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It’s October… What Needs To Be Done


  •  Plant cool season annuals such as pinks, snapdragons and ornamental cabbages and kale early in the month. Wait until temperatures have cooled to plant pansies and violas.
  • Complete planting these fall vegeteables early in the month: radishes, spinach and turnips.
  • Last chance to sow wildflowers in order to have blooms next spring. Always purchase “fresh” seed.
  • Purchase spring-flowering bulbs while selection is good. Chill tulip and Dutch hyacinth at 45 degrees F for 60 days prior to planting. Daffodil and grape hyacinth require no special handling, but should be stored in a cool location until planting (soil temperature below 55 degrees F). Recommended daffodil varieties include Ice Follies, Fortune, Carlton, Cheerfulness and Tahiti.
  • Fall is a great time to set out perennial herbs, including thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, lemon balm, pineapple sage and Mexican mint marigold. Work a few inches of compost into soil prior to planting and mulch the plants after planting.

Fertilizing and Pruning

  •  Remove annuals that have completed their life cycle. Leave seed pods to self-seed next year (cleome, cosmos, four o’clocks).
  • Continue to feed tropical plants in containers and hanging baskets with a water soluble fertilizer. Cut back or report overgrown houseplants and fertilize with same fertilizer.
  • Spring and summer-flowering shrubs and vines (including climbing roses, wisteria, etc.) should not be pruned at this time because they have already established their buds for next year’s blooms. Prune these plants immediately after they stop blooming next year.

Garden Watch

  • Watch for brown-patch fungus on St. Augustine lawns. Water only in the mornings and apply turf fungicide at first sign of fungus.
  • Watch for cutworms and looper caterpillars on young leafy vegetables. Products containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) are safe to control these pests. Control aphids with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.
  • Attention, Christmas cactus owners! To initiate flower buds, give the plants bright light each day followed by 12-14 hours of total darkness at night, for 30 days starting mid-month. And keep night temperatures under 65 degrees F.


  •  Make landscape changes starting this month. Be sure to select native and adapted trees, shrubs and perennials to compliment or renovate your landscape. Fall planting will allow these plants to establish roots before hot, dry weather arrives next year.
  • Grouping plants in the landscape with like watering requirements (hydrozoning) can result in significant water savings.
  • Implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to reduce the amount of pesticides used in your landscape. IPM is a common sense, science-based strategy used to manage pests (insects, plant diseases, weeds) by applying economically and environmentally sustainable practices. Learn more about this holistic system of pest control at http://landscapeipm.tamu.edu .

Click here to read the complete  E-Garden Newsletter   October 2018 E-Garden Newsletter


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