October Hort Report

Tips from our Horticulture Chair, Carol Giunta: October’s Theme is Sanitation, sanitation, sanitation! Make next year’s garden healthier by giving it special care now! 

Even though we’re expected to get above average rainfall the first week in October, remember to continue watering plants until we have a hard frost as plants need 1” of water/week. Try to water for a longer period of time weekly rather than every few days for a short time.

Trees and shrubs:

  • Prune out any dead or diseased branches as well as any unwanted suckers.
  • Do not fertilize. Any new growth at this point will not be winter hardy.
  • Stop deadheading roses. Allow them to send their energy down to their roots. Be vigilant about keeping leaf litter away from roses. Leaf litter allows diseases and pests to overwinter in the soil
  • Complete transplanting evergreens this month; deciduous trees and shrubs can be transplanted until as late as December.

Perennials and annuals

  • Rake up all leaf debris in your perennial garden, especially around those plants particularly susceptible to powdery mildew and botrytis (i.e., peony, monarda, phlox). Do not compost this debris, as the diseases will persist in the compost!
  • Continue to weed! Those seed heads on this year’s weeds will become seedlings in next year’s garden!
  • If you are planning to divide plants, do so before the hard frost date, November 15th.
  • Lift and store tender bulbs such as dahlias, cannas and gladiolus.
  • Mow lawn to 1 ½ “
  • This is a great season to add lime to your soil, if needed, based on a soil test. It takes at least six months for lime to achieve its affect in the soil.
  • It’s not too late to overseed your lawn.
  • Bring in all tender perennials such as rosemary and bay, plus your houseplants before the first frost.
  • Pull out any spent annuals.
  • Leave seed heads and dried flowers on stems. Its nutritious food for migrating birds
  • Plant spring bulbs; top with hot sauce to prevent animals from digging.