October

October and autumn days represent a new gardening season and timely gardening chores
to be accomplished. Do not allow the short, delightful days of autumn to pass without reviewing the many possible gardening activities.

  1. Think spring in October – plant spring bulbs. During October and November is spring bulb planting time — daffodils, narcissi, hyacinth, crocus and Dutch iris. Choose
    healthy, sound bulbs from a reliable source. Prepare soils in a sunny, well-drained location.
  2. Selection & Preparation of Tulip Beds. Tulips should be selected now to be stored in refrigeration for 45-60 days prior to planting in December and early January. Do not
    freeze the bulbs or remove from the refrigerator until time for planting.
  3. Plan for Pansies. The popular pansy may be planted in October and November for scattered winter blooms and a real display of color come spring. Do not bother with
    seed, but buy healthy plants available at your favorite nursery. Pansies go great with spring bulbs! Crystal Bowl, Imperial and Universal series have good heat tolerance and
    will flower longer in the spring.
  4. Winter-Green Lawn – Sow Ryegrass. Sow annual ryegrass seed in mid-to-late October at the rate of five pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn area. Make an even distribution of seed for a uniform color and stand of winter grass. Mow and rake existing lawn prior to overseeding.
  5. Prepare Houseplants for Over-wintering – The cool days of October are ideal days for good houseplant growth and development. It, too, is a good time to groom and to
    prepare the plants for bringing into protected areas for winter. Repot overgrown plants. Prune back leggy or overgrown houseplants to induce compaction of growth. Remove
    damaged foliage. Bring plants back indoors prior to winter heat in the home, to allow for adaptability to new location.
  6. Dig and Store Caladium Tubers. Once the colorful summer caladium foliage has died, dig the tubers, shake off excessive soil, (do not wash) and allow to completely dry in a shaded, cool location. Once dry, cut away old stems, dust the tubers with a combination of Captan and Sevin for protection against disease and insects and store in a dry, cool
    location until planting late next spring. Many gardeners find nylon stockings ideal for storing the tubers.
  7. Make ready for winter planting. The winter season (November-February) is ideal for planting woody trees and shrubs. Plan for those new plant additions, prepare planting beds and visit nurseries to make plant selections. The plant’s roots become better established prior to spring growth and summer heat if planted in winter.
  8. Establish a compost pile. Establish a compost pile to accommodate falling leaves and to prepare soils for spring planting.
  9. Order fruit catalogs. Order fruit catalogs and make variety selections for a winter (January-February) planting.
  10. Root Prune Wisteria Root prune wisteria which, even though large, has failed to flower. With a sharp spade, spade into the soil completely around the plant without
    disturbing the soil to cut the lateral roots.
  11. Clean-up time. A new season, a new look, time to remove remains of yesterday — faded annuals and perennials, overgrown plants, etc.
  12. Control scale insects. Control scale insects on ornamental plants such as gardenia, camellia, fatsia, hollies, euonymus and others. Spray to cover underside of leaf.
  13. Continue to Divide and Transplant popular perennial such as daylily, liriope, ajuga, iris, etc.
  14. Complete wildflower seed plantings.
  15. Enjoy the color of the season – fall color. Make choices of trees with good fall color for planting in your own landscape.
  16. Continue to plant annual seed of phlox, cornflower, larkspur and poppies.
  17. Mulch down for winter protection. A 4-6 inch mulch is an excellent insulation on semi-hardy plants and shallow-rooted plants such as azaleas.
  18. Tag native plants while still in leaf while they may easily be identified when transplanted in the winter. Root prune in November without lifting the plant to allow the
    plant to adjust prior to transplanting in January and February.

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