Not that I can do anything about it, but I am sorry this summer has been so brutal. Gardening is, I can’t believe I’m going to say this….not fun right now! We’ve reminded you to take care of yourself in the heat. We’ve offered up plants for your garden that we know can handle the extreme temperatures, but we are ready for summer’s end as much as you are right now. Thank goodness for an often replenished supply of Powerade popsicles, or you’d be rolling your carts past our employees passed out on the ground! 

The fact is, the fall gardening season is not that far away. The influx of our 2nd round of warm weather veggies already at the nursery is a sure sign. So… no matter how much you want to hang up your sun visor right now, there is still work in the garden to be done. You just might find yourself needing to do it in the wee morning hours or under a floodlight at night if we don’t get a break in temperatures soon!

Propagating plants for end of summer, early fall garden.

Late Summer, Early Fall Garden Tips

Here’s a quick list of things you need to think about attending to in the late summer and early fall garden:



-Wait. Yes, wait. I’m including waiting in my list of things to do. Wait to plant trees, shrubs, and woody vines if you can. They will be much better off planted in cooler temperatures.

-Propagate some of your existing plants by air layering, root cuttings, or through water propagation. Search ‘propagating’ on our website, and look forward to some new videos on propagation next week.

-Ornamental grasses can be planted, but you will need to give them ample water to get established in the extreme heat. (Ornamental grasses really shine in the fall.)

-Finish pruning vines like wisteria and Carolina Jessamine this month. They need time to grow and set buds to be ready to bloom in fall.

-You may get excited about planting late summer/early fall veggies in August and September, but don’t go overboard. You need to leave space for late fall/winter veggies that will be hot on their tail. PLAN your garden spaces. (Don’t forget many veggies are happy in containers too!)

-PLAN and RESEARCH trees and shrubs and evaluate the best areas to plant them in when October rolls around (best time to plant them in our city).

  • It is super important to make note of their size at maturity..
  • Check for well draining soil in the area you wish to plant in.
  • Opt for trees that are native or well-adapted for our area for the best success.
  • All this info concerning trees applies to shrubs as well.

-Continue Rescue Watering Rx for permanent landscape plants. They most likely still need it through this extreme summer.

-Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. Your garden needs it through summer and it’s going to need it through winter. (Mulch is a great thing to spend your Bonus Bucks on, by the way.)

-Prune overgrown roses to get them in shape for their fall blooming season. Top off bushes to about 2-3′ for hybrid teas and grandifloras. Get rid of all dead wood and any straggly growth. If you cut remaining canes just above a bud, so the cut is facing away from the center of the bush, you should be in good shape. Fertilize right after pruning. (Climbing roses, and some old heirloom roses generally bloom on previous summer’s growth, so they should have been pruned right after they bloomed in spring and early summer.)

-Focus on watering what perennials you have and PLAN the fall season. Just like trees and shrubs, these would be better planted in Sept, Oct, Nov. BUT…research and plan because we have a huge pollinator migration that comes through our city in October and blooming perennials offer an amazing source of nectar and host plants. See the link for inspiration.

  • If you haven’t pruned back fall blooming perennials yet, don’t delay. Prune them back, about a 1/3 off the top, even if they have flowers on them. They’ll perform better for you in fall.

-This is an excellent time to evaluate your lawn. Do you want to spend another year fighting the shade of overgrown trees, or the chinch bugs that attack the areas where the sun beats down with no relief. What will you do differently next year? Nothing, if you don’t evaluate and make a plan! (Maybe look into the SAWS WaterSaving Landscape Coupon program where you can replace areas of turf with water-saving, Texas-tough plants.)

-Pinch or prune back leggy annuals, or tender perennials that are looking tired and ragged. Offer water and fertilizer right after pruning and you may get them to show you a burst of new life, fuller and prettier. Examples are: moss rose, pentas, vinca (periwinkles), coleus, angelonia, petunias, and more.

You ready? We can do this!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy