Garden tasks to tackle before tailgating

Whether you support your squad from the sidelines or the sofa, think of these five simple chores as your pregame warm-up.

Autumn feels like even more of a relief than usual this year! Luckily, a little late summer rain has prompted my landscape to burst forth with blossoms just as slightly cooler weather arrives to tempt me into gardening.

The fall whirlwind is about to begin so block your calendar to complete these gardening chores now before your weekends get fully booked with football, corn mazes and pumpkin latte excursions with friends!

Tackle these tasks now.

  1. Mulching helps your soil retain moisture and moderates soil temperatures, keeping soil cooler when it’s hot and acting as a blanket to insulate root systems in winter. Put down one to two inches of mulch on your landscape beds and around trees in September and April. Remember to keep mulch several inches away from tree trunks and plant stems to avoid diseases and other issues.
  2. Plant cilantro, dill, parsley and other cool-season herbs so you’re ready to use them in fresh snacks like guacamole and dill dip for tailgating. Pinch off any flower heads on your summer-loving basil plants to keep them going. (Thanks to Kelly Martinez for this suggestion!)
  3. Seasonally adjust your water use. If you have an irrigation system, use the seasonal adjust button to change the monthly percentage according to our recommended schedule. This simple change can help lower your water bill.
  4. Plant perennials in October to take advantage of San Antonio’s mild winters rather than waiting until spring. You’ll allow plants to get a head start on establishing their root systems before summer attacks (arrives). I have my fingers crossed for fall rains, but fully expect to water a little longer than our usual 3-2-1 method suggests, if this drought persists. Use our WaterSaver Landscape Coupon to replace lawn with lovely landscaping.
  5. Scatter wildflower seeds through mid-November. Follow these wildflower planting tips, including good seed-to-soil contact and a watering schedule.

Hand watering is your best bet for any new plantings as we are currently still following Stage 2 watering rules. Plus, hand watering not only ensures water directly reaches those new little root systems, but it also gives you a little time to relax in your garden before you head out to pick up pumpkins or get to the next match.

Leave these chores undone.

  1. Skip pruning perennials so wildlife has food and shelter throughout the winter. Ditto for ornamental grasses.
  2. Pass on raking leaves unless you want a fun pile to jump in. Mow leaves into the lawn as fertilizer and let leaves lie in landscaping beds for another layer of warmth for wildlife when winter howls in.

Fitting in gardening can be a challenge during a busy fall but making time for these tasks can keep your landscape looking good — and reduce your water bill.

Find yourself with free time? There are always more garden chores to do in any season.

Picture of Sasha Kodet
Sasha Kodet
Sasha Kodet is a conservation planner whose large garden attracts a myriad of wildlife and curious neighbors with minimal water. At SAWS, Kodet develops outdoor programs to help people create their own beautiful, water-saving landscapes. She draws on her two decades of experience as a naturalist, botanical garden educator and event planner. Kodet enjoys (really) long walks in the woods and has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail.
Dig Deeper

Find expert advice on garden basics, landscape design, watering and year-round maintenance.