October is the month to fully and unabashedly embrace Fall! Celebrate the changing of seasons by bringing some Fall color to your pots, pumpkins to your porch, and by planting a few new trees and shrubs! Our nurseries and garden centers have everything you need to deck out your outdoor and indoor spaces with the warm colors and textures of Autumn.
October Gardening To Do List
Replant fading Summer flowerpots with Fall color like Winter Pansies, Violas, and Ornamental Cabbage and Kale.
Create a Fall harvest feel on your porch: Add pots of Asters or Chrysanthemums and a straw bale with Pumpkins or Gourds.
Buy specialty Fall bulbs and invest in Springtime color with old favorites like Crocuses, Tulips, and Daffodils and check out new and unusual favorites like Frittilaries, Alliums, and fancy Narcissi.
PLANTING & MAINTENANCE
Plant woody shrubs, trees, and herbaceous perennials now to encourage strong establishment over winter. You’ll gain an extra year’s worth of root development in a short time without the need to irrigate! A win-win.
Place mulch over roots of roses, azaleas, rhododendrons, and berries for winter protection; usually best done late month. We like to use G&B Soil Building Conditioner.
Clean annual flower beds to suppress future pest problems: Compost dead and fading annuals and mulch beds with manure or garden compost to feed soil and suppress weeds. If your annuals have any fungal diseases, throw the plants away and do not add them to your compost pile.
Monitor landscape plants for problems; don’t preemptively treat unless active pests/diseases are identified. If moles and gophers are a problem, consider traps or repellants like Bonide MoleMax.
Test soil (use home test kit or contact OSU Extension Service). Amend soil to correct deficiencies and improve as needed.
Place fuchsia hanging pots where they won’t freeze; don’t cut back until spring.
Contact our Irrigation Techs to winterize your irrigation system.
Thin shrubs and trees only as needed; further pruning may result in new growth that won’t harden off before winter.
Remove dead/damaged branches from trees and shrubs and branches that may cause damage from wind or snow and ice.
Avoid cutting back ornamental grasses, Black-Eyed Susan, and other plants with late-season seed heads—leave the seeds as food for the birds!
Clean, sharpen, and oil tools and equipment before storing for winter. Store supplies and fertilizers in a safe, dry place out of reach of children, pets, and critters.
Best edibles to plant this month: Garlic (bulbs), fava beans, overwintering onions, shallots
Sow cover crop seeds in empty garden beds to improve and protect the soil through winter.
Dig and divide rhubarb every 4 years, then replant and mulch with manure or compost (G&B Harvest Supreme or Malibu Compost). After frost, mulch rhubarb and asparagus beds with manure or compost.
Prune out dead fruiting canes in raspberries; train and prune green canes for improved harvest next year.
Spray apple and stone fruit trees after leaf fall with dormant spray to prevent diseases. Remove and dispose of windfall apples; can harbor apple maggot or codling moth larvae. Rake and destroy diseased leaves (apple, cherry, rose).
Save seeds from summer vegetable and flower garden. Dry, date, label, and store in cool, dry spot for future planting or sharing!
October Lawn Care
Seed and feed lawns by October 15th so young grass can harden off before winter. Warm soil temperatures kick-start germination, while cool air allows root systems to grow dense and strong and reduces insect and disease issues.
Keep seeds moist with a thin layer of G&B Soil Building Conditioner. The fresh morning dews and rain should be sufficient, or provide additional water as needed.
Indoor Gardening in October
Indoor plant growth begins to slow down in October: Slightly reduce watering frequency as days shorten. Reduce or stop fertilizing and avoid repotting until March.
Check and treat houseplants, tender plants, and tropical succulents for disease and insects before bringing them indoors. Bring all tender plants in from outside by mid-October.
To force Christmas cactus to bloom in late December, reduce water, place in cool area (50–55°F), and increase time in shade or darkness to 12–14 hours per day in early October.
What to Do for Fun in October
Porch-scape your entryway with fun, fancy heirloom pumpkins, a fall wreath, and a combination of fresh and dried plants for containers.
Make succulent pumpkins! Carve and use as a seasonal planter OR spray uncut pumpkin with craft glue, stick dried moss on top, and glue succulent cuttings onto moss. Embellish with berries/seed pods; mist twice per week.
Give back to the birds and bees by leaving seed heads in place and fallen leaves in garden beds.