Horticulture Tips for October

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Consider the following landscape/garden tasks as we transition into fall:
  • These recent rains came just in time. Although landscape plants don’t need the same amount of water now as they do in the heat of summer, adequate moisture is important so that they enter the winter in good condition. Keep an eye on soil moisture and water as needed.
  • Continue planting cool season ornamentals like pansies, kale, snapdragons, asters and mums.
  • Spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, hyacinths, crocus, and daffodils can also be planted beginning this month.
  • October is also a great month to plant trees. Purchase quality plants that have proven themselves in this part of the world. The Extension office can provide some direction if you are unsure which trees to select.
  • Cool season lawn seeding can still be done in October, although the earlier in the month, the better to take advantage of ideal growing conditions.
  • Some fall leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce can still be planted assuming some frost protection is available for early cold snaps.
  • Consider planting a cover crop for vegetable gardens to improve the soil and increase the organic matter content. Crops like Austrian winter peas, wheat, clover and rye are all good choices for our area. If you have heavy clay soils, add turnips to the mix. Note: a good cover crop planting is considered a gourmet dinner table for deer.
  • Water gardeners can discontinue feeding fish when the water cools to below 50 degrees. Consider installing bird netting over the pond/water feature to catch falling leaves.
  • Begin preparing sensitive potted plants for their move indoors by slowly reducing light levels. It is also a good idea to inspect the pot and plant closely for signs of rodents or insects before making the indoor move.

For more information on this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at
keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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