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Wednesday, Sep. 21st 2016

October Gardening Calendar


  • Weeks 1-4: Continue watering, especially evergreens if soils are dry.
  • Weeks 1-4: 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.
  • Weeks 1-4: Container grown and B & B trees and shrubs can be planted. Loosen the soil in an area 2 times the diameter of the root ball before planting. Mulch well after watering.
  • Weeks 1-4: Plant spring bulbs among hostas, ferns, daylilies or ground covers. As these plants grow in the spring they will hide the dying bulb foliage.
  • Weeks 1-2: 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.
  • Weeks 2-4: 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.
  • Weeks 2-3: 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.
  • Weeks 3-4: Transplant deciduous trees once they have dropped their leaves.
  • Week 4: Plant tulips now.
  • Week 4: Trees may be fertilized now. This is best done following soil test guidelines.


  • Weeks 1-2: Seeding should be finished by October 15.
  • Weeks 2-3: Broadleaf herbicides can be applied now to control cool-season weeds such as chickweed and dandelion.
  • Weeks 3-4: Continue mowing lawns until growth stops.
  • Weeks 3-4: Keep leaves raked off lawns to prevent smothering grass.
  • Weeks 3-4: Now is a good time to apply lime if soil tests indicate the need.
  • Week 4: Winterize lawn mowers before storage.


  • Weeks 1-4: Sow cover crops such as winter rye after crops are harvested.
  • Weeks 1-4: Gourds should be harvested when their shells become hard or when their color changes from green to brown.
  • Weeks 1-4: A few degrees of frost protection may be gained by covering tender plants with sheets or light-weight fabric row covers.
  • Weeks 1-4: Continue harvesting tender crops before frost.
  • Weeks 1-4: The average first frost usually arrives about October 15-20.
  • Weeks 1-2: Harvest winter squash and pumpkins before frost. For best storage quality, leave an inch or two of stem on each fruit.
  • Weeks 1-2: Dig sweet potatoes before a bad freeze.


  • Weeks 1-4: Store apples in a cool basement in old plastic sacks that have been perforated for good air circulation.
  • Weeks 2-3: Persimmons start to ripen, especially after frost.
  • Weeks 3-4: Monitor fruit plantings for mouse activity and take steps for their control if present.
  • Week 4: Place wire guards around trunks of young fruit trees for protection against mice and rabbits.
  • Week 1: Fall color season begins.
  • Week 3: Begin peak fall color in maples, hickories and oaks.
  • Week 4: End of peak fall color.

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University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener Program