Timely Tips — October 2013
Plant: Daffodils, narcissus and jonquils soon after you buy them. Small- and early-flowering types have the best chance of repeating year after year. Tulips and hyacinths must be refrigerated at least 45 days at 45 degrees prior to planting. (Plant no earlier than mid-December.) Dig and divide established clumps of spring- and summer-flowering perennials early in month. Pansies once temperatures are in the low 80s during the daytimes. Include pinks, snapdragons, flowering cabbage and flowering kale as well. They can be planted anytime this month. Woody shrubs, trees and other landscape plants. Watch for sales in your favorite nurseries; they reduce inventory before winter.
Prune: Keep mowing turf at recommended heights right up to first freeze. Remove dead leaves, flower stalks and seed heads from perennial plantings. Remove dead and damaged limbs from trees while you can distinguish them from healthy growth. However, if you’re concerned about drought damage, you’re always safe to leave the plant until spring, to see what releafs. Prune tropical plants to reshape them before you bring them indoors for the winter.
Fertilize: Get pansies, other annuals off to quick start with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food every few days after planting. Cut back on fertilizer applied to plants you’ll be bringing indoors for the winter. Last feeding of bermuda, St. Augustine lawns, trees, shrubs and groundcovers should be made very early in month. This “winterizer” fertilizer should be with the same material you’ve used the rest of the growing season.
On The Lookout: Watch turf for fall problems. St. Augustine will probably develop brown patch (dead leaves pull loose easily from runners), especially if fall rains come. Control with turf fungicide, and cease evening waterings, since they spread the fungus. If you have dead areas in your St. Augustine (runners are dead as well as the leaf blades), odds are very good that they are either leftover drought damage or the results of a late summer infestation of chinch bugs. This was a rough summer for them. Watch patio plants for insect, mite and disease problems. Treat as needed before bringing plants indoors. Apply glyphosate-type weedkiller early this month to eliminate established grass and weeds prior to rototilling for new garden beds.