Here we go with October. The time is going by so fast I feel like I’m living in a time warp. October is a wonderful month for gardening. It’s cooler and hopefully we’ll have more regular rain. The following are some tips for this time of year.
-If you haven’t planted spring bulbs yet it would be advisable to do it soon so the blubs can establish some roots. Technically you can plant any time before the soil freezes, but you’ll have a better chance for a good bloom if you don’t wait that long.
- If you have any plants left outside that you plan to bring in for the winter stop reading these tips and do it now. Seriously, the nights have been cold, and some areas have had frost so there is no time to waste. Be sure to rinse them off well and check for critters before bringing in.
-With the dry weather we’ve had during September the leaves of many plants, especially spring bloomers, have already started dying back. I usually don’t cut many plants back in the fall. The crowns help protect the roots over the winter and provide good habitat for beneficial insects. The exception to this is any plants that have disease. Those should be cut down and removed. Do not compost diseased material. Hosta are another exception. Their leaves turn mushy and get funky, so I cut those back. Hosta come up late in the spring. If you leave some of the bloom stems up, they will overwinter and signal where the plants are in the spring.
-If you had problems with 4-lined plant bug (evidenced by small round brown spots on the leaves) cut those stems back to the crown as the insect lays its eggs in the plant stems.
-Moving perennials now is still possible but not ideal toward the end of the month. Just like the bulbs, perennials need time to develop roots. Anything moved this fall needs to be kept well watered until the ground freezes.
-There is still time to plant trees and shrubs. They are going into dormancy so should do well if kept well watered.
-Weeding is a priority. There are some weeds in my garden that are taller than the perennials! Truth be told I’ve not done much in the garden in the last month and it shows. It’s important to remove the weeds. If they are perennial weeds, they will be much easier to remove than next spring when they will be bigger and nastier. Seed heads from annual weeds removed before they drop seeds prevents a ton of weeding next year.
-As your annuals fade, pull them out roots and all. It’s easier to remove them before the frost makes them mushy.
-Although fall isn’t the best time to prune many trees and shrubs, any dead or damaged branches should be trimmed. This will eliminate the possibility of them breaking during a winter storm, and damaging home, garage, etc. Any branches that have grown large enough to be in the way or in danger of poking someone in the eye should also be removed.
-If you have little flying fungus gnats in the house all of a sudden, they likely came in in the soil of some plants you brought in to overwinter. Keep the soil on the dry side and that will solve the problem. The larva of the gnats live in the top 2 inches of moist soil. If the soil is dry, that will break the cycle. You can also spray with Neem Oil.
One of the good things resulting from the pandemic is there are a wealth of educational programs available online. Check Botanical Garden sites, Universities like Cornell and Pen state and some of your favorite authors. I’d suggest staying away from sites selling you products. If you have any questions, I’m just a click away.
Happy Gardening! Lyn Chimera Lessons from Nature 170 Pine St. E. Aurora, NY 14052 email@example.com 652-2432