Get The Dirt: Fall is a time for many changes!

By Lynn Barber and Paula Staples, UF / IFAS Extension Hillsborough County

Fall is a season of change. We can turn off our air conditioning or change it from cold to hot. We go back one hour in time. As temperatures drop, the opportunity to assess our underground irrigation system and water use creates another opportunity for change.

Grass normally loses some green leaf coloring as it prepares for the fall and winter seasons. As growth declines in the fall and plants go dormant in the winter, the need for water / irrigation decreases. This presents the opportunity in the fall to reduce the number of minutes of our watering clock by a third.

During the winter season, water once every 10-14 days. Remember that no fertilization is necessary until spring. How will you know it’s spring? When your blades of grass start to turn green on their own without fertilizer.

Dividing perennials into beds is a great way to spread their beauty throughout your landscape. You can also “gift” them to a special friend or neighbor. If your houseplants were outdoors during the summer and early fall, it’s time to consider bringing them inside your home before the temperatures drop below 55 degrees. F. Take cuttings from plants that will not survive the winter outdoors. It’s a great way to start your spring plant collection in your home, on your porch or porch, depending on the temperatures.

Mulch retains soil moisture, regulates soil temperature, and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. It should be 2 to 3 inches deep once it settles. Melaleuca (punk tree) is an excellent selection of mulch that is produced from an invasive, non-native plant. This mulch has a high resistance to termites, hardly settles in the first year and retains its color in the first year.

Fall vegetables can be planted now. Check the Internet at “Ask IFAS” for the Central Florida Gardening Calendar, which provides month-by-month tips on what to do in your landscape.

If you have any questions on how to inspect or operate your irrigation timer, please contact our office at 744-5519. We can help you make the changes over the phone. If you think your water bill is excessive, we can review your irrigation settings. Save time, money and water! Long live fall!

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