Green Thumb Tips -
Echter’s Plant Doctors are available
during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For
accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
- Mums are frost hardy and are a great value for the
spectacular show of color they provide.
- After the foliage freezes on your gladioli, cannas, dahlias, begonias and
other tender summer-blooming bulbs dig them up, brush the dirt off, let
them dry for a few days, then store them in vermiculite or peat moss and
keep the medium moist throughout the winter.
- Planting large pots of garden mums, asters, or flowering kale as you remove annuals from beds
and borders gives you a spectacular show of color immediately.
Make notes on
the past growing season's gardening successes or disappointments while the
still fresh in your mind. If you had problems, come in and we will try to help
you turn them into successes.
October is the best month to plant your spring-flowering
bulbs. Fertilize with bulb food, super phosphate or bone meal when you plant the bulbs. Water them in thoroughly
- When planting bulbs the
pointed end of the bulb is positioned upward. Plant small, early-flowering bulbs
where they can be seen from indoors, since they bloom when it is usually too
cold to enjoy them outside.
small, early flowering bulbs where they can be seen from indoors, since
they bloom when it is usually too cold to enjoy them outside.
Perennials & Roses
- Plant perennials at the
same time you plant bulbs. You’ll be able to place perennial plants between your
bulb groupings for color from spring to fall.
Many perennials and ornamental grasses add seasonal interest to the garden with
attractive seed heads
and plumes. Choose what you would like to remain intact and tidy
up others by cutting back tall stems to the base foliage.
As the soil cools, apply mulch around perennial
plants, especially those that have been recently
- Water roses less frequently and stop fertilizing to prepare them for winter
dormancy. Don’t forget to water monthly during the winter if there is no natural
snow or rain.
- Remove any foliage with fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and rust. Discard
in the trash. Cleaning
up now will help prevent a recurrence of the problem next
- Cut back perennials leaving a 6 inch stub above the ground. Leave
those with attractive seed heads for winter interest, such as coneflower
- Leave the fronds of your outdoor ferns on the plant to protect the crowns.
Prune out the old fronds in the spring when new shoots show in the
- Green Thumb Winterizer
should be applied in mid October. Your lawn will be nice and green in the
As leaves fall, rake them from lawns and add to compost or shred them and dig
directly into your vegetable garden. Soggy mats of leaves on turf can lead to
your grass at a height of 2 ½" for the final mowing of the season.
- Continue to water as long as the temperatures remain above freezing. Give your lawn a good watering
before you drain your sprinkler systems. Drain the system
before the temperatures drop into the low twenties, to avoid freeze damage
to the lines and sprinkler heads. Insulate and protect the vacuum
breaker that is above ground before the first freezing weather.
- In October, deep water
trees and shrubs every three weeks thoroughly.
Do not fertilize trees now.
- If you had
insect problems on your trees and shrubs, spray a dormant oil spray on the
trunks and limbs
to suffocate those insects that are overwintering in the
cracks and crevices of the bark.
- October is the best month to select trees and shrubs with fall color. Genetically, plants may differ in their fall beauty, so what you see in the
nursery is what you’ll have in your yard.
- If you see browning needles in your pines and spruces, do not panic. It
is a normal phenomenon. In the fall these plants lose their oldest
needles and keep three or four years of their newest growth.
- Rake up all aspen leaves to reduce the chance of revival of any
leaf-related disease you may have experienced. Dispose of these
leaves and do not add them to your compost pile or incorporate them into
your vegetable garden.
Prepare your vegetable garden
soil this fall following your harvest because amending soil in the spring
be delayed if wet conditions prevail. Add Premier sphagnum peat moss, manure and Nature's Yield Compost now. It will age and decompose over the
winter and provide for earlier and easier planting next spring.
shredded leaves, garden debris, grass clippings and kitchen scraps, (excluding
meat products) into your garden this fall. They will compost over the
winter and greatly improve your garden soil next spring. Be sure the organic
matter is insect and disease free.
- Cut dead
stalks of asparagus and trim raspberry canes which have borne fruit this
year. Look for the leftover plugs at the top of the canes to tell
which ones fruited this year.
- Divide rhubarb and transplant overcrowded roots after the first killing
frost for improved production next year.
- Pumpkin seeds are a very healthy snack. Clean all fiber from seeds
and soak seeds in salt water overnight. Bake at 250 degrees for one
- Holiday cactus
need special care to get beautiful flowers this December. Buds will form for
the holidays if you keep artificial light off them at night starting in mid
houseplants will benefit from a good leaching. Take them to your kitchen
sink or bathtub and water twice or three times to remove built up soluble
salts remaining from fertilizer or minerals from the water. If left, these
salts can build up and burn the roots and browning the tips and margins of
- Amaryllis is the most majestic of all the holiday plants. To have blooms
at Christmas, plant amaryllis bulbs 7-10 weeks earlier. Choose a pot about
2" wider than the bulb and one that is heavy enough to keep from
tipping. Fill the pot part way with potting mix. Set the
bulb so that the top 1/3 of the bulb will be above the top of the soil
when you fill the pot to 1" below the top edge of the pot. Give
the plant about 4 hours of bright light a day. Plant every 2 weeks
for a spectacular color show all winter.
Feeding the birds outside during the winter is great fun for young and old
alike. You do need to have the right foods for the birds you are trying to
attract. Start early while there are plenty of birds around. Keep the
feeding stations clean and full.
- Clean out bird houses and bird feeders to prevent the spread of diseases for next year’s families.
sure to supply a water source for birds during the winter time.
- Get your pond ready
for winter. Remove debris and clean the pond surface and filters. Remove old
foliage and place plants into deeper water. Pond netting will keep fallen
leaves and unwanted predators out of
your pond. Set up a deicer or aerator
in your pond to ensure one area remains unfrozen and gasses can exchange for
- Empty fountains and remove
pumps before freezing weather arrives. Cover fountains with fountain covers
bring them into the garage. Birdbaths must be coated with Thompson’s Water Sealant
before winter if they are left outdoors. Use a birdbath heater to prevent the
water from freezing.
- After October 15, (or when the water temperature falls below 50º
feed fish Tetra Pond Spring and Fall Diet. Stop feeding fish once
you see ice along the edges of the water in the morning.
- October is the time to clean the organic matter from the bottom of your
pond. Remember the yucky sludge from your pond makes an excellent
addition to your compost pile.
- Be sure to rake your leaves
in the fall, disposing of any diseased or insect-ridden leaves. Rake healthy
leaves into a pile, chop them up with your lawn mower, and add the resulting
mulch into your compost
pile or rototill it into your garden.
- It pays to have good
quality tools and keep them in good condition because it causes the least amount
of damage or stress to plants. It’s also easier on the gardener as your work
will go faster.
- Choose a pumpkin with a stem
that is at least 2" long. Pumpkins that are darker orange may last longer
and are a bit tougher. When you get it home, clean it with soap and water
to keep bacteria away. Protect from frost.
while outside with a chimenea or fire pit. These outdoor “fireplaces”
will keep you cozy warm while preparing your meal and entertaining
spiders, crickets, millipedes, earwigs and other bothersome bugs from coming
into the house for the winter by spraying Green Thumb Home Pest
around the foundation of your house and especially window wells.
- Fall is a great time to relax, enjoy your patio and cook outdoors. Try adding apple, hickory or mesquite
chips to your grill for a unique