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       TODAY'S GARDEN
         OCTOBER 2017
    October is a good month to plant spring-blooming bulbs: tulip, daffodil, hyacinth, scilla, allium and crocus.  Be sure to amend heavy clay soil with organic matter (compost) and apply a phosphorus fertilizer to the soil prior to planting the bulbs.
  
  Dig up and store spring-planted bulbs (caladiums, callas, cannas, dahlias, tuberous begonias, gladiolus) after frost kills the foliage.  See our article "Summer Beauties From Bulbs" for additional information.
  
  Rake up and dispose of leaves from rose bushes and other plants that showed signs of disease, such as rust, mildew, or blackspot.  A thorough clean-up will help prevent problems next year.  If problems were severe this year you may want to spray the plants and the soil surface with a fungicide.  Be sure to read and follow instructions on the label.
   
  Wildflower seeds may be sown in fall.  Cold winter weather and moisture from snow will promote germination in spring.  When buying wildflower mixes, check the label to make sure that the mix does not contain Bouncingbet, Purple Loosestrife, Oxeye Daisy and other plants considered noxious weeds in Colorado.
   
  Garlic fans can plant garlic this month.  Select a sunny site, amend the soil, plant the cloves from the garlic bulbs, cover the bed with a layer of mulch and water well.
   
  During fall and winter your lawn and plants will still need water after your sprinkler system has been shut off and winterized for the season.  Periodically apply water early in the morning when temperatures are above freezing and the ground isn’t frozen.
  
  Winterize hardy water lilies in October or November by lowering plants to the deepest part of the pond or by moving them to a cellar or garage.
 
   Protect the trunks of young, thin-barked trees from sunscald by wrapping the trunks with tree wrap in late October.  Tree wrap is a crepe-type paper available at garden centers and home-improvement stores.  Start at the bottom of the trunk, overlapping the tree wrap as you wind your way up the trunk.  Secure the tree wrap at the top and bottom with stretch tape.
 
  Don’t be alarmed when your pine trees begin to drop needles.  It is normal for pine trees to begin shedding 3-year old needles in the fall.
 
  If you have a poinsettia that you want to bloom this November or December, be sure that it gets bright sunlight during the day. Beginning October 1 it needs 14 hours of total darkness each night (no light from lamps, street lights, etc.). You may want to place a wastebasket or box over the plant each evening and remove it each morning.  Once color appears in the bracts the plant no longer requires strict darkness at night.
   
  Apply a winterizer fertilizer to Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and tall fescue lawns between early October and early November.  This application should be made while the grass is still green and prior to the ground freezing.  Use one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn.  Do not fertilize Buffalograss, Blue Grama, or Bermuda grass at this time of the year.  
   
  Fall is a good time to core aerate your lawn.  Core aeration reduces problems created by thatch build-up. 
 



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