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October Gardening To-Do List

October is a great time to be in the garden!  Trees are barely starting to turn colors and the cooler temperatures provide some much needed relief for any lengthy garden chores!

Zone 1

  • Finish planting container-grown trees and shrubs
  • Plant needle-bearing evergreens early in the month
  • If the month is dry, repeat the September soaking
  • Check ties on trees, and loosen any that look tight
  • Finish bulb planting early in the month
  • Cover compost to keep it warm and working
  • Observe trees for fall color; jot names of the best in your notebook
  • Dig dahlia roots after tops are frosted

Zone 2

  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Protect roses for winter

Zone 3

  • Start fall compost pile
  • Cover perennial, vegetable, bulb, and strawberry beds for winter
  • Plant winter- and spring-flowering bulbs
  • Divide and replant crowded fall-blooming bulbs after leaves yellow
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Protect roses for winter

Zone 4

  • Start fall compost pile
  • Cover perennial, vegetable, bulb, and strawberry beds for winter
  • Plant winter- and spring-flowering bulbs
  • Divide and replant crowded fall-blooming bulbs after leaves yellow
  • Buy spring-blooming bulbs
  • Plant container and balled-and-burlapped fruit trees
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Plant, feed, and aerate cool-season lawns and loosen thatch
  • Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials
  • Divide and replant summer- and fall-blooming perennials after bloom
  • Protect roses for winter
  • Plant summer-blooming shrubs and vines
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped trees
  • Plant trees in containers
  • Plant frost-tolerant trees

Zone 5

  • Start fall compost pile
  • Plant winter- and spring-flowering bulbs
  • Divide and replant crowded fall-blooming bulbs after leaves yellow
  • Buy winter- and spring-blooming bulbs
  • Plant container and balled-and-burlapped trees fruit trees
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Plant cool- and warm-season lawns
  • Aerate cool-season lawns and loosen thatch
  • Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials
  • Divide and replant summer- and fall-blooming perennials after bloom
  • Plant container roses
  • Protect roses for winter
  • Plant container and balled-and-burlapped trees, shrubs, and vines
  • Plant summer-blooming shrubs and vines
  • Plant frost-tolerant trees

Zone 6

  • Start fall compost pile
  • Plant winter- and spring-flowering bulbs
  • Divide and replant crowded fall-blooming bulbs after leaves yellow
  • Buy winter- and spring-blooming bulbs
  • Plant container and balled-and-burlapped fruit trees
  • Plant permanent ground covers
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Plant and aerate lawns and loosen thatch
  • Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials
  • Divide and replant summer- and fall-blooming perennials after bloom
  • Plant container roses
  • Protect roses for winter
  • Plant container and balled-and-burlapped trees, shrubs, and vines
  • Plant summer-blooming shrubs and vines
  • Plant frost-tolerant trees
  • Plant needle-leafed evergreens

Zone 7

  • Plant or repair lawns
  • Plant ornamental grasses
  • Cover perennial, vegetable, bulb, and strawberry beds for winter
  • Plant winter- and spring-blooming bulbs
  • Pre-chill tulips and hyacinths for indoor forcing
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped or container fruit trees
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Rake lawn to remove debris
  • Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials
  • Plant container roses
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped or container trees, shrubs, and vines
  • Prune fall-flowering shrubs just after bloom
  • Protect tender plants from frost

Zone 8

  • Plant for fall and winter color
  • Plant winter- and spring-blooming bulbs
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped and container fruit trees
  • Prune frost-sensitive fruit trees
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Plant or repair lawns
  • Plant ornamental grasses
  • Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials
  • Plant fall- and winter-blooming perennials
  • Prune fall-blooming shrubs and vines just after bloom
  • Plant seedlings of cool-season or winter vegetables
  • Sow seeds for cool-season or winter vegetables

Zone 9

  • Plant for fall color with annuals
  • Buy winter- and spring-blooming bulbs
  • Feed and water cacti or succulents that are growing or blooming
  • Feed houseplants that are growing or blooming
  • Repair or plant lawns
  • Rake lawns to remove debris
  • Sow frost-tolerant perennials indoors
  • Plant fall- and winter-blooming perennials
  • Prune fall-flowering shrubs and vines just after bloom
  • Plant or transplant seedlings of cool-season or winter vegetables
  • Sow seeds for cool-season or winter vegetables

Zone 10

  • Plant annuals for fall color
  • Set out fall and winter-blooming plants
  • Plant winter- and spring-blooming bulbs
  • Feed and water cacti and succulents that are growing or blooming
  • Feed houseplants that are growing or blooming
  • Plant winter-blooming perennials
  • Prune fall-flowering shrubs and vines after bloom
  • Sow cool-season vegetable seeds
  • Start seeds for cool-season or winter vegetables

Zone 11

  • Finish planting spring-blooming bulbs
  • Plant container-grown trees and shrubs
  • Feed and water lawn to encourage overseeded grass
  • Prune back summer- and fall-blooming shrubs
  • Allow rose hips to form; it will encourage early dormancy in bushes
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