Late October Landscape Tasks

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
As I sit here writing this week’s column, the forecasters are saying significant rains are a near certainty for this weekend. If the much needed rains don’t develop, it will be time to give your landscape a good thorough watering. The above average temperatures we’ve had the last few weeks have really dried things out and plants need some moisture right now to give them their best chance of making it through the winter in good shape.

Our typical first freeze of the year typically happens in the next 10 days. While a freeze is not showing up on the long range forecast yet, things can change fairly quickly so now is the time to get ready. While you are out and about in the landscape, here are a couple more suggestions to consider.

Right now is a great time to walk your landscape and take notes on what you like and don’t like. Are plants too crowded? Do trees need pruning? Would a perennial or shrub perform better if it was moved to another location? Is there a spot in the landscape that would benefit from additional planting? While it may not be time to do all these things, it is a great time to note what needs to be done when the appropriate time comes. It can also help to tag the plants you plan to do something with since they can look a lot different come next spring.

For those of you still harvesting vegetables, you might consider making plans to cover your crops just in case our first freeze is a light one. I don’t know about you, but I had some of the best tomatoes of the season for lunch yesterday, and its fun to think about the idea of eating garden fresh tomatoes picked in November.

Now is also a great time to begin composting if you are not already doing so. Leaves are starting to drop (the rain forecast is likely to greatly accelerate this) and they are excellent for building mass in the compost pile. Don’t be intimidated by the composting process, it can be as simple, or as complex as you want it to be. For more information on composting, see
OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6436 Healthy Garden Soils.

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.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies

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