Spokane County Extension

Garden - Lawn - Landscape



October


Apply a copper fungicide to cherry, peach, apricot and nectarine trees as leaves begin to fall. Spray to cover all branches to control blights and canker disease.

After the first killing frost, mound soil 6 to 8 inches high around the base of rose bushes and prune back the canes enough to keep them from whipping around in the wind.

If composting is not in your plans for this year, there are other ways to use fallen leaves:

  • In the fall, collect leaves in bins or large piles. In spring, dig into the pile to get the matted clumps of partially decomposed leaves and use as mulch.
  • Fill the paths between raised beds now, for fewer weeds next spring. Till leaves into the soil in fall to break down by spring.
  • Fill bags with leaves and use as insulation around cold frames. Use as a winter mulch on bare ground to reduce erosion.

While many herbs are perennials and can overwinter outdoors with light mulching, you can dig up whole plants or sections of herbs, pot them and bring them indoors to a sunny location for use all winter.

Get after slugs this month. New eggs will still hatch in cool fall weather. Clean up hiding places such as boards, weed piles, stacked pots and flats. Hand-pick and kill slugs, or trap with containers of beer sunk into the ground.

 

 

The last mowing of the season can be a little shorter than normal to help prevent snow mold in spring.  Apply lawn fertilizer formulated for fall in late October or early November.

Peonies prefer to be undisturbed for many years but if you have a clump that is getting out of hand or needs to be moved, the early part of this month is the time to do it. Lift the plant carefully and cut into sections that have four or five eyes each. Replant, keeping eyes up and very close to the soil surface. Water well several times before the ground freezes.

Don't turn the sprinklers off! Evergreens, including rhododendrons and Oregon grape should go into winter with plenty of water in their root systems. This helps prevent burned needles and scorched leaves from winter dryness. A few long, slow waterings are ideal before the ground freezes.

Pick ripe apples, remembering that the ones on the south sides of trees ripen first. Apples are ripe when they taste good, when the background color changes from bright green to softer green or yellow, when the seeds are brown, and/or when they can be picked easily from the tree with an upward, twisting pull. Store apples at 40° F or as close as possible. They store best in shallow boxes, not deep barrels or boxes.

Houseplants begin to go dormant in the fall, so eliminate fertilizer until spring. Reduce water as well.

 

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