Horticulture Tips for October

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Before we talk about October landscape tasks, we need to repeat the message from the last two weeks (9/12 & 9/19): The Payne County Extension office is continuing to see high evidence of very heavy insect activity on a variety of plants.

To go into detail about each of the insects and the plants being affected would require several dedicated columns. The take home message is simply this:
Homeowners should not be surprised to see a variety of plants being eaten, chewed on, or otherwise damaged by insect activity for the next few weeks. Mature, well established plants can easily handle the damage with no long-term issues. Only in rare circumstances should treatment to control the insects be justified.

One particular pest problem that has gotten a lot of attention since Tuesday’s cool front blew through does give you an opportunity to “take action” to reduce the potential for a repeat next year. If you find a large number of small branches laying under your trees that appear to have been whittled off, Twig girdlers are present. If you collect these branches and destroy them, you will remove the eggs for next years beetles.

Other tips for your October landscape include:
  • Plant trees! Planting now allows the trees to invest its energy in establishing a root system over the winter, giving it a nice head start over spring planted trees.
  • Continue planting cool season ornamentals.
  • Plant a cover crop for your vegetable garden. Austrian winter peas, clover, rye and wheat are all good choices. Note a good cover crop by another name can be called a “deer plot”, i.e. if you have deer in your area, expect a cover crop to bring them into your garden.
  • It is not too late to seed a cool season lawn with Tall fescue or a mixture of Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.
  • If you have plants in containers you’ll be moving inside, begin to prepare them for the process by gradually moving them into shady areas to help prepare them for reduced light levels. As you move the containers, keep your eyes open for any signs of insect activity and treat accordingly.

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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