October Gardening

Fall Lawn Care

It’s time for a second round of Winterizer. This application of Winterizer will green up established grass as well as help make it stronger for winter and next spring. This feeding is also crucial for the survival of grass planted 4-6 weeks ago.

There is still time to plant grass seed through October. Seed planted now will be slower coming up and, depending on weather, may not totally mature this fall, but fall-planted seed will always be stronger going into summer than seed planted in the spring. Grass planted in October will need Winterizer in November.

October to mid November is also a very effective time to rid your lawn of broadleaf weeds and reduce next spring’s weed crop. If you seeded this fall, be sure the new grass has been mowed three times before applying any weed control. Use Shaw’s Broadleaf Weed Control + Fertilizer for weed-and-feed in one application or liquid ferti•lome Weed Free Zone for quicker results now and better weed control in cooler weather.

Fall Color

Plant mums, pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale now to give your garden a burst of color this fall. Use ferti•lome Gardener’s Special in the soil when planting. For plants in containers, use ferti•lome 20-20-20 Water Soluble Plant Food. Use it next spring to get perennials and pansies off to a spectacular start. Pansies will bloom all fall, into winter and again with your bulbs next spring. Mums are perennials and come back year after year to flower in the fall. Mulch pansies, mums and asters to ensure the best winter hardiness and water occasionally if weather is dry through the winter.

Poinsettias & Christmas Cactus

These traditional holiday plants need a little special attention now if you want color again this Christmas.

Poinsettias need long nights to trigger the color change in the bracts. Early October is generally the time to start these artificial “nights.” The 12-14 hour dark period must be uninterrupted by any light source. Even a dim light bulb can throw off the treatment. During the remaining “day” period, poinsettias need a sunny location. The process takes about six weeks, then you can leave the plants in bright light to finish the color change.

Christmas cactus may also be given longer “nights” to trigger bud development, or they can be kept cool. This can be achieved by leaving plants outdoors as nighttime temperatures stay in the 50s. Bring them inside to a bright location once buds set on.

Tulips & Other Bulbs

October is “prime time” for bulb planting. Daffodils, crocus, tulips and hyacinths can be planted anytime now through December. When planning your spring garden, remember that bulbs make a more effective display when planted in groups rather than singly. Plant with the pointed end of the bulb up. Good drainage is crucial, so work up the area and incorporate Pro Mix BRK with the soil. Add High Yield Bone Meal, a slow release phosphorus, to improve the soil for root development or Hi Yield Bone & Blood Meal blend for a total fertilization of new or existing bulbs.

Bulb Planting Chart

Bulb                           Depth                 Spacing

Crocus & sm. bulbs   3-4”                     2-3”

Daffodils                     6-8”                     6”

Hyacinth                     6”                        4-6”

Tulips                          5-6”                     4-6”

Larger Bulbs               8”                         8-12”

Water bulbs in well with ferti•lome Root Stimulator and continue watering occasionally through fall and winter if weather is dry and warm.

Trees & Shrubs

Every Indiana summer presents its own challenges that stress our trees and shrubs, whether it’s heat and drought or saturated soils. The best thing to do to help plants next spring is to water and to fertilize this fall with ferti•lome Tree & Shrub Food. Tree & Shrub Food is a granular fertilizer you just sprinkle or spread underneath plants, then water in. This allows fertilizer to get to all the little feeder roots and to be utilized efficiently by the plant. Tree & Shrub Food is good for deciduous and evergreen plants and may be applied until the ground freezes.

Wrap the trunks of newly planted and thin barked trees like maples and fruit trees to protect them from winter scald. And, use ferti•lome Tree and Shrub Systemic Insect Drench now to prevent insects next spring. 

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