-- Average Temperatures and Rainfall:
October traditionally has the first frost of the season, on
average around the 15th. This month
will generally continue the pattern of low rainfall, but can surprise us with
heavier than normal rains. Rainfall
over the last 30 years has averaged 3.47 inches. Average maximum temperature is 68 degrees F. while average
minimum temperature is 43 degrees F.
- Cool season grasses should be completely recovered from
the high temperatures and moisture stress of the summer. Mid October is an
excellent time to fertilize with a slow release fertilizer and it can be
applied at a rate of one and one-half pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. of
lawn area. If you not use a slow release fertilizer, then you should apply
no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. of lawn area now and
repeat the process in mid November.
leaves will present a challenge this month as the beauty of fall foliage
continues its displays. Some
oak varieties will drop their leaves and others will hold onto them until
spring. Cleaning gutters and
raking or blowing leaves off the lawn areas is important.
In order to compost most of the leaves in this area, there are 2
things to keep in mind. If you
simply pile them up in a wooded area, they will decompose very slowly.
They also will provide good winter cover for snakes and other
wildlife. Using a special mower
setting is one means of shredding, and there are others.
All take energy. Many
people burn their leaves, and it is important to call for a burning permit. Also, in some areas, you may put them in a ditch by the
road, or bagged, and they will be picked up.
harvest vegetables continue to do well in this area.
It is time to dig and store root vegetables as well as harvest winter
squashes and gourds. This is
also a perfect time to roto-till your garden and plant a green fertilizer
crop, high in nitrogen, to be tilled under next spring.
people have difficulty raising good quality bulb plants because of insect
and rodent damage. There are
solutions to these problems and the local Extension Service can help you
find one to suit the size of your projects. After planting the tulip and daffodil, as well as other
bulbs, fertilize with a slow release bulb booster product (9-9-6 or
18-6-12). If you didnít order
fall bulbs, your local nurseries are well stocked with spring flowering
can also use a last minute fertilizing to help their root systems.
This is a good time to plant some reseeding annuals for a fall
showing, such as pansies and violas, or Johnny-JumpUps.
Some biennials that need cold weather before blooming in the spring
can be planted, such as foxgloves, Sweet William and hollyhock varieties.
This is also an excellent time to review your flowerbeds and make
notes for rearrangements. Putting
bulbs in the center or back of beds will allow their post flowering foliage
to be hidden.
and many perennials die back to the ground every year after a killing frost
making the top growth turn black. Now
is the time to remove the dead annuals and cut back those dormant perennials
to ground level, removing the debris from the garden.
At the end of the season, never prune plants with a woody framework
such as evergreens, candytuft, thyme, Russian sage, dianthus, lavender,
hardy rosemary and butterfly bush. You
can snip off old flower stalks and leggy growth, but donít go any farther
than that. Cutting these plants
to the ground in fall is usually fatal, since they continue to
photosynthesize through the winter. Prune
these plants in spring after the threat of a hard freeze is over.
to water your garden areas, particularly new plantings.
Soaker hoses are ideal since they keep the water just where you want
it to go. Water slowly and
deeply, allowing the water to penetrate about 6 inches down.
begins the ideal tree and shrub planting time. Water them well and often until rainfall picks up in the
next month or two.
annuals, such as pansies, violas, snapdragons and dianthus, can be planted
now. Hardy herbs such as
parsley, thyme and rosemary can also be planted, even among the winter
annuals creating a bust of color in the spring.
month, apply a second application of nitrogen on your lawn (no more than 1
pound to 1,000 square feet).
you start fall leaf clean up, consider using chopped up leaves for mulch
(just run over them with your mulching mower).
Birds you may see this month include:
woodpecker, Red headed woodpecker, Hairy woodpecker, Downy woodpecker, Pileated
woodpecker, Purple finch, Northern cardinal, male Red tail hawk, Eastern
bluebird, Muscovy duck, Mallard duck, Lesser scaup, Canada goose, American
goldfinch, Carolina wren, Tufted titmouse, White breasted nuthatch, Mourning
dove, Carolina chickadee, Blue jay, European starling, House finch, Ruby throat
hummingbird, Yellow-shafted flicker American crow, American robin, Gray catbird
and Turkey vulture.
Flowers you may see include:
Yarrow, Autumn Joy sedum, Tuberous begonia, impatiens, wax begonia, Vinca,
Pampas grass, Fountain grass and Petunia.
information has been created by the Cumberland County Master Gardeners
Association, Crossville TN