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Fall into a New Season

  Oct 7, 2016   Demaree


October is the official start of fall and all the gardening activity that goes with our short 6 week season (short because by early November everybody's thinking of Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping!). The fall planting season has some great advantages. Cooler weather leading into winter allows plants time to establish before next spring. This is especially true for perennials with slow developing roots. Trees and shrubs planted now will easily out grow those planted in spring and are not easily heat stressed . Remember to stake trees properly to prevent blow down.
If you have a Bermuda lawn, October is the optimum time to over-seed with perennial rye (NOT annual rye) for the winter. This is also a good time to overseed or re-sod fescue lawns.
The weather is great for planting pansies, snapdragons, calendulas, iceland poppies and other fall annuals. Remember, uneven watering, poor drainage or heat stress on fall flowers may lead to root fungus (Phytophthora) that can be devastating to your flower bed. Agri-fos fungicide is an excellent preventative and can be applied at planting time to prevent or control this diSease. My suggestion is to wait until the second week of October (my Birthday!!) to plant.
Bulb planting season lasts till January though selections are poor by then. So don't feel like you have to rush out and buy, but don't wait till the last minute either!! (sounds like Christmas shopping!)
My grandmother raised chrysanthemums in our yard and every fall I think of her during the fall Mum season. Enjoy these festive flowers but remember they only bloom a short time and require trimming to the ground in winter and fertilizing and staking before naturally blooming in late-spring of next year.

Pre-emergents like Dimension, Amaze or Surflan should be applied now for winter weed control. It's so much easier than trying to spray weeds down during cold wet weather, I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of it. Don't use these products in areas where you'll be planting fall annuals or overseeding lawns.
The last round of fertilizing with a low nitrogen-high phosphorus fertilizer (6-20-10) or slow release Organic for trees, shrubs and perennials should be done now.