Either you love or hate to-do lists. For those of you that love lists, here’s my list of fall to-do’s.
• Water less: Decrease landscape irrigation frequency. Consider turning off your irrigation controller and watering only when plants need water. We offer a Waterwise Workshop for Hillsborough County residents who can receive a microirrigation kit, which uses less water than an in-ground irrigation system, applies water where plants need it — which is at the root zone — and does not lose water via evaporation.
• Mulch more frequently and as needed: Mulch retains soil moisture, regulates soil temperature, adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes, suppresses weed growth, reduces stormwater runoff and erosion, enhances the beauty of your landscape, provides increased area for root growth and protects plants from lawnmowers and weed eaters. Mulch should be 2-3 inches deep after it settles.
• Plant: You can plant fall vegetables (broccoli, cabbages and carrots) as well as shrubs and trees that are cold hardy. For more information on what and when to plant, type one of the following in your browser: ‘UF Central Florida Gardening Calendar,’ which provides information about what to plant and do each month of the year, and ‘UF Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide,’ which provides recommended varieties, days to harvest, spacing and seed depth. Both are great resources.
• Check for pests and handle accordingly. The most challenging aspect of controlling insects can well be proper identification, which is critical to selecting the proper method of control. These methods include cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical. There are several environmentally safe pest solutions available.
• Divide and conquer your perennials: Dividing clumping perennials is a great way to spread their beauty throughout your landscape, or ‘gift’ them to a special friend or neighbor.
• Cuttings for spring: Take cuttings of plants that will not survive the winter outdoors. This is a terrific way to start your spring plant collection inside, on your lanai or on your porch, depending on the temperatures.
• Relocate houseplants: If your houseplants were outside for the summer and early fall, consider bringing them inside your home before temperatures dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fall is an exciting time to manage what needs to be addressed in your landscape. The heat, humidity and thunderstorms of summer have moved on. Now it is much more pleasant to go outside and garden.
For more information about the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program or assistance with gardening-related questions, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County at 813-744-5519, visit us at 5339 County Rd. 579 in Seffner or https://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu.
We hope you will stop by to stroll through the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden in our courtyard.