October is the best month to plant drought-tolerant perennials, shrubs and trees in our area. They have extra time to get established so they’ll need less water next summer.
It’s also a great time to divide and replant overgrown perennials. But to get those transplants well established, preparation is key to success:
▪ Before planting, add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole or bed, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring.
▪ Keep the transplants watered (but not soggy) for the first month as they become settled. During the cooler (and hopefully wetter) months to come, they’ll develop strong roots. If the drought continues into winter, remember to irrigate these transplants occasionally – they’re growing underground.
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Elsewhere in the fall garden:
▪ Trim spent flowers from rosebushes to coax one more round of blooms. You’ll have fresh bouquets for your Thanksgiving table.
▪ Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.
▪ Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and Dutch iris. Add bone meal to the beds for larger blooms and stronger stems.
▪ Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.
▪ Plant seeds for such cool-weather veggies as radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas. Plant garlic and onions.
▪ Watch out for snails and slugs. Hand-pick them off plants when these pests come out at nightfall.