Late September and you can feel autumn in the air. While our days are still beautiful and warm, nights are getting cooler with less daylight hours. Perfect weather for transplanting or adding new plants to your garden.
Why is this a good time? Cooler air is kinder to plant foliage and soil temperatures are still warm, which creates an excellent environment for new root growth. In the fall many plants and trees ( even broadleaf evergreens ) are entering a period of dormancy. With no need to allocate resources into foliage, plants are transferring all their energy into roots and storing nutrients for the cool months ahead. By spring, the roots system should be well established.
So take advantage of fall planting weather. Decide what changes or additions you want to make in your garden.
Perhaps it’s time to remove lawn from banks or slopes where water runs off instead of soaking in. Replant with more drought tolerant ornamental grasses or perennials. Picture hummingbirds feeding on beautiful variegated autumn sage, their creamy white and green leaves topped with brilliant red flowers from summer until frost.
If you have a small lawn on flat land and want to improve water absorption and reduce water waste, rake out the thatch that accumulates at the base. Then aerated your lawn in a hollow-tine aerator or power aerator from a rental yard. This brings plugs of soil to the surface, then rake compost over the hoes and water well.
Now is a good time to plant citrus and avocado. They will fair better during the cold winter months if roots are established. Remember to give older citrus a good soak every week or so or the fruit will be dry.
If you’ve always wanted an avocado tree there are several varieties that do well here. The Bacon avocado is hardy to 24 degrees. You can harvest medium sized fruit from November-March. They even produce at a young age and grow to 30 feet tall. Fuerte avocado have excellent flavor. This tree is large and spreading, hardy to 28 degrees and the fruit ripens from November-June. Zutano is another good variety for this area. Mexicola varieties are also very good.
These avocados are self fertile for the home gardener. You can expect your tree to live for about which is a lot of guacamole.
If you receive frost of consecutive night during the winter you can easily protect a young avocado or citrus by erecting a simple frame of 1×1" stakes that extends above the height of your tree. Then drape with a frost blanket or beach blanket on cold night. Don’t use plastic- the cold will go right through it.
Take advantage of this great fall planting weather. Bon appetit !