keep them gone as well. You will thank yourself come July.
- Planting and transplanting trees and shrubs should be wrapped up fairly quickly before the onslaught of heat begins.
- Garden beds need your love right now, in order for them to give your peppers and tomatoes love over the next few months. Prepare your beds with appropriate tests, fertilizers, and soil turning. Doing this now is preparing you for all of your summer veggies really. If you have other summer vegetables that you are planting later, then be sure to prepare the soil for them right now as well.
- We know that we have already said this, but we will say it again. Get all of your transplants and planting of trees, roses, bushes, etc. done very quickly. Your time is running out!
Your Landscaping Agenda – March
We have all heard the sayings about the weather in March-March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, or March wind and April showers will bring forth May flowers. We can’t be completely sure what March weather will bring, but one thing is for sure we are all anticipating the beginnings of spring. Prepare for the biggest growing and gardening season of the year, by reading some tips below.
- To get one last bang for your buck out of your cool season flowers, fertilize them for another burst of blooming.
- If you are daring enough slip in one last round of cool weather crops: broccoli, carrots, carrots, lettuce, or onion sets.
- To get a head start on the season you can begin growing cucumbers, melons, and squash indoors in pots. After mid-March transplant outside so that they have room to grow. Tomato seeds can also be started indoors or in a greenhouse and later moved outside.
- Herbs that work well in containers and can be planted in March include basil, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, lemon verbena, and rosemary. Don’t forget to add these to your garden so you can enjoy the benefits of seasoning your meals with your very own homegrown herbs.
- In March you can also plant trees, shrubs, roses, and hardy perennials. It is still just a tad early for the onslaught of planting that comes with spring and warmer weather.
- You will want to be prepared for the big growing season so check out your beds and make sure everything is ready now. Prepare compost, trees, shrubs, and thoroughly mulch. If you want to create the best growing environment for your vegetables add manure and compost to your vegetable beds so there is time for aging before you begin planting. This is also the time to compost and fertilizes your rose beds.
- A final parting note, as always, remember to WEED! Weed prevention now means fewer weeds to deal with later.
Your Landscaping Agenda-April
Even though the first day of spring (March 20) technically occurred last month, April is really when the spring season begins. The current Texas temperatures in the mid-80s hint at another unseasonably warm spring and hot summer! Try to get some outside work done in the mornings or evenings and enjoy the pleasant cooler temperatures while you still can! Here are some spring suggestions to get you started.
- The beginning of the spring season ushers in the beginning of the lawn mowing season! Mowing should now become a regular part of your lawn maintenance schedule. Your goal should be to keep your grass slightly long in anticipation of the upcoming hot days and regularly mow lightly. Fertilizing is unnecessary and your lawn will require more mowing and watering. Despite some recent rainfall, preserving water is still a priority. Pay attention to rainfall patterns so you don’t over-water your lawn. Ideally, your lawn needs at least an inch of water a week to remain healthy.
- To reduce chemical use consider disposing of insects in a more natural way. Venture out in the early morning to rid plants of small black and red bugs, by tossing the bugs in a bucket of soapy water.
- Spring is planting season, so get your green thumb digging! Plants in season include:
- Annuals- Cosmos, Zinnias, and Sunflowers
- Perennials – Turks Cap and Texas Betony
- Herbs- Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Rosemary
- Vegetables- Beans, Corn, Cucumber, Cantaloupe, Eggplant, Peppers, Squash, Southern Peas, and Watermelons
Your Landscaping Agenda-May
“What potent blood hath modest May” observed Ralph Waldo Emerson in his poem, “May Day”. Fittingly enough, Emerson was born in May (May 25, 1803). Let’s celebrate this nature enthusiast and the month of May by preparing our gardens and yards for the onslaught of the summer heat. May is a month of intensities for your yard: heat, planting, growing, watering, mulching, and mowing, so let’s get started!
- Remove faded blooms from your plants to help make room for new growth.
- This may seem odd, but if you want to grow your own pumpkins in time for Halloween, you will need to plant and fertilize pumpkin seeds now!
- Water was a major concern for central Texans last year and this year conserving water is still significant. However, water is an important factor in keeping trees alive and providing shade. By keeping track of the water moisture levels of your shrubs and trees you will know when water is actually needed. Do not lightly water frequently by sprinkling water shallowly on the top of trees and shrubs. Instead let the water run slow and deep around the base of the trees, afterwards let the area dry out, so you do not overwater. Watering slowly and deeply fewer times is more effective.
- Mulch! Mulch! Mulch! (Say that 3x fast!) We are so emphatic about mulching because of all the benefits the mulch provides. Mulch around new flower beds and vegetable gardens helps to retain soil moisture, aids in preventing soil erosion, and most impressive of all, mulch can save you two times as much water!
