October Lawn & Landscape Tips

 
October Lawn & Landscape Tips.jpg
 

Calling fall….

Where is fall….?

Has anyone seen fall….?

The normal nighttime low at the end of September is 60.  The normal daytime high is 78.  September is going out like summer, not like fall.     

I’m confident fall will arrive sooner or later.  Hopefully sooner!

Fall is an important time in the landscape.  Much of your lawn and landscape success next season is dependent on what you do in the fall.

Here are a few things to stay focused on during October:

 

Overseeding – October is the last month to establish Fescue from seed this year.  October seeded Fescue will have time to germinate and mature before we receive our first freeze in late November or early December.    Remember, the keys to successful seeding are good seed-soil contact and keeping the seed consistently moist until it germinates. Most disappointment with overseeding is due to not keeping the seed consistently moist for 10-14 days until it germinates.  The worse thing for new seed is for the seed to be moist, then dry out, then moist, and then dry out again.  Pay extra attention to lawn edges where the soil dries quicker and water coverage may not be adequate.

Fescue in October.

Fescue in October.

Bermuda Lawn Maintenance – As we start getting cooler nights, and because of the shorter days, warm season lawns will start to slow down.  Most Bermuda lawns will need to cut less often in October.  Avoid scalping the lawn short to finish off the season.  Anytime grass is scalped the plant uses stored nutrients in the roots to replace leave blades.  Scalping in the fall will result in a weaker root system going into winter.   

Japanese Maples return to bright red this month.

Japanese Maples return to bright red this month.

 

Fescue Lawn Maintenance – Cool season lawns have returned to their peak.  The beauty of fescue in the fall is unsurpassed by any other turf grass.  Mow regularly.  Avoid cutting more than 1/3 of the leaf blade off each time you mow.  One of the strongest landscape statements you can make is achieved with a well-maintained fescue lawn in the fall.

Lawn Fertilizer – Fertilize cool season lawns with a high nitrogen fertilizer this month.  Fall is the best time to feed fescue.  Warm season lawns need one last round of fertilizer in September through early October.  If your Bermuda hasn’t been fertilized yet this fall, you have a couple of weeks left to feed it one last time.  For warm season lawns’ root systems stay active long after the top growth slows.  Feeding the root system now will set your lawn up for success next spring.

 
Bald Cypress turn a beautiful rusty red in October.

Bald Cypress turn a beautiful rusty red in October.

 

Turf Weed Control – Lawns need a fall pre-emergent in September through early October.  So, if you have not taken the first and very important step in preventing fall and winter weeds, please do so as soon as possible.  In late October through early December, a second, winter pre-emergent needs to be applied to keep your lawn weed free until next spring.  Fall is also a great time to control many broadleaf weeds in warm season turf and established cool season turf.  If you seeded your fescue this fall, wait until the new grass is up, actively growing, and has been mowed a few times before you apply any pre-emergent herbicides. 

Tree and Shrub Fertilizer – Do not fertilize trees and shrubs in October.  Fertilizing now can encourage new growth that will not have an opportunity to harden off before the first freeze which may result in plant damage.    

Watering – Continue to water as needed making sure your landscape receives 1” of water every week in October.   With the shorter days and cooler nights, you can start watering less frequently.  The best practice is to continue with deep watering cycles about every 4 days.  It is important that you don’t allow your lawn and landscape to become dry.  Moisture is still needed even when temperatures are cooler.

 

Seasonal Color – Remove your summer annuals and replace with pansies, kale, and mums for great fall color.  Pansies love the cool weather.  Not only will they provide great color this fall, but if they are not allowed to dry out during the coldest periods of winter, they will offer a wonderful blast of color next March and April.  For more information on fall seasonal color revisit our article from two weeks ago, The Colors of Fall.

Nandina and many other shrubs add bright red berries to the landscape during the fall.

Nandina and many other shrubs add bright red berries to the landscape during the fall.

Fall seasonal color change.

Fall seasonal color change.

 

Landscape Plantings – Fall is the best time to plant most container grown trees and shrubs.  Because soil temperatures remain warm long after the days turn cooler, materials planted in the fall develop strong roots before the following summer heat arrives.  Often late spring and summer planted container materials don’t develop roots till the following summer.  Fall planted materials can gain an entire year of development over plants installed in the spring and summer.  Wait to plant ball and burlapped trees until after the first freeze if possible.  Check out last week’s article, Fall is for Planting

Get outside and soak in the October. 

It is one of my favorite months for being outdoors enjoying the landscape! 

If you have questions or need help with any lawn and landscape needs, give us call at (405) 367-3873. 

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

Shillouette Sweetgum, a great tree for small spaces, will put on a great show late in October.

Shillouette Sweetgum, a great tree for small spaces, will put on a great show late in October.