Things to Do This Month

OCTOBER

Ornamental Annuals and Perennials

  • Plant remaining spring bulbs including tulips this month.
  • Dig up tropical bulbs such as elephant ears, cannas and caladiums, and other summer blooming tender bulbs like dahlias, after the first frost.
  • Take a last look around beds and borders and make notes for filling in and substituting new plants next spring.

Lawns

  • Apply lime if soil tests indicate a need to increase pH.
  • Another fertilizer application may be made now to cool season grasses. Combine with a broadleaf herbicide if weeds are a problem.
  • Continue to mow lawn as grass grows, and mulch or rake leaves to prevent bare spots in lawn.

Trees and Shrubs

  • This is a great time to plant trees and shrubs.
  • Fertilize trees once they begin to show fall color. A soil test may determine other needs to adjust pH.
  • Continue to monitor soil moisture and water, especially evergreens, as needed.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Average first frost is October 15.Continue harvest crops until frost.
  • Tomatoes will ripen indoors as long as they have begun to turn lighter green.Harvest gourds when shells harden or color changes from green to brown.
  • Harvest winter squash and pumpkins before frost.
  • Protect young fruit trees from rodents by installing chicken wire barriers.

Miscellaneous

  • Bring all houseplants indoors before evening temperatures drop below 50 degrees F.
  • Continue care begun last month of poinsettias and Christmas cacti for holiday blooming. Keep them in a cool, dark place for 14 hours each night through September and October until color appears on poinsettias and buds form on cacti.
  • Enjoy the fall colors!

For more gardening tips for this month, go to

Kemper Center for Home Gardening Garden Calendar