by Rick Vuyst
How often do I hear people say, “I just love the fall season!” There is so much to love about October in the garden. From pumpkins and gourds to fall foliage color and crisp refreshing air, we fall in love with the outdoors. Aside from being a beautiful time of the year, it is also the perfect time to rejuvenate or establish your landscape. Let me count the ways! In the words of Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” Below are ten reasons why October should give you a kick in the plants to get out in the garden!
1.Plants put in the ground in October focus on establishment; the soil is warm for roots while the air temperature cools reducing stress.
2. Bulbs! Plant tulips, daffodils, alliums, hyacinths, crocus and more now for spring color.
3. Mum’s the word. Chrysanthemums provide vibrant color and come back year after year. Give asters a try too; today’s new varieties are reliable bloomers!
4. Weed control is effective in fall. Weeds just like the trees are moving food reserves into their root systems for winter so herbicide sprays are more effective when applied in fall. Weed control will also knock out winter annual weeds now so they don’t appear in spring.
5. Fall annuals like pansies or ornamental kale are frost tolerant and provide color well into November.
6. Lawns, like plants, focus on root establishment in the fall because of the warm soil and cool air temperatures. Feed your lawn and overseed, and it will reward you next spring with thick lush healthy growth. Consider core aeration in fall especially if your soil is clay-like in nature.
7. Shrubs and trees establish well in fall. Again, the roots will establish in the soil without energy put into top growth. Fall planted landscape plants establish quicker the following year than spring planted material.
8. Exercise your green thumb in dollar savings! Deals are generally available in fall to save you money.
9. Money grows on trees. Leaves have natural nutrients and organic structure to improve the tilth of your soil.
10. Maintain your “composture.” Start a compost pile for your garden next year. There’s no time like the present, and October is a great time to start!