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Many gardeners like to have a list of things to do for the start of each month. Hopefully, they will be able to check-off the list before the month is up and this will provide them with a sense of accomplishment.
Still, others need to have a list just to remind them of gardening things to do before the weather sets in and it is too late. Whatever the reasons, you need to tack a list to the refrigerator as a reminder.
Gardening tips for October
Apply the appropriate pre-emergent herbicide(s) to all plant beds and turf areas to avoid the cool season weeds. You may need to do post emergent herbicides if the weeds have already germinated.
Check your azaleas for lace bug damage. Look for specks on the underneath sides of the foliage. They will perform better without the lace bugs!
No foliage? Could be azalea redheaded caterpillars have eaten all the foliage off your azaleas. Find them and shake them off the plant or shoot them down with a stream of water.
Overseeding your Bermudagrass lawn with annual rye is an option for Bermudagrass lawns only. Avoid overseeding centipedegrass with rye, as it will interfere with next season’s growth.
Take a look at how the trees are growing as you are admiring the fall foliage. The leaves will soon be falling and now is a good time to evaluate the health of the tree. One of the best indicators of a sick tree is tip dieback.
Prepare beds or natural areas for spring flowering bulbs to be planted later on this fall.
Buy and store bulbs in a cool dry place. Wait until December to plant them though.
October is a good time to divide and transplant spring-blooming perennials. The general rule is to divide spring-blooming perennials in the fall and divide fall-blooming perennials in the spring. Some perennials can be divided anytime.
It is hard to resist doing a lot of pruning when you are cleaning up in the fall, but now is not the best time to do major pruning. You can remove 10 percent or less of a plant’s canopy but resist removing more as we move into fall. Excessive pruning now can reduce winter hardiness on marginal plants. Even if winter injury isn’t a problem, the plants will not grow new leaves and shoots until next spring. The best time of the year to do major pruning on overgrown foundation shrubs is in late March.
Start taking cuttings of your annual plants to bring indoors for the winter.
Now is a good time to remove any dead plants.
Several caterpillars appear in the fall. Unless they are creating a problem with their droppings, caterpillars eating deciduous tree leaves do not require action on your part. Losing leaves this time of the year isn’t that much of a problem. The leaves are going to fall anyway in another month. If a tree defoliates now, it should come back next spring.
Caterpillars on lawns, however, can be destructive to the turf. Fall armyworms are hard to notice when small. Once they get large, they can devour a lawn in two or three days.
Conserve (spinosad), Proxol/Dylox (trichlorfon), Mach 2 (halofenozide) and azidirachtin will eradicate fall armyworms. Please follow label directions.