Gardening Tips

Below are tips and tricks to help your garden be strong and healthy during each season of the year.

Have additional questions? Ask a Master Gardener! Bexar County Master Gardeners are available to help you with your gardening questions. This is a free service. You can reach them by phone at 210.631.0400 or by email at [email protected]. Available Monday – Friday: 9 AM – 12 PM and 1 – 4 PM. Closed on County Holidays.

Spring

  • Begin to fertilize your roses with granular fertilizer (once a month) or liquid fertilizer (twice a month) to promote healthy and strong plants and to ensure continued flowers.
  • Mid-April is a great time to plant your summer annuals including angelonia, pentas, salvias, vinca and purslane or portulaca for sunny spots.
  • Weed, weed, weed! The more you stay on top of it now, the easier it will be next month.
  • Begin to mulch your beds with at least 2-3 inches of mulch for the heat of the summer to help retain the moisture.
  • As you begin mowing and edging your lawns, remember to avoid string trimmers right at the trunk of the tree or you will cause damage (girdling) to the tree that can weaken your tree.
  • Deadhead flowers to promote repeat blooms on things like roses, daylilies and salvias.

Summer

  • Begin to cut back perennial plants that look stressed (salvia, sage, ornamental grasses, etc.) Cut back to a new growth point toward the base of the plant.
  • Be patient with blooming plants, as the heat causes a delay in blooming (a defensive mechanism for heat-stressed plants).
  • Water early in the morning (following your water restrictions) to avoid disease and insect issues that can be caused from watering at night.
  • Cut back hibiscus plants to about 8″ to encourage a second bloom this fall.
  • Late August and early September are ideal for planting fall vegetable gardens. Prepare beds a few weeks prior to planting by adding 1-3″ of compost and incorporating it into the soil.

Fall

  • To minimize the likelihood of weeds this fall, do not allow weeds to go to seed.
  • Plant shade trees now to take advantage of the mild fall and winter weather for root growth.
  • Prepare beds to plant cool season flowers. Add compost as need to your flowerbeds.
  • Deadhead flowering plants to stimulate more blooms.
  • This is the last time to fertilize roses for the winter months. Wait until January/February to fertilize again.
  • With the mild weather, it is a perfect time to plant landscapes. The cooling temperatures allow for more root growth, which will establish the plant before winter cold snaps.
  • Take advantage of the weather and dig, divide and plant your spring/summer blooming perennials.
  • Begin to back off on watering. With the cooler temperatures, soils stay moist longer than they did this summer. You do not want to overwater your plants.
  • Mulch all new plantings to reduce weeds, maintain soil moisture and regular soil temperatures.
  • This will be the last time to do any pruning on your rose bushes until February.
  • Sow bluebonnets and other wildflowers.
  • Make preparation to protect tropical plants or move them to a greenhouse.
  • Prepare exposed pipes for winter.
  • After last use of mower or other power equipment, make the machines ready for winter storage. Don’t leave gasoline in the machine over winter.
  • Start thinking about purchasing fall planting/spring blooming bulbs. Don’t plant until all hot weather is over.
  • Prune trees when they are dormant.

Winter

  • Don’t let fall leaves go to waste. Either shred and compost them or use them as mulch. Fluffy whole leaves can be piled around tender plants as an insulating mulch.
  • Prune trees when they are dormant. It is easier to observe the form and spot problems on a leafless tree. Even in winter, paint the pruning wounds on live oaks. Paint is not necessary on most trees.
  • Begin to prepare your flowerbeds for the season by adding organic matter (compost) for an extra boost when you plant in spring.
  • Now is the best time to get hardscape projects out of the way before summer. Add that brick sidewalk, patio pavers, or limestone retaining wall for another dimension to your garden.
  • Begin to prepare the Purple Martin houses for occupancy as soon as Feb. 1 and up through mid-May.
  • February is a good time to start cleaning up the garden. If you have left your perennials with frost-damaged leaves and branches, now is the time to start cutting them back to get them ready for warmer temperatures that will soon be arriving.
  • Valentine’s Day, or any time after Feb. 14, is a good time to prune back roses for the season. Cut back any dead material and clean up older branches to invigorate the plant for the coming year.