It's a jungle out there! There is no doubt most of us have lots of pruning to do but where do you start? Well skip the azaleas, camellias and similar plants that flower in late fall and winter. They have their buds formed and you could be pruning off future blooms. Every other plant is fair game for pruning.
Now, you might be a bit lenient. There is no need for heavy pruning in most cases but do reign in out of bounds shoots and those interfering with good landscape maintenance. Some walkways are completely enclosed with summer growths so these may have to be cut way back. Also many perennials have grown lanky and may have lots of dead shoots. Some extra pruning may be needed here.
And what about the roses? I suggest some good grooming. Cut long stem blooms but also cut out all dead or declining portions. There is also nothing wrong with reshaping the plants some. Give the roses a good feeding and you should have lots of blooms in 6 to 8 weeks.
Don't forget the weeds too. Some can be pulled and others spot killed. Now is a good time to renew mulch layers when the weeds are under control. Any mulch will do but not too much A two to three inch mulch layer is best for trees and shrubs. Less is needed for perennials, flower beds and vegetable plantings.
Now is also the time for early fall feedings. Most shrubs, flowers and ground covers need this final boost. Use a general landscape fertilizer. Also, now is the last feeding time for citrus trees this year. Do give the lawn a feeding. Some lawns have not had fertilizer since the end of May due to new feeding regulations in some areas of the State. It is definitely the last feeding for zoysia, and bahia. Many gardeners even skip this feeding for centipede lawns.
- Chinch bugs and sod webworms can linger into fall; control as needed
- Fill bare spots in lawns left from summer pests with sod or plugs.
- Seeding time for bahiagrass if over; delay rye seedings until late November.
- Fall feeding time has arrived; use a low phosphorus product made for your lawn type.
- Adjust irrigation systems to water lawns separately from other plantings.
- Trim grass away from sprinklers and adjust them to ensure proper operation.
- Use soil aeration in compacted and poorly drained soils to encourage better root growth.
- Use weed control products as needed to control established weeds or seeds.
- Rake out brown leaf blades but delay thatch removal until spring.
- Continue mowing to maintain proper turf height.
- Use mulch or ornamental ground covers in areas where turf won't grow.
Vegetable and fruit tree care:
- Add large transplants of warm season tomatoes and peppers to the garden.
- Hurry to plant all warm season vegetables during early October.
- Begin planting the cool season vegetables.
- Groom summer weary herb plantings and start new ones that prefer the cooler weather.
- Most vegetables need a moist soil; water when the surface soil begins to dry to the touch.
- Start seeds of broccoli, cauliflower and similar vegetables in containers to produce transplants.
- Feed in ground vegetables every 3 to 4 weeks; container gardens weekly.
- Fruit splitting on citrus trees is normal and may continue into the fall.
- Help prevent citrus fruit drop and splitting; water once or twice a week during dry weather.
- Give citrus a final feeding of the year during early October.
- Trellis tomatoes to help keep them pest free and easy to see.
- Caterpillars are major pests in vegetable gardens; use natural sprays to control as needed.
- Add a mulch to the surface of the soil to conserve moisture and keep the vegetables dirt free.
- Till new garden sites and enrich sandy soils with organic matter and manure.
- Create container gardens for the patio and balcony.
- Start papaya seedlings for late winter transplants.
- Add strawberry plants to a garden or build a pyramid for planting.
- Delay pruning all fruit plantings until mid to late winter.
- Begin harvesting early season navel, Satsuma and Hamlin citrus.
- Harvest maturing chayotes, cocoyams, dasheens, gourds and sweet potatoes.
- Crape myrtles are dropping their leaves which is normal as they go dormant.
- Poinsettia and azalea pruning time is over for this year except for out of bounds shoots.
- Shield poinsettias from nighttime lights starting mid month.
- The dry season is ahead; moisten only as needed to conserve water.
- Most established trees and shrubs can go a week or more between waterings.
- Trim away limbs and weeds affecting the operation of sprinkler systems.
- Install micro-sprinklers near tree and shrub plantings to increase water use efficiency.
- Give palms and shrubs a final feeding of the year with a slow release fertilizer.
- Feed flower beds monthly; container plantings every other week.
- Add fall plants to hanging baskets and container gardens.
- Edge sidewalks and plant beds.
- Replace soil in problem flower beds and planters.
- Replant flower beds with cool season annuals and perennials; delay pansies until November.
- Divide perennials and bulbs.
- Trim back chrysanthemums after flowering to encourage new buds.
- Check rose foliage for mites and black spot; control as needed.
- Give hedges a final trimming.
- Give water lilies and bog plants a monthly feeding.
House & foliage plant care:
- Begin forcing amaryllis and paper white narcissus for indoor displays.
- Obtain new plants for the home.
- Remove declining foliage and faded flowers from home and patio plants.
- Reduce watering of holiday cactuses to when the surface soil is dry and stop feedings.
- Make sure poinsettias, holiday cactuses and kalanchoes receive no nighttime light.
- Start moving cold sensitive foliage plants to a warm location.
- Give root balls of plants coming indoors a five minute soak in water to float out pests.
- Feed plants in bright light monthly.
- Wash plant foliage to remove dust and pests.
- Water when the surface soil begins to feel dry to the touch.
October 2018 Plantings
Flowers: African daisy, alyssum, angelonia, ageratum, begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, calendula, candytuft, celosia, chrysanthemums, cleome, coleus, cornflower, cosmos,
dianthus, dusty miller, gaillardia, gazania, geraniums, gerbera, heliotrope, hollyhock, impatiens, larkspur, lobelia, nicotiana, pentas, petunia, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, sweet pea, verbena and zinnia.
Vegetables: Beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, collards,
kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onion, peas, potato, radicchio, radish, rhubarb, roquette, rutabaga,
spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard and turnip
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamom, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel,
garlic, lavender, lemon balm, lovage, mint, nasturtium, oregano, rosemary, sage, sweet
marjoram, tarragon, thyme and water cress.
Bulbs: African lily, agapanthus, amaryllis, anemone, bulbine, calla, crinum, day lily, gingers,
gladiolus, pineapple lily, rain lily, society garlic, spider lilies, walking iris, watsonia.
Refrigerate crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, narcissus and tulips for forcing.