Recovering From the Summer
Dr. Mario A. Villarino, Hopkins County Extension Agent
If you are like many landowners in the county, the dry summer heat brought stress to many plants and shrubs to your landscape. I have seen many trees finally dying and every day someone comes asking about trees dying at the extension office. This is probably the best time of the year to think about replacing those plants that did not make it thru the summer, and probably provide some supplemental watering this time. When referring to fall planting, Dr. Douglas F. Welsh, Landscape Horticulturist, Texas Agrilife Extension Service mentioned: Finally, fall is here. The weather is becoming slightly cooler, and gardeners are slowly migrating back outdoors after record-breaking heat this summer. Now is a perfect time to add a new tree or a grouping of shrubs to the landscape. Or perhaps you have an area in the landscape that needs 'remodeling' or rejuvenating. The fall may be the best season to plant, surpassing even the spring. Many people prefer January through March for planting, but the fall months of September through December have distinct advantages. Fall planting follows the heat of summer, before a cool winter season, and trees and shrubs planted in the fall use this to good advantage. Plant roots grow anytime the soil temperature is 40 degrees or higher, which may occur all winter in Texas. During the winter months, the root systems of the fall-planted specimens develop and become established. When spring arrives, this expanded root system can support and take advantage of the full surge of spring growth. Fall is the optimum time to plant balled and burlapped trees and shrubs. Balled and burlapped plants have ample time to recover from transplanting and proliferate roots before spring growth begins. Remember, however, all bare root plants, including roses and pecan and fruit trees, should be planted in late winter when they are completely dormant. When buying plants for your landscape, be sure to get healthy, well-grown plants. Always buy from a reputable dealer. Those in the plant-selling business year-round depend on repeat customers, and only by selling customers quality plants can there be assurance of future business. Beware of plant bargains. They can easily turn out to be real headaches. A bargain is no good if it dies. The price tag, especially the cheapest one, is not the best guide to quality. All plants have growing requirements. Think about the plant's needs before you invest. Is it adapted to your area's soil? Will it grow in sun or shade? Does it need a wet or dry location? Is it cold hardy? Some nurseries have this type of information on tags beside the plant.
'Plan before you plant' is always a good rule of thumb. Whether you are planting a single plant or an entire landscape, plan first, then plant. Good planning is a worthwhile investment of time that will pay off in greater enjoyment of attractive and useful home grounds, and in increasing the value of your home. It's much easier to move plants on paper then to dig them after planting in the wrong place. A plan saves many planting mistakes. Every plant in the landscape should serve a purpose. Ask yourself if you want a plant for screening, for privacy, or for shade. How large will it be five years from now? Plants, like people, grow up. Remember, that a small one-gallon-size plant will look entirely different after a few years of growth in your landscape. Plant properly for success. Here are a few guidelines on getting the job done right:
For this or more information related to drought recovery, please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443.