October's To-Do List for Your Gainesville Lawn
October is always that in-between month that feels like one foot is still in summer while the other foot steps toward fall. It’s a great month to add new landscaping such as sod, trees, and shrubs and to start planning for your fall / winter annuals.
It’s finally officially fall, and there are several things you want to be aware of in this transitional season as the owner of a Gainesville landscape.
While we’re still getting some leftover summer afternoon rains, it is typical that we experience a little dry spell between now and winter. It can be a tricky time of year irrigation-wise. If you don't have a smart controller that knows to increase the settings to account for dry weather patterns, watch your turf closely. When you see grass blades folded in half and the overall turf color turning bluish-gray, run the sprinklers and add some extra time to the run-cycle for the next couple weeks to get us through to winter. It's also a season we commonly notice shortcomings in our irrigation systems (adjustments off or lacks of coverage) as the supplemental rains aren't there to cover up the incosistencies.
Your turf will still be growing in October, but in general shouldn't grow as rapidly as August and September due to the shortening days and lowering soil temperatures. It’s an ideal time to add new turf or replace problem areas that may have struggled due to lawn pest activity, too much shade, weeds, or lack of water.
If you want your grass to be dense and thick, I highly recommend a good dose of lawn fertilizer to help promote root growth and dense growth. Iron will add some deep green color back into your lawn as well, if it's yellowing. Certainly, fall weed control in the lawn is important as dove weed, basketgrass, crabgrass, and Chamberbitter lawn weeds are fighting to take over Gainesville lawns. There is still some lawn pest activitity in October for Gainesville lawns as well, so watch for chewed and browning grass.
Most warm-season annuals are starting to struggle in North Florida with the shorter days and cooling soil temps. In fact, it’s the month to be thinking about transitioning to cool-season annuals and starting to get beds ready for them toward the end of the month. November and December will be the time to plant cool-season annuals. Popular annuals to plant for high-visibility beds and planters are pansies, violas, flowering kale, dianthus, snapdragons, and petunias.
Keep an eye on your perennials to make sure they’re getting enough water. Refresh mulch layers to a depth of 2-4 inches in the fall to insulate soil and weed pressure. Don’t allow mulch to closely surround the base of the plant as that can lead to root rot. Apply a final ornamental fertilizer treatment for the year.
A number of citrus varieties will have ripe fruit that’s ready to harvest, including Satsuma, Ambersweet, navels, Hamlin, Fallglo, Robinson, and Osceola. Some fruit is ripe even though it’s green. Don’t wait for it to turn orange. Taste a sample fruit to determine if the crop is ripe and ready to eat.
Do not spray citrus trees for pest control. You shouldn’t have to because by October, pest activity has lessened. Save the spraying for later, after the harvest has been picked as you don't want the treatment to affect the edible fruit.
Trees & Shrubs
October is a good time of year to add new trees and shrubs to your landscaping. The heat, being less intense, won’t stress the plants as much as summer or spring droughts do. They will need to be watered, however, until they’re established. Water daily for a couple of months, then every other day for several months.
Established trees and shrubs should have been fertilized in September. If that feeding was missed, apply the fertilizer in October. A general florida landscape fertilizer (with no weed killer in it) is fine, cast over the ground from the trunk to just past the edge of the leaves. This will help promote root growth and health for a boutiful spring.
If we can help you with any of your Fall Gainesville Lawn tasks, don't hesitate to give us a call. We offer Gainesville Lawn Fertilization Programs, Landscaping Installations, and Irrigation as well. Our phone number is (352) 378-5296 or feel free to contact us via the form at the top of the page.