- Don’t forget about all the little critters in May. Not every frog is a prince, but toads can sure help to rid your garden of pests! Filling a shallow bowl or tray with water and leaving it out will help to attract toads, and they will help to keep your garden pest-free!
- “Modest May” also brings out lovely hummingbirds! Make your own hummingbird food (remember to keep the solution 1 part sugar to 4 parts water) and clean out and refill your hummingbird feeders every 2-3 days.
Your Landscaping Agenda-June
As June rolls in and the temperature continue to rise, you will want to spend less time outside. Luckily, there is less to do on your monthly agenda, but this doesn’t mean you can abandon your yard! No surprise, but just like last month, watering will continue to remain an important element in the upkeep of your outdoor spaces.
- Water deeply, but less frequently. However, even drought-tolerant shrubs, trees, and perennials will need a deep soaking at least once a week.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, potted plants will require less water, but need to be watered daily.
- Continue mowing on high (about once a week) but leave the clippings on the lawn.
- In mid to late June, it will be too late to plant much. Nevertheless, in early June you can still plant ginger, daylilies, and crinums. Okra is also a great choice because it loves the heat! Mandevilla, plumerias, and bougainvilleas would also work well in pots if you wanted to add some color to your patio or pool area.
- Now for a few June don’ts: Do not prune and do not use weed killers in the heat of summer, this will dangerously stress your grass.
Your Landscaping Agenda-July
“Your July Landscaping Dos” may be more accurately titled “Your July Landscaping Don’ts”. We know July is an infamously hot month and it’s only getting hotter, but hang in there! To help you (and your yard) try and make it through the summer here are some pointers.
- Do not prune.
- Do not fertilize.
- Do not plant.
- Now is a great time to take note of what plants will need to be replaced. You can use the time that you aren’t gardening to make plans about what you will plant in the fall.
- Keep your eyes open for any pests, damage, or disease on your plants.
- Any plants in containers can be moved to the shade if the current position provides too much sun!
- To try and keep the moisture in the soil, replenish mulch if it is necessary. However, do avoid piling the mulch up around your plants.
- The one thing you can try to plant is tomatoes. A few tomatoes may just be able to withstand the Texas heat!
Your Landscaping Agenda-August
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”- James Dent
We wish that there was a breeze or even a little cloud cover, unfortunately, there is no doubt that the sun is out in full force. Did you think June and July were hot? Just wait for August! August is right around the corner and to help you prepare here are some timely tips.
- Deadhead flowers.
- Plants that aren’t surviving the summer heat, may need to replace with some more drought-resistant native plants. Take note of these failing plants and make plans for new more appropriate specimens.
- Water thoroughly and deeply as opposed to frequently. Try to ensure that the soil around new trees and shrubs is moist for at least 3”.
- Cut back shrubs that are blooming in the summer, but don’t severely prune any perennials.
- Tiny critters or bad bugs to keep an eye out for include both spider mites and cinch bugs. Spider mites are fans of hot dry conditions, while the mark of a cinch bug includes a large brown patch.
Your Landscaping Agenda-September
September is a great time to get ready for fall plantings. The heat of summer is behind us, kids are back in school and fall is around the corner. Cooler weather means spending more time outdoors grilling and on the patio. Our design process is 1-2 weeks from initial consultation, design process, and presentation of master plan and quote. If anyone is interested in fall planting, they should call soon to get a meeting set up with a designer. In the meantime here are some September tips to get you started!
- Perennials can be trimmed in September, watch them flush out and bloom again in the cooler weather
- The best time to plant a tree or shrub is in the fall. New plants will need to be watered carefully.
- Trees such as oaks, elms, crape myrtles, and mountain laurels are all great Central Texas trees that take well to fall plantings.
- Water current trees well at the drip line to help prepare for underground growth during the winter While tree growth remains dormant above ground, trees can concentrate on underground growth.
- The amount of water a tree receives in the fall will have a great impact on the fruit a tree produces in the spring.
- Prepare the soil for the fall by adding a slow-release fertilizer and compost.
Your Landscaping Agenda -October
Welcome October, welcome Fall, and welcome cooler weather! Finally, the month we have been dreaming about all summer is here. Now you can finally make some big changes in your yard and begin planting!
- There are so many things you can start planting we are just going to list them: shrubs, perennials, trees, oregano, chives, dill, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, arugula, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, kale, pansies, violas, sweet peas, nasturtium, and calendula!
- Before you begin planting, remember to water the dry soil first!
- After a hard and hot summer remember to water your lawn and spread a light amount of fertilizer.
- While you can’t plant bulbs yet, you can go ahead and get some to plant in November.
- One gardening activity that never changes despite the season is weeding! Get a head start on your spring weeds and dig or scrape them out now.
- Don’t forget to carve a pumpkin for Halloween!