13October 11, 2018
Pretty soon, the leaves will really begin to fall.
There is a tendency to wait for all the leaves to fall before you clean them up. But you may want to do several batches of leaf removal over the next few weeks.
One of the problems that can take place is that the grass will continue to grow under the leaves. If the grass is growing, you will need to continue to cut it. It would not be unusual to have to cut your lawn into late October or early November.
If you make the mistake of putting the lawn mower away too early or if you don’t make the last mowing a 1 1/2 inch mowing, you run the risk of long blades of grass matting down on your lawn. This encourages a disease called snow mold. Snow mold can kill off large areas of grass in late winter or early spring. This can almost always be prevented if you keep the grass cut short from mid-October until the ground freezes and the grass stops growing.
No one likes to be cutting the lawn in November, but if the grass is still growing in November, you still need to be cutting it. It is better to do a couple more mowings in the fall rather than having to reseed the lawn come the spring.
October is a good time to plant spring-flowering bulbs. Tulip, daffodil, crocus and hyacinth bulbs need to be planted in the fall and not in the spring. These bulbs need to be planted in the fall, because they need to get roots out into the soil and then they need to go through 16 weeks of cold soil temperatures.
It is the cold soil temperatures followed by the warming of the soil in spring that makes the bulbs put up their flower stalks and ultimately come into bloom. If you try to plant the bulbs in the spring, they will not get the 16 weeks of cold soil temperatures that they must have in order to flower properly. Take some time this October, and plant some spring-flowering bulbs in your yard.
Your evergreen shrubs will benefit from an application of fertilizer in mid- to late October. You should be applying the fertilizer at half the normal rate. This will give the shrubs enough fertilizer to strengthen the roots, without forcing new growth out on the top side of your plants.
Most of the fertilizer gets stored in the roots, and come the spring, as the plants come out of their dormancy, the leaves will brighten up. In the case of spring-flowering shrubs, the fertilizer will give those flower buds the food they need to open into spring flowers.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.