Press pause on landscape projects

Fall is typically the best time of year to plant. But this isn’t a typical year — rainfall is scarce and watering rules are likely to hang around a while.

Fall is the best season for planting, but it’s also important to keep in mind current and future weather conditions before starting a major landscape project.

During the dormant season, root growth doesn’t completely stop so plants can establish sufficient root systems before summer heat hits. And that’s why fall is usually the best time of year to add to your landscape. But there’s usually sufficient rainfall at this time of year to support root and cell requirements without the need for supplemental water. That’s not the case this season.

We’re entering the seventh month of Stage 2 watering rules and they’re likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Because watering restrictions limit irrigation system and sprinkler use to only once a week — and new plantings require frequent watering to get established — you must be willing to water any new grass or perennials by hand for a while. Fortunately, hand-watering with a hose-end nozzle is allowed any time.

Still, there is hope on the horizon. First, native plants and lawns recover quickly. Second, you can do your due diligence and prepare your lawns and beds with aeration and compost. Avoid over-fertilizing as it’s harmful to drought-stressed plants.

That way you and your plants will be ready to take advantage of the rains when they eventually return.


Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
Dig Deeper

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