October Gardening Tips

Plant

and transplant broad-leaf evergreens, especially hollies.

Spring Bulbs late this month and next, up until the ground is frozen.

Fall crocus, sternbergia, colchicum for October bloom.

Garden chrysanthemums for fall color.

Biennial seedlings into nursery bed or permanent place in garden to bloom next year.

Pot up hardy spring bulbs, place in cold frame or cool garage (40 degrees) or sink the pot into the ground and mulch. Keep evenly moist; bring into house in December to force bloom.

 

Prune/Cut:

Prune wisteria for the last time.

Lightly cut back overgrown hedges, foundation plantings, and other woody plants.

Cut straw flowers when half open for drying; tie in bundles and hang in a well-ventilated space.

Train and trim espaliers and topiaries for the last time.

Disbud for more and larger blooms, especially chrysanthemums.

DO NOT remove all seed heads; leave some to feed the birds.

 

Fertilize:

Container plants.

Chrysanthemums (weekly, until the buds show color).

Clematis with lime.

Trees and shrubs only lightly; too much will stimulate growth that will be damaged in cold weather.

 

Watch for:

Black spot and mildew.

Plant ties that may be strangling plants.

 

Lawn care:

 De-thatch and aerate old lawns to promote root growth.

 Seed as necessary and water frequently.

 

Tree care:

Plant new deciduous trees and shrubs.

Prune water sprouts from fruit trees.

New trees (planted within the last two years) need regular deep watering to get established.

Mulch 2 to 4 inches deep in circle around tree, but keep away from bark at the tree base.

 

Propagation:

Take perennial cuttings. For hydrangeas, cut a stem with no flower and 2-3 sets of leaves.

 

Chores:

Remove weeds before they seed.

Cut flowers and herbs for drying.

Check plants growing on stakes and trellises.

Update garden records: Note successes and failures, gaps in planting, favorite varieties, flowering and foliage combinations, planting and landscaping changes to be made this fall or in early spring.

Continue digging and dividing late-blooming perennials.

 

In the vegetable garden

Protect warm-season vegetables if frost threatens.

Update records of planting and harvesting dates, gaps in planting, favorite varieties, quantity and quality of harvest.

Sow cool-season vegetables.

Take herb cuttings from new growth to transplant into the garden or into pots for fresh use indoors during the winter.

Pull and compost spent crops and overgrown vegetables.