October Northern Garden Checklist
- Fall cleanup is the best way to reduce and even eliminate many future pest problems. Keep weeding and remove and destroy any diseased leaves and annual plants at the end of the season.
- Leave healthy disease and insect-free perennials stand for winter to increase their hardiness and vigor. Plus, many of your perennials provide homes for overwintering stages of beneficial and beautiful insects like butterflies.
- Put fall leaves to work in annual flower and vegetable gardens once the frost has ended the season. Dig shredded leaves into the soil to break down over winter adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
- Shred fall leaves as you cut the grass and leave them on the lawn adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil. As long as you can see the grass blades through the leaf pieces the lawn will be fine.
- Protect tender annuals from frost by covering with floating row covers or sheets when frost is in the forecast.
- Dig, cure and move non hardy bulbs like cannas, dahlias, elephant ears indoors for winter. Store in cool dark location.
- Keep planting spring flowering bulbs until the ground freezes.
- Dig and divide peonies you want to move, after the leaves have been killed by the frost. Cut the roots into smaller clumps making sure each section has at least 3 to 5 eyes (buds). Replant the divisions with the eyes no than 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface.
Trees and Shrubs:
- Plant trees and shrubs in fall. The soil is warm and air is cool reducing the risk of transplant shock. Be sure to water thoroughly and as needed until the ground freezes.
- You can fertilize trees and shrubs in need of a nutrient boost with Milorganite in fall after the leaves drop.
- Don't worry if your evergreen has yellow or brown needles all along the trunk. This is a common occurrence called seasonal needle drop.
- Pick any remaining tomatoes including mature green tomatoes before the first killing frost. Those tomatoes with the blossom end greenish white or showing color can be ripened indoors.