October Gardening Tips
WRAP UP FROM LAST MONTH
- Record: As beautiful as your yard looked over the summer, there’s always room for improvement. Record what worked and what didn’t while you still remember how plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables fared in your garden this season. Jot down the tips that made the most difference. This way, it’s easy to replicate successes and make changes next season, resulting in a more productive gardening experience than ever before!
- Protect: Continue to evaluate which of your tender plants need to be cleaned, dried, and taken inside. Cannas, dahlias and gladiolus are examples of plants that can be dug up now so they have a better chance of surviving the cold-weather months. When the temperature drops below 50°F, bring tomato plants indoors, where this produce can continue to ripen safely. Not everyone has a sunny room where the temperature can be adjusted, but if you do, store plants there.
- Check sprinklers: Sprinklers provided your garden with much-needed hydration over the summer. Ensure that they’ll be there for you again next year by draining sprinklers before cold weather leads to freezing. To do so, turn off sprinklers’ main water source. Release water and air pressure still backed up in sprinklers by leaving each valve open for a few minutes before moving on to the next one. Air compressed can also be used to blow water out of lines, if necessary.
DO NOW: OCTOBER GARDENING TIPS
- Maintenance: Some varieties of plant life are strong enough to withstand cold weather, but they still require maintenance, particularly after two or three harsh frosts. For instance, stems and foliage of herbaceous perennials can be removed once they begin to turn brown. For nourishment, perennials could also use a thin, one-inch layer of mulch consisting of straw or leaves.
- Cold-weather plants: The fall and winter are difficult seasons for many plants, but don’t despair. There are still container plant options that will cheer you up through the end of the year. Heucheras, euphorbias, and winter pansies offer much-needed color. Grasses’ texture lends visual interest to any environment. For both color and texture, consider Swiss chard and kale. Ferns thrive in shady spots. Wire-vine, sedum angelina and vinca are attractive trailing plants.
- Outdoor containers: Any containers that will remain outside for the next several months will need to be lifted onto pot feet. This step will allow for unencumbered drainage. Pot feet can also reduce the risk of frost damage.
- Leaves: Leaves make for great mulch but they can also be a nuisance. As part of your october gardening tips – figure out how you’d prefer to handle them before they ruin your yard. Raking is an option, but there are also less back-breaking ways to address the problem. Lawnmowers with mulching blades cut up leaves for you; once they’ve been shredded, leaves can decompose and enrich your yard naturally. Easily mulch perennials with leaves conveniently collected in a bag attached to the lawnmower.
- Weeds: Mother Nature clearly doesn’t always have gardens’ best interests at heart, because new pesky varieties of weeds will continue to sprout in your lawn, even in this colder climate. Fight back, removing broadleaf weeds so your favorite autumn plants have room to shine. White clover, dandelion and ground ivy can dominate a yard if left to their own devices.
- Pests and disease: In the same way, pests and disease too find ways of surviving colder temperatures, unfortunately. It’s important to address both now, or you’ll have to spend the spring dealing with infestation that will threaten your beloved warm-weather plants. Look out for bagworms, for example, which can be found amongst evergreen shrubs. If bagworms aren’t taken care of now, they will multiply quickly when their eggs hatch in the spring.
- Ponds: Ponds are attractive features that add interest to a yard. They require maintenance, however, just like everything else does. October is as good a time as any to address their needs. Fallen leaves aren’t good for ponds so do what you can to prevent them from falling in. A net stretched across the body of water is one way to avoid having to do the chore of cleaning leaves out. If you’re interested in adding bream to a pond or liming its bottom, you have until January to do so.
PREPARING FOR NEXT MONTH
- Trees and shrubs: This is a popular time for buying trees and shrubs, so make sure to pick out your favorites before they’re gone. Trees and shrubs need plenty of room. Spend time deciding on the best locations for them; doing so now will prevent you from having to do too much pruning next year.
- Holiday planning: It’s early yet, but given how busy things get at the end of the year while celebrating holiday after holiday, you probably want to start weighing Christmas decorative greenery options now. If you’re interested in a live outdoor Christmas tree this year, dig a hole and ready a site for it. If Christmas trees require too much room and work for your particular circumstances, consider a worthy, manageable alternative like container evergreens. Once purchased, evergreens grow faster when encouraged to seek warmth huddled up next to other plants.