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Garden Tasks for October

Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn
- Elizabeth Lawrence


  • Take performance notes.

  • Take cuttings from or move indoors any plants to be over-wintered.

  • Weed and water frost-resistant plants.

  • remove spent annuals or annuals killed by frost and begin fall cleanup

  • Add all weeds and disease-free plant materials to the compost pile.

  • Begin planting hardy plants for winter display such as ornamental kale, cabbage, pansies and asters.

Vegetables and Herbs

  • Harvest and store late potatoes

  • Plant spinach and garlic. Plant cover crops for over-wintering. Mulch after the ground freezes.

  • As frost kills crops, begin garden cleanup.

  • Collect as many fallen leaves as possible for mulch and composting.


Patio and Container Plants

  • Continue monitoring plants for daily water needs and pest control.

  • Remove spent plants and replace with pansies, asters, ornamental kale, or cabbage for fall color.

  • Pot bulbs to force for spring bloom.

Tree and Shrubs

  • Check for insects and disease; spray to control.

  • Water as-needed.

  • Continue planting new woody ornamentals.

  • Stake new trees as high as possible and tie them loosely to encourage wind movement yet still protect them from damage.

  • If you spot any scale insects on backs of the leaves of broadleaf evergreens, spray with "Bonide All-Season's Dormant Oil."


  • Stop fungicidal sprays. Store these and any leftover insecticides in a protected, well-ventilated place; extreme cold will destroy the chemicals.

  • Plant spring bulbs in rose beds for early spring color.

  • Water as-needed; fall is often dry.


  • Some plants may survive until mid-month; once a freeze kills these late producers, begin fall clean-up.

  • Remove dead plants and compost them; any that are visibly diseased should be discarded or destroyed.

  • Clean vines and foliage from cages, stakes, and trellises. Store for winter.

  • When a hard frost threatens, harvest all fruit.

Perennials and Bulbs

  • Continue dividing and fall-planting herbaceous perennials.

  • All spring-flowering bulbs

  • Water and weed as-needed.

  • Deadhead or cut back bloomed-out perennials.

  • Clean-up beds as plants die back or are affected by frost.

  • Add plant materials to compost pile.


  • Establish or re-seed the lawn with a variety suited to your area.

  • Apply "Greenview Winter Green" at recommended rates if not already done.

  • rake leaves and other debris.

  • raise mower blade by 1/2 inch above normal.

  • Apply broadleaf weed control unless recently over-seeded.

Adapted from Readers Digest, "1001 Hints and Tips for Your Garden," 1998