Gardening Tips for October

October is one of the best months to be planting trees, shrubs and perennials. You improve the survival rate of plants when you plant in the Fall as it gives the root system time to establish itself during the winter months. Above ground the plants appears to be dormant in winter (and they are) underground roots are active, growing deeper into the soil to provide a strong anchor for the whole plant.

When spring arrives the plant is acclimatized to its new environment and is ready to put out strong leaves, new top growth and lots of flowers.

Remember, there is still time to plant fall vegetables. Beets, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, Swiss chard, lettuce, radish, spinach, turnips, onions, parsley, mustard and carrots are all crops that do well this time of year. Vegetables can be planted from seed or transplanted.

Also, make sure to adjust your watering schedule for the cooler temperatures of Fall. The recommendation is to water in the morning if possible. Be sure to water long enough so the root system grows deep rather than staying close to the soil surface. Check your irrigation system for leaks, clogs or breakages to make sure water is getting to all areas in your lawns and beds.

Check your garden regularly for insects and fungi. Plants that have suffered heat stress during the summer are more prone to disease. If you find a problem, take care of it as soon as possible using a recommended insecticide or fungicide. Both organic and non-organic products are available to stop and protect against insects and fungi. This year we are beginning to see oak trees with wooly aphids that give a snow like appearance to the leaves.

Fall is also a good time of year to apply a fresh layer of mulch. Mulching helps reduce water evaporation and keeps the soil temperature warmer during winter to help plants survive frost and snow conditions. Mulching also saves on watering and always improves the appearance of your landscape.

If you are looking for a sea of bluebonnets in your garden next Spring now is the time to be planting. To encourage bluebonnet seeds to germinate they need to be scarified (the shell softened) before planting.

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