Donna’s Garden Tips for October
It’s time to treat wild onion and garlic in the lawn. These perennial weeds can be controlled with applications of 2,4-D (Weed b Gon) in October and again in March.
If voles are a problem in your landscape, start trapping them in October. Place small mouse traps baited with raw apple and peanut butter next to vole holes and cover both with a bucket. Continue this technique throughout the winter using multiple traps and moving them frequently. You can clean up your vole problem!
Leaves are starting to fall. Keep them raked off of turf grass. Prolonged accumulation of heavy leaves can quickly smother existing lawn grass.
Start making plans to bring houseplants inside before frost. Check for any insect problems before bringing them in. Keep a mist bottle handy for inside use. The lower humidity in homes can be a shock to houseplants and daily misting can help.
Plant pansies early in the fall so they can become established before cold weather. It is important to keep the crown of the plant above ground to prevent rot.
Stop pruning! It is too late to prune ornamentals. Pruning encourages new growth which is not what we want this late in the season. Plants should be slowing down, getting ready to go dormant for the winter.
Shallow holes in the lawn can be a sign of grubs. Living just below the surface of the soil, grubs are a favorite meal of skunks who come in to the yard and feed at night. Use products containing trichlorfon before the end of October to get rid of grubs.
Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Moderate temperatures make it much easier for plants to become established.
Hostas may be divided and separated in the fall. Dig a large clump, then separate into smaller clumps and replant – free plants!
Get your soil tests done at no charge before the end of November. The only cost is postage. Come by the Extension office and pick up your soil test boxes. It’s a great first step toward a beautiful lawn.
Start bringing houseplants inside. Check for insects and diseases before they come in. Keep them away from heat sources. Expect a period of adjustment such as leaf drop.
Start planting fall bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Plant in well-drained soil and purchase large, firm bulbs.
Clean up fallen leaves from underneath rose bushes. Black spot can overwinter in the fallen debris and show up next spring.
Fall is a good time to apply lime to the lawn. A rule of thumb is 75 lbs. of lime per 1,000 sq. ft.
If blossom end rot was a problem on your tomatoes this year, applying lime now to the space where next year’s tomatoes will be planted can prevent this problem for next year’s crop.
If voles have been an issue in your landscape, it’s time to start trapping them. Place mousetraps baited with raw apple and peanut butter next to vole holes and cover the hole and trap with a bucket or flower pot. Check the traps every few days and continue throughout the winter until the end of March. With perseverance you’ll remove the problem from your garden!
Don’t allow leaves to pile up on the lawn. Rake them as they fall or mow them using a mulching blade. Heavy leaves can quickly smother out turf grass.
Seal any cracks or crevices around doors and windows and install a sweep on the garage door. This will help keep out annoying winter invaders such as lady beetles and stink bugs.
Are you feeding the birds this winter? Give them a good quality food that is high in fat. Good mixes should contain black oiled sunflower seeds, cracked corn, white proso millet, peanut chips, sunflower hearts and dried fruit. Suet is always an appreciated treat!
Make sure water hoses are drained and disconnected from the faucet before the first freeze. Speaking from experience, having to purchase new hoses and nozzles next spring can get pricey!