October Garden Calendar for the Midwest

Fall is fast approaching, and there is still many fall garden tasks to attend to in the month of October. Such tasks include lawns, taking care of flowers, trees and shrubs, houseplants, as well as valuable information on vegetables and fruits, and a few miscellaneous tasks that  you also need to do.

"October Garden Tasks"

October Garden Tasks


  • Fall mowing heights for bluegrass and tall fescue are 2 to 3 inches.
  • Core aerate if you have not already done so to help loosen heavy clay soils and break down thatch.
  • Fertilize at least once in the fall
  • Dandelions, henbit and chickweed are easy to control in the fall, so treat as needed.
  • Sharpen your mower blade if it is not making a clean cut, or after every 10 hours of use.
  • Rake leaves as they fall to avoid winter suffocation of turf.
  • Mulch mow leaves back into the lawn as long as debris is not covering the surface.


  • October is the time to plant tulips, daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs.
  • Clean up all faded annuals.
  • Pot bulbs for winter forcing.
  • Dig tender bulbs such as glads and cannas and store them in a cool, dry place over the winter.
  • Update your yard and garden journal for successes and failures while fresh in your mind.
  • Take advantage of all the fall sales and plant new perennials or add to your collection.
  • Divide any overgrown perennials.


  • Fall is the time to plant new trees and shrubs.
  • Water establishing plants over the winter during dry spells.
  • Seedlings of trees and shrubs can be safely transplanted once dormant.
  • Prune damaged and dead wood from trees and shrubs.
  • Wrap the bases of young trees and shrubs to protect them from rabbits.
  • Rake leaves and compost, or use as garden mulch.
  • Remove tree stakes if in place longer than one year.


  • Store unused seeds in a cool, dry location
  • Pick up and discard fallen fruit to reduce disease and insects for next year.
  • Fall planted garlic gets a jump over spring planted ones.
  • Dig sweet potatoes and cure for a week or two in a warm location then store for winter.
  • Harvest peanuts and roast.
  • Harvest apples and pears and store for winter use.
  • Store winter squash and pumpkins in a cool, dry place.
  • To prepare for next spring, till your garden soil to help control insects and disease.
  • Make notes of successes and failures.
  • Soil test and make improvements.


  • Begin long night treatments for poinsettia re-blooming.
  • Check plant for insects and treat as needed.
  • Wash dust from leaves by placing in a shower or wiping with a damp, soft cloth.
  • Reduce or stop fertilization over the winter months.
  • Keep plants away from hot and cold drafts of winter.


  • Drain and store garden hoses and sprinklers for winter.
  • Spruce up the compost pile for winter by adding new materials to promote decomposition.
  • Clean, sharpen and oil garden tools for winter storage.

*Information gathered from Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. They offer free information fact sheets, and can be visited at www.johnson.ksu.edu. You will find many helpful articles at yardandgardenrescue.com for all your yard and gardening needs.

Previous post:

Next post: