October Gardening Tips

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Close up of Blue flowers


Plants in Flower

  • Aster, Goldenrod, Chrysanthemum, and Franklinia.

Plants with Colorful Berries

  • American Beauty Berry, Burford Holly, Chinese Holly, Foster Holly, Nellie Stevens Holly, Nandina, Pyracantha, and Washington Hawthorn


  • Fertilize spring flowering bulbs at planting time with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Acidify azaleas and camelias.


  • Plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodil, tulip, crocus and hyacinth this month.
  • October is a good time to set out new landscape plants.
  • Plant or transplant peonies this month.
  • Continue planting pansy plants now.
  • If you do not have a fall vegetable garden, plant cover crops like annual rye, barley and wheat.
  • You can start salad vegetables in a cold frame and enjoy them all winter. Plant lettuce, green onions, carrots, radishes, and most leafy greens inside the cold frame.


  • Cut back herbaceous perennials after frost has killed the tops.
  • Root prune any trees you plan to move next spring.
  • Remove damaged or dead wood from trees.


  • Control the following woody weeds by spraying the recommended herbicide: trumpet creeper and blackberry.
  • Store your garden pesticides in a dry, secured location that will not freeze.
  • Clean spray tanks.

Lawn Care

  • Keep newly seeded areas watered.
  • You can still seed fescue and bluegrass early in October.


  • Remember to check the cuttings you put in a cold frame for winter. This should be done twice a month. Water as needed.
  • Divide and dig rhubarb.

Specific Chores

  • Take soil samples from your plant beds and vegetable garden for testing.
  • Start filling your compost bin as leaves begin to fall and remember to turn compost pile.
  • If you have not or do not plan to plant a cover crop you can till organic material like tree leaves into your vegetable gardening soil.
  • Prepare bird feeders.
  • Dig and store summer bulbs like gladioli, dahlia and caladium before frost.
  • Dig sweet potatoes this month before frost kills the plants.
  • Spring flowering bulbs can be forced to flower in the dead of winter. Just pot the bulbs early this month and place inside your refrigerator. In twelve weeks take them out into the warmth of your home.
  • Continue to prepare your lawn and garden equipment for winter storage.
  • Repot houseplants. Prune away damaged foliage and give label rate of plant food.
  • Remove all damaged and dead wood from trees and shrubs
  • Pot up basil, chives, parsley, rosemary or sage for that sunny kitchen window.
  • Place those leaves in compost bin. Shredding them beforehand is best.