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October: The busiest month in the landscape
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October is the busiest month of the year in the landscape. It signals the ideal time for planting and transplanting woody ornamentals and herbaceous perennials. It’s also time to plant fescue turfgrass, winter ryegrass, bulbs and pansies and to apply pre-emergence herbicides for winter weed control.

  

While you’re at it, don’t forget to add an inch or two of new mulch to ornamental planting to help protect them from the cold. It’s an exciting time in the Georgia landscape — a time to dig, divide and renew landscapes for next year.

  

Fall remains the best time to plant and transplant woody and herbaceous ornamentals. By now, energy produced by the leaves this summer has been funneled to the roots for winter growth. Although the tops of plants are dormant in winter, the roots continue to growth throughout the winter, so when spring arrives, the plants are ready to explode with new growth.

  

Now is the time to dig and divide herbaceous perennials, including iris, daylilies, shasta daisies, rudbeckia, coneflower and peonies (the list goes on and on). Don’t worry if you can’t get around to some of these tasks this month — divisions and transplanting can be done in November, December and January.

  

Trees will soon be tossing down their leaves for us to recycle as mulch. Place leaves in small windrows. Then, set the lawn mower in the highest setting and run over the leaves to shred them into little pieces. Shredded leaves stay seated better on the landscape and do not blow around like whole leaves. 

  

They also do a better job of holding moisture in the soil and insulating roots of plants from winter cold. Use leaves for winter protection around tender ornamental plants, and add some to the compost pile for rich organic matter next spring.

  

Remove any diseased or insect-infested plant material from your garden; it may harbor overwintering stages of diseases and insect pests. If you leave this plant material in your garden, you are leaving diseases and insects that will begin to reproduce again next spring and add to next year’s pest problem.

  

Make a note of any particularly productive or unsatisfactory varieties or crops. Such information can be very useful during garden-planning time in spring. 

  

Also, now is the time to get an early start on the seed/plant catalogs. Start getting the names of catalogs that you want and write or e-mail the company in order to have your name on their list for a 2011 catalog.

   

Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.

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