October Southern Garden Checklist
- Protect tender annuals from frost by covering with floating row covers or sheets when frost is in the forecast.
- 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.
- 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.
- Start installing animal protection now. Fencing, scare tactics and repellents or a combination of these can help protect your plants from hungry critters this winter.
- Dig, cure and move cannas, dahlias, elephant ears indoors for winter if they are not hardy in your area. Store in a cool dark location.
- Plant spring flowering bulbs when the night temperatures are consistently between 40 and 50 degrees. Those in the far south need to select bulbs that need minimal chilling or purchase precooled bulbs.
- 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 Shrub:
- 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.
- Don't worry if your evergreen has yellow or brown needles all along the trunk. This is a common occurrence called seasonal needle drop.
- Sanitation 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.