October Gardening Tips

There is no better time of year than October to be out in the garden and no better time to plant trees and shrubs.
  1. Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Roses – October is an ideal time to plant trees, shrubs, and roses: The cool weather encourages plants to root quickly and the soil is generally easier to work since it’s not as cold and mucky as it can be in the spring. If you buy a plant that has already lost its leaves, don’t worry. This means it is dormant and won’t mind a change in venue.
  2. Divide Perennials – many perennials benefit from being divided every few years. Left to their own devices, some plants become overgrown and slowly die out from the center. Perennials that prefer being divided in October include Asiatic and Oriental lily, Hosta, Peony, Daylily, Bearded Iris, Oriental Poppy, and Sedum. Do a little research before you divide your plants. Some species such as peony only require dividing every four to six years, while faster-growing species such as hosta or bearded iris are best divided every two to three years.
  3. Compost – Leaves make excellent compost, but for best results, shred them before putting them in the compost pile. The smaller you shred your organic material, the faster it will decompose.
  4. Extend the Season – Salad greens, which love cool weather and grow quickly, are ideal for fall and winter gardens. When selecting varieties look for loose-leaf types that can be clipped easily at any age so you’ll always have a harvest.
  5. Improve Soil – Few gardeners have perfect soil. That’s why it’s important to improve your soil every chance you get. In autumn, after your garden has gone dormant, spread a fresh layer of Coast of Maine Lobster Compost or Mushroom Compost. The more organic matter you add, the better.
  6. Cut Back Perennials – After the first frost, most perennial flowers benefit from a good haircut. Plus, once the foliage is removed, it’s easier to work around the plants, whether you want to tuck in spring-flowering bulbs nearby or improve the soil. Plants such as Bearded Iris, Peony, Lily, Hosta, Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, and Catmint can be cut back to a height of 3 to 5 inches. Use a pair of sharp pruning shears to remove the dead and dying foliage – don’t snap it off with your bare hands as you might damage the roots.
  7. Add Bulbs to Your Landscape – During the fall months, after soil temperature drops below 60°F., plant spring flowering bulbs like Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Crocus. Add Dr. Earth Fish Bone Meal into the planting hole as you prepare the soil. Try to complete your bulb planting by the end of this month.
  8. Fall Lawn Care – Put down your second application of lawn fertilizer, Jonathan Green Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer. Remember fescue lawns are fertilized in the fall!
  9. House Plants – The longer your house plants were allowed to remain outside in the fall, the more shock they will go through when they are finally moved indoors. If you haven’t brought them in yet, do it now!! Apply Bonide Houseplant Insecticide to kill any hitching pests.
  10. Ponds – Now is the time to prevent leaves from falling into the pond by netting it. If you need to clear your pond of weeds, lay them next to the pond for a day to allow wildlife to escape back into the water. We have the pond netting if you need it.