By Ray Ridlen
Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
Following are some basic lawn and garden tips for the month of October.
• Continue to replant or establish cool season lawns like fescue. Mowing height for fescue should be lowered to around 2 1/2 inches for fall and winter cutting.
• Broadleaf weeds and dandelions still can be easily controlled during October.
• Mow and neatly edge warm season lawns before killing frost.
• Cool season bedding plants like pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale still can be planted during the early part of the month.
• Begin planting spring flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, crocus, daffodils.
• Good companion plants for bulbs are evergreen ground covers such as ajuga, vinca, English ivy, alyssum, potentilla, moneywort, thrift, phlox, oxalis and leadwort.
• Peonies, daylilies and other spring flowering perennials should be divided or planted now. Large, aging perennial clumps produce spindly foliage and meager blooms. Dig tender perennials like cannas, dahlias, caladiums, and store in cool, dry location.
• Selection of hardy perennials is overwhelming and many can be planted at this time.
• Take tropical water garden plants indoors.
• Twig girdler insects should be controlled if large numbers of small branches of elms, pecans, persimmons are uniformly girdled and fall to the ground.
• Select trees from the nursery and garden center to add color to the fall landscape.
• Check and treat houseplants for insect pests before bringing indoors, and repot rootbound plants.
• Plant container grown trees, shrubs and pines this month.
• It is still not too late to plant radishes and mustard in the fall garden.
• If using a cold frame, plant spinach, lettuce and various other cool season crops for production most of the winter.
• Plant cool season cover crops like Austrian winter peas, wheat, clover, rye, in otherwise fallow garden plots.
• All debris should be removed from the garden to prevent overwintering of various garden pests.
• Dig sweet potatoes and harvest pumpkins and winter squash.
• Remove green fruit from tomatoes when frost threatens.
• Fall is best time to test the soil. It should be tested every two to three years.
• Harvest oriental persimmons and pawpaws as they begin to change color.
• Plant fall mums and asters and keep watered during dry conditions.
• Start new planting bed preparations now with plenty of organic matter.
• Prepare water garden for winter by placing hardy plants in deeper areas of pool. Stop feeding fish.
• Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch leaf drop during winter months.
RAY RIDLEN is an agriculture/horticulture educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Extension Service. For more information about upcoming classes or services, call 713-1125.