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October Gardening Tips

David Hillock, Consumer Horticulturist

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

Division Of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

  • Lawn and Turf

    You can continue to replant or establish cool-season lawns like fescue.


    The mowing height for fescue should be lowered to approximately 2½ inches for fall and winter cutting.


    Broadleaf weeds like dandelions can be easily controlled during October. (Printable HLA-6601)


    Mow and neatly edge warm-season lawns before killing frost.

  • Flowers/Ornaments

    Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons and dusty miller when temperatures begin to cool.


    Begin planting spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, crocus and daffodils.


    Good companion plants for bulbs are ground covers such as ajuga, vinca, English ivy, alyssum, moneywort, thrift, phlox, oxalis and leadwort.


    Peonies, daylilies, and other spring-flowering perennials should be divided or planted now.


    Dig and store tender perennials like cannas, dahlias, and caladiums in a cool, dry location.


    Purchase trees from nurseries and garden centers at this time to select the fall color you prefer.


    Many perennials can be planted at this time and the selection is quite nice.


    Plant fall mums and asters and keep them watered during dry conditions.  Don’t crowd since they take a couple of years to reach maturity.


    Plant container-grown trees and shrubs this month.


    Check and treat houseplants for insect pests before bringing them indoors and repot rootbound plants.

  • Fruits and Vegetables

    Dig sweet potatoes and harvest pumpkins and winter squash.


    Remove green fruit from tomato plants when frost threatens.


    Harvest Oriental persimmons and pawpaws as they begin to change color.


    There is still time to plant radishes and mustard in the fall garden.


    Use a cold frame device to plant spinach, lettuce and various other cool-season crops for production most of the winter.


    Plant cool-season cover crops like Austrian winter peas, wheat, clover, and rye in otherwise fallow garden plots.

    Remove all debris from the garden to prevent overwintering of various garden pests.


    Start new planting bed preparations now with plenty of organic matter.

  • Water Gardens

    Take tropical water garden plants indoors when water temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


    Close the water garden for the winter by placing hardy plants in the deeper areas of the pool.  Stop feeding the fish.


    Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch dropping leaves during the winter months.

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