from The University of Maryland
Cooperative Extension Center's
Home & Garden Info Center
TO DO NOW:
- Pull up, shred and compost spent vegetable plants. Plants and fruits with severe disease problems should be put out with the trash.
- Plant trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials in selected sites.
- Control broadleaf perennial weeds (clover, dandelion, plaintain, etc.) and winter annual weeds (dead nettle, henbit, etc.) in your lawn with a labeled herbicide.
- Fertilize your lawn this fall to keep it healthy and thick. Apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. of fescue or bluegrass turf. Make a repeat application in mid- to late October. (Only one application delivering 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. is necessary if you are using a slow -release fertilizer).
Week of October 6:
- Troubled by insect invaders? Elm leaf beetles, boxelder bugs and lady bird beetles may find their way inside your home as nights become cool. Caulk and seal openings around vents, doorways and windows and repair screens. You can vacuum up these nuisance pests. They will not breed in your home.
- Sow winter wheat on bare garden beds at the rate of 4 oz. Per 100 sq. ft. This cover crop will germinate and grow in cool weather and can be turned under in the early spring.
- Be sure to keep landscape plants, including trees and shrubs, well-watered during dry periods.
Week of October 13:
- Escort any unwelcome spiders from your house. Spiders should not be harmed. They are beneficial, consuming insect pests in the home.
- Plant garlic cloves 4 inches deep and 6 inches apart in fertile soil. Select the largest cloves. Mulch heavily with leaves after the plants emerge.
- Plant tulips at a depth of 3-4 times the height of the bulbs. Be sure to incorporate a balanced fertilizer prior to planting.
- Cut back dahlias and cannas and lift them out of the ground for storage in an unheated basement or garage.
- Make your second application of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. of fescue or bluegrass lawn.
Week of October 20:
- Shred fallen leaves with a lawn mower or string trimmer to hasten the breakdown process. Leaves should not be allowed to completely cover turfgrass over the fall and winter.
- "What are all those black and red insects on the side of my house?" They're boxelder bugs. If they are a problem, you can spray them with insecticidal soap.
- Pull off your green tomatoes prior to the first frost and find a good pickle recipe or place them in a closed bag or container with a ripe apple. The apple gives off ethylene gas that will help ripen the tomatoes.
- Spray trees and shrubs that have had scale or adelgid problems with a dormant oil spray. Temperatures must remain above freezing for 24 hours after spraying.
Week of October 27:
- Protect newly planted fruit trees from voles by surrounding them with hardware cloth extending from below ground level to one foot up the trunk.
- Fertilize young or newly planted trees and shrubs to promote strong growth next year.
- Remove and discard all fruits from trees and the orchard floor. This will help reduce disease and insect problems next year.
- Avoid the temptation to buy and add a "compost bioactivator" to your compost pile. Research shows they are unnecessary for backyard composting. Finished compost and a nitrogen fertilizer are the best "starters."
- Stop feeding the fish in your pond. The fish cannot properly digest food during cold weather.
Week of November 3:
- Add a nitrogen source (granular fertilizer, composted manure, finished compost) to your compost pile to get it cooking before cold weather sets in.
- Become a Maryland Master Gardener next spring. Contact your local Extension Service office for information on training dates and fees.
- Drain and store all garden hoses. Turn off water to outdoor spigots and drain check valves.
- Plant amaryllis bulbs indoors to force them to bloom during the Christmas holiday.
For answers to gardening and pest control questions call the Center's toll-free hot line at 1-800-342-2507. Horticulture consultants are available from 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. Mon.- Fri. Audio tapes on hundreds of topics can be accessed 24 hours a day. For gardeners outside of Maryland call 1-410-531-1757. Web site is: http//www.agnr.umd.edu/hgic