October Gardening In The Northern US

October in the North closes the gardening season with a grand finale of golden chrysanthemums and the brilliant autumn colors of deciduous trees and shrubs. This lavish display of color tends to take some of the strings out of winter’s arrival.

Take note of mum varieties that flower early enough to be enjoyed before frosts, for these are the only varieties satisfactory for our region of early killing frosts.

north gardening octoberPin

Observe which trees and shrubs take on the most vivid autumn colors and plan to obtain these varieties for planting next spring. Sugar maple, green ash, honey locust, hackberry, mountain ash, and paper birch are the most outstanding fall foliage colors.

Colorful shrubs include dogwood (both red and gray twigs), winged euonymus, spiraeas, viburnums, nine-bark and Japanese barberry. These and the trees mentioned above can all be planted successfully in fall if planted early, carefully, and correctly.

Lessen The Risk of Winter Injury 

Mulch the ground beneath new shrub and tree plants with a layer of tree leaves, marsh hay, well-rotted manure, or ground corn cobs, several inches deep. This mulch will keep the frost out long enough for roots to get established before low temperatures stop growth.

Mulches also keep temperatures cold enough to kill the roots in winter. Protect trees with a special tree trunk wrapping, Spiral Tree Wrap, obtainable at local garden stores.

Winter protection for roses begins in mid-October. Hill soil is about 12 inches high over the plant base.

Plant tulips now. Make certain that they are planted about eight inches deep, with six inches of a good sandy loam beneath the bulbs.

44659 by Robert A. Phillips