October is a pivotal month for gardeners, offering the perfect window to prepare your perennials, shrubs, trees, and lawn for the upcoming winter season. In this edition of our monthly Garden Tips blog, we’re diving into the must-do tasks for each of these four garden elements.
Caring for Perennials
October is your last call for planting perennials before winter sets in. These plants need adequate time to establish their root systems, so it’s best to get them into the ground early in the month. If you’ve been meaning to divide and replant your peonies, wait until the first frost has killed off the tops. Here’s how to go about it:
- Dig Carefully: Excavate around the plant, ensuring you don’t damage the underground roots.
- Divide: Cut the clump into smaller pieces, each containing at least 3-5 eyes.
- Soil Preparation: Enrich the top 12 inches of soil with compost.
- Replant: Set the divisions back into the ground, keeping the eyes 1-2 inches below the soil surface.
Fallen leaves are a gardener’s treasure. Spread them around your shrub and perennial beds for an extra layer of winter protection and a natural source of nutrients as they decompose. However, diseased leaves should be discarded or buried to prevent infecting new growth in the spring. For potted shrubs, consider moving them to an unheated garage or an enclosed porch for the winter.
Tree Planting and Transplanting
October’s cooler temperatures make it an excellent time for planting or transplanting trees. Aim for a time when the tree has shed its leaves and entered dormancy. If you’re dealing with large or special trees, it’s wise to consult a professional who can handle the task with the proper equipment and expertise.
Lawn Care Tips
Your lawn is far from dormant, even if it appears that way. In fact, the grass is busy developing a more robust root system. Capitalize on this by:
- Leaf Mulching: Use your lawn mower’s mulch setting to shred fallen leaves and enrich your lawn.
- Late Fertilization: A late-season fertilizer application will help your lawn store the energy it needs for the winter months ahead.
By following these October garden care tips, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring a vibrant and healthy garden come springtime.