Don’t let the snow start falling without first taking care of your lawn, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says. To ensure a lush, green expanse of grass in the spring, rake and dethatch your lawn, then aerate it to reduce soil compaction. October is a good time to fertilize, weed and seed your lawn, too, to promote new growth that crowds out broadleaf weeds. Buy a soil test kit from your local garden center to if you’re having trouble establishing grass and other plants; you’ll want to balance soil to about 6.5 pH and may need to add lime, sulfur, potash, potassium and other enhancements to get your grass to grow.
October is the perfect time to plant the bulbs that will bring your garden color next spring and throughout the year, says the Dodge City Daily Globe. Most flowering bulbs perform well in conditions with full sun to part shade, and sandy loam or ameliorated garden soils with a pH of 6.0–7.0. Planting depths vary — large bulbs such as tulips should be planted about 6″ deep, while smaller bulbs need as little as 2″ of soil cover. Plant bulbs in clumps for best results in display; they are not “row” flowers like many annuals. Keep the soil moist, add a layer of mulch, and wait for the spring thaw and colorful blooms!
Fall is a great time to do some #planting. Many new trees and shrubs that go in now will have the chance to establish roots before the freeze, giving them a jump start on the new season. “You can get stuff in the ground, and just walk away,” nursery manager Mike Ingalls told Vermont’s Seven Days. “The trees are in place and ready to go in the spring, starting to grow in their forever home. They’re already popping.” What’s more, trees and shrubs planted now will resume their natural growing cycle — and may even show some fall colors before going dormant for the winter.
Now’s the time to clean out #garden beds if you want them to flourish and flower next spring. Pull out annuals and any other plants and shrubs that have died back. Cut the grass one last time, and make it short — shaggy lawns left under snowpack can develop brown patches, Cleveland.com says. Rake up the grass trimmings, dead leaves and other detritus and compost them if they are disease-free; burn or trash suspect material. Mulch flower beds to discourage the growth of weeds in the spring. Finally, clean and sharpen your garden tools — and then relax around the fire pit.
Every year at about this time, deciduous trees start to change color and lose their leaves. The rainbow of colors is a spectacle many enjoy will viewing on a crisp fall weekend, as the changes progress southward through October alongside cooler temperatures.
Optimum viewing depends upon your location. Fall colors are already starting to peak in the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, TripSavvy says, as well as the northernmost reaches of Minnesota and Michigan. Other locations are just beginning to see the leaves turn.
While fall colors come with colder weather, the good news is that thanks to an exceptionally wet spring and summer, 2019 may have some of the most vibrant fall foliage ever seen in many locations. Most areas of the country will see a range of yellows, oranges and reds in the next six weeks, according to a fall foliage forecast.
To make the most of fall leaf-peeping, says Yankee magazine’s Jim Salge, check the timing in your area online. Plan on a doing a couple of hours’ drive to chase the peak colors, he notes, and try to sample a few other fall activities such as harvest festivals along the way.
Those stuck at home, of course, may find the leaves changing color and falling to be more of a nuisance. To clean them up effectively, get the right tools, says The Spruce. Attach a bagging system to your mower, use a leaf blower or get an ergonomically designed rake to collect all of nature’s seasonal detritus in one pile or place.
Then — instead of bagging those leaves and setting them out for garbage pickup — a thriftier and more ecofriendly option is to use the organic material to amend the soil in your garden and lawn. Use shredded leaves as mulch or add them to a compost heap to reintegrate their nutrients into new growth, the site says.
Shred leaves for the best results in composting, Compost Guide says, and turn the heap at least every three weeks to ensure that the organic matter gets the chance to break down by the time you plant again. Or simply gather your leaves in a heap and let them decay into a nutritious mulch.
Whether you like to look at the leaves change colors or want the satisfaction of getting them off your lawn and out of sight, October offers plenty of options. Enjoy the season!