Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
Follow by Email
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Maybe not in Pennsylvania or Illinois, but NOW is by far the best planting time in north Texas
In north Texas, the very best time to plant
is NOW. Not in the spring like up
north. If you’re new to Texas, this may come as a surprise. But if you’ve been
planting things here for several years (like me) you’ve learned to follow
Mother Nature’s example. So, if you want to attract birds next spring, plant
hardy birdscape plants now.
All of the most hardy and effective
plants are Texas natives.I’ve had the
most success with the woody, perennial kind, including shrubs and trees. Of
course, you won’t actually see growth until next year, but the roots will be
growing like crazy all winter. Choose the right plants and I’m positive that
birds will hang out in your yard.
It has to do with the fact that plant
roots can’t grow through frozen soil. Here, the ground may freeze a quarter inch deep
(if at all). Even then the ground is thawed by mid-afternoon. All woody trees and
shrubs do best if planted now. Also all ground covers and most flowers – all
but the very tender species that could be killed by a long, hard frost (if we
have one) Up north the ground may freeze solid many inches deep, possibly all winter
long.And “up north” is where gardening
advice columns were written, originally.
Sumac & friend
My favorites, to plant now, include mistflower,
Mexican plum, beautyberry, sumac, lantana, flame acanthus, Maximillian
sunflower and several prairie grasses. Don’t forget the mulch!
migration? Unlike regular bird migration
which involves flying south for hundreds of miles, vertical migrants may just
fly down a slope. They may make the short journey from a mountain down to the
valley floor. Thus they spend the winter in better weather conditions, and with
more available food, that isn't covered up by ice and snow.
YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect
emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a
Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International
Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the
Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.