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Your gardening tasks for October

Ornamentals x x x x Continue watering, especially evergreens if soils are dry.
  x x x x Nuts or seeds of woody plants usually require exposure to 3 months cold before sprouting. This may be provided by outdoor planting in fall or "stratifying" in an unsealed bag of damp peat moss placed in the refrigerator.
  x x x x Container grown and B & B trees and shrubs can be planted. Loosen the soil in an area 5 times the diameter of the root ball before planting. Mulch well after watering.
  x x x x Plant spring bulbs among hostas, ferns, daylilies or ground covers. As these plants grow in the spring they will hide the dying bulb foliage.
  x x o o For best bloom later this winter, Christmas cactus, potted azaleas and kalanchoe may be left outdoors until night temperatures drop to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  o x x x Spring bulbs for forcing can be potted up now and stored in a cool, frost-free place until it is time to bring indoors, usually 12 to 15 weeks.
  o x x o Cannas and dahlias can be dug when frost nips their foliage. Allow the plants to dry under cover in an airy, frost-free place before storage.
  o o x x Transplant deciduous trees once they have dropped their leaves.
  o o o x Plant tulips now.
  o o o x Trees may be fertilized now. This is best done following soil test guidelines.
Lawns x x o o Seeding should be finished by October 15.
  o x x o Broadleaf herbicides can be applied now to control cool season weeds such as chickweed and dandelion.
  o o x x Continue mowing lawns until growth stops.
  o o x x Keep leaves raked off lawns to prevent smothering grass.
  o o x x Now is a good time to apply lime if soil tests indicate the need.
  o o o x Winterize lawn mowers before storage.
Vegetables x x x x Sow cover crops such as winter rye after crops are harvested.
  x x o o Harvest winter squash and pumpkins before frost. For best storage quality, leave an inch or two of stem on each fruit.
  x x o o Dig sweet potatoes before a bad freeze.
  x x o o Gourds should be harvested when their shells become hard or when their color changes from green to brown.
  x x o o A few degrees of frost protection may be gained by covering tender plants with sheets or light-weight fabric row covers.
  x x o o Continue harvesting tender crops before frost.
  o x o o The average first frost usually arrives about October 15-20.
Fruits x x x x Store apples in a cool basement in old plastic sacks that have been perforated for good air circulation.
  o x x o Persimmons start to ripen, especially after frost.
  o o x x Monitor fruit plantings for mouse activity and take steps for their control if present.
  o o o x Place wire guards around trunks of young fruit trees for protection against mice and rabbits.
Miscellaneous x o o o Fall color season begins.
  o o x o Begin peak fall color in maples, hickories and oaks.
  o o o x End of peak fall color.

